Jar Jar Binks wrote:
Is that really true, though? Maybe there could have been another Enterprise in the years between 2161 and 2245, just with a different registry number. Unless, of course, it's been actually stated on-screen somewhere that the NCC-1701 was absolutely the first Enterprise in Starfleet and I just don't know about it, which is certainly possible.
It was stated onscreen. In "Trials and Tribble-ations," Sisko referred to NCC-1701 as "the first Enterprise
" and O'Brien called it "the original Enterprise
." Also, the dedication plaque for 1701-A says "Second starship to bear the name," B says "Third," and so on. Although in that case I would assume "the name" means "USS Enterprise
" as opposed to just "Enterprise
Of course, all those references come from before ENT was created, and the existence of an earlier Enterprise
is a retcon. But the best rationalization is that NCC-1701 was the first Federation starship of that name.