Here are America's oldest cities, ranked in order by settlement date.
1. Saint Augustine, Florida comes in at number one. This is the oldest recorded city, founded on 8 September, 1565, just 11 days after Pedro Menendez de Aviles came ashore on the feast day of Saint Augustine. For 200 years, it was the capital of Spanish Florida. For a few short years, 1763 to 1783 it fell into British hands and was called British East Florida. The Spanish regained control in 1783 and remained in charge until it was ceded by treaty to the United States in 1822.
2. Next on the list, and the city I guessed as the oldest, is Jamestown, Virginia which is the site of the first permanent English colony in North America. It was founded on 26 April, 1607. It was briefly called James Fort after the English King. The settlement didn't do well in its first years and was abandoned in 1610. But by 1624, when Virginia became an English royal colony, Jamestown had turned into a small town and served as the colonial capital until 1698.
3. Next up is Santa Fe, New Mexico. Yep. If this city caught you by surprise, you're not alone. Founded in 1607, it hold the distinction of being the state capital in the US as well as New Mexico's oldest city. Long before the Spanish arrived in 1607, the area had been inhabited by Native Americans. One Pueblo village was founded around 900 A.D. and was located in what is now downtown modern Santa Fe. Let that sink in...900 A.D. That's old like you find in Europe! Native Americans expelled the Spanish from 1680 to 1692, but the rebellion was finally put down. Santa Fe remained in the hands of the Spanish until Mexico declared its independence in 1810, when it became part of the Republic of Texas, until it pulled away in 1836.
4. Fourth on our list is Hampton, Virginia. Founded in 1610, it began its life as Point Comfort, an English outpost established by the same group who founded Jamestown. Hampton became a major military outpost after the American Independence.
5. In fifth place, is Kecoughtan, Virginia. Settled in 1610, the settlers of Jamestown first encountered the region's Native Americans at Kecoughtan where the tribe had a settlement of their own. That first meeting in 1607 was largely peaceful, but by 1610 English and Native American relations had begun to go sour. The native people had been driven from their home and murdered by the white settlers moving in. In 1690, the settlement of Kecoughtan was incorporated into the larger town of Hampton.
6. Newport News, Virginia can trace its history back to the English, just like Hampton. Founded in 1613, it wasn't until the 1880's that this early settlement began to emerge into an important town. The new rail lines brought Appalachian coal to the newly founded shipbuilding industry here. Newport News Shipbuilding remains an important industrial employer in the state, producing aircraft carriers and submarines for the military,
7. The seventh spot goes to Albany, New York. Settled in 1614, it is the capital of New York state and its oldest city. It was settled by Dutch traders who built Fort Nassau on the banks of the Hudson River. The English took control of it in 1664, and renamed it to honor the Duke of Albany. Have you noticed we still haven't come to good ol' Plymouth yet?
8. Jersey City, New Jersey is our next oldest US city. Present-day Jersey City sits where Dutch traders established New Netherland, in or around 1617. The land was originally occupied by the Lenape tribe. History tells us that even though there was a significant population of white settlers here, this area wasn't formally incorporated until 1820, when it was named City of Jersey.
9. Here we are near the very bottom of our list and the 9th spot (finally) goes to Plymouth, Massachusetts. Plymouth is known, of course, as the place where the Pilgrims landed on 21 December, 1620. It is famous as the site of the first Thanksgiving. The Plymouth Colony made it its capital until they merged with the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691. Located on the southwestern shores of Massachusetts Bay, the area had been occupied by Native Americans for centuries.
And rounding out our top 10, is
Weymouth, Massachusetts. Founded in 1622, Weymouth today is part of the greater Boston metro area. Only two years after arriving, the Pilgrim explorers made Weymouth their second permanent English settlement in Massachusetts.
And there you have them...the ten oldest US cities. And although you won't find Roman ruins to explore, there's still lots of history here to be explored.
You're all invited back tomorrow for my weekly lesson from Dharma Frog. Until then, I wish you