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The Cape Henry Memorial
commemorates the first landfall at Cape Henry
Cape Henry is a cape on the Atlantic shore of Virginia north of Virginia Beach. It is the southern boundary of the entrance to Chesapeake Bay.Across the mouth of the bay to the north is Cape Charles...
, in Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia Beach is an independent city located in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of Virginia, on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay...
, of colonists bound for the Jamestown settlement
Jamestown was a settlement in the Colony of Virginia. Established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 14, 1607 , it was the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States, following several earlier failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke...
. After landing on April 26, 1607, they explored the area, named the cape, and set up a cross before proceeding up the James River
The James River is a river in the U.S. state of Virginia. It is long, extending to if one includes the Jackson River, the longer of its two source tributaries. The James River drains a catchment comprising . The watershed includes about 4% open water and an area with a population of 2.5 million...
. A stone cross, set up in 1935 by the Daughters of the American Colonists, stands in the quarter-acre site. The memorial marks the First Landing, the very beginning of what would become British North America and subsequently Anglo Canada and the United States of America.
The Memorial also overlooks the scene of the Battle of the Virginia Capes
The Battle of the Chesapeake, also known as the Battle of the Virginia Capes or simply the Battle of the Capes, was a crucial naval battle in the American War of Independence that took place near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September 1781, between a British fleet led by Rear Admiral Sir Thomas...
, in which the French navy prevented the British from reinforcing General Cornwallis, and led to the Franco-American victory at Yorktown. A statue of Admiral Comte de Grasse and a granite memorial honor those who fought in the battle.
The Cape Henry Memorial is within Fort Story Military Reservation
Formerly a sub-installation of Fort Eustis, Fort Story is a sub-installation of the United States Navy and Little Creek Amphibious Base...
, but is an isolated unit of Colonial National Historical Park
Colonial National Historical Park is located in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia and is operated by the National Park Service of the United States government...
. A national park passport stamp
At nearly all of the American National Park units , one or more National Park Passport Stamps can be acquired at no cost at park visitor centers and ranger stations. The stamps are similar in nature to passport stamps stamped in a traveler's national passport...
for the Memorial can be obtained at the adjacent Old Cape Henry Light (not formally part of the Memorial).