Sailing Into the New Year

The Godspeed
Many readers of this blog wondered in December what a new Congress would bring to manufacturing and the capital. Would the economy sail along at a good clip or would it flounder?

Imagine, then, the expectations of the 39 passengers on the little ship Godspeed that left England in December 1606 bound for North America. Those brave souls sailed into a new year, a new continentent and, ultimately, a new nation. They not only brought to these shores the seeds of democracy and free enterprise; they also built the first manufacturing plant within months of landing so they could export glass back to England to pay for their passage.

They were afloat for nearly five months on a ship that was only 88 feet long and 17 feet wide. The 13 crew were on deck most of the time and the passengers were relegated to the stinking hold for most of the passage. They landed in the New World on May 14, 1607 and built the first permanent English settlement here, Jamestown.

Four hundred years later, we celebrate this important milestone in American history; it also marks 400 years of manufacturing in the United States. There will be much pomp and ceremony at Jamestown this spring. Queen Elizabeth will mark the occasion with a visit as she did 50years ago for the 350th anniversary. You can read more about the incredible array of events planned for 2007 by clicking here.

This week marks one of those important signature events. On January 11, the U.S. Mint will begin selling its gold and silver commemorative coins to honor the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. Congress authorized the striking of these coins and NAM supported the legislation every step of the way. The $5 gold coin depicts Captain John Smith conversing with a Virginia Indian and sells for $255. The silver coin depicts the three ships that brought the English settlers here, including the Godspeed. For more information on the coin program, click here. And for more information about Jamestown and the NAM, click here.