On May 14, 1607, Captain John Smith and 107 other settlers disembarked in Jamestowne, Va., and established James Fort, the first permanent English colony in the New World. Since 1994 the Jamestown Rediscovery archaeological project has been digging up a wealth of artifacts, from armor and skeletons to the original triangular fort line, that give glimpses into what life was like for the settlers during those first torturous years of starvation and Native American attacks.
This quiet little cornerstone of U.S. history is going to get a whole lot noisier come late spring, when America's 18-month-long celebration of the colony's 400th anniversary peaks with a huge, three-day televised musical and cultural event. The mother country is also getting in on the act: both Smith and Native American princess Pocahontas are buried in England, and the British Museum is exhibiting a collection of English artist John White's watercolors the earliest surviving visual record from this period in American history. Four hundred years just flies by when you're having fun.
March 25 Britain marks the 200th anniversary of its abolition of the slave trade in the former British Empire.
July 27 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention formally adopted a name for AIDS 25 years ago. The disease was discovered in 1981.
Sept. 25 Fiftieth anniversary of desegregation at Arkansas' Little Rock Central High School, after U.S. troops escorted nine African-American students to class.
Oct. 4 The space race began 50 years ago with the launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik.
Dec. 2 In 1982 Barney Clark became the first recipient of an artificial heart.