A street poll of 100 people in New York City found only seven who had heard of the James River, and three who placed it correctly in the state of Virginia. This is less an ignorance than an example of historical memory loss. The James was at the center of English-speaking American activity for 200 years. The British put their first settlement on its shore, patriots use it to create a new nation, and the remarkable waterway served centrally in the preservation of that nation. It may today be all but forgotten, but that does not diminish its historic importance to the country and the world. Forget the Pilgrims and Massachusetts Bay; English America was created on Virginia's James River.