"But 50 years on we are now in a position to reflect more candidly on the Jamestown legacy. Human progress rarely comes without cost," the queen said.
"And those early years in Jamestown, when three great civilizations came together for the first time--Western European, Native American and African--released a train of events which continues to have a profound social impact, not only in the United States but also in the United Kingdom and Europe."
But in her speech, the queen said historical reassessments should not "obscure" the epoch-making impact of the settlement, which brought English notions of law, democracy and free enterprise to the New World.
In Indians Gave Us Enlightenment, I quote Jack Weatherford on this point:
The colonists didn't reject the idea of monarchy. They were firm believers in and supporters of the British crown for almost 200 years. Only when England began imposing taxes did the colonists begin to envision themselves as true democrats.
And even then, they allowed only white males with property to vote. That's a marked contrast with America's Indian tribes, where everyone had a voice and consensus was usually sought. Until American women got the right to vote in 1920, Indian societies were arguably more democratic than the US alternative.
For more on the subject, see Democracy Rocks--with Indian Help.