First Representative Assembly

Jamestown Island Jamestown

400 Years of Virginia History/First Representative Assembly
American Evolution 2019
Written By American Evolution 2019

AMERICAN EVOLUTION™ commemorates the 400th anniversary of several key historical events that occurred in Virginia in 1619 that continue to influence America today. Featured events, programs, and legacy projects inspire local, national, and international engagement in the themes of democracy, diversity, and opportunity.

The Birth of American Political History

America’s experiment in self-government began at Jamestown. In 1618, the Virginia Company of London, looking to improve the colony’s financial situation and shake off economic stagnation, granted a series of reforms later called the Great Charter. The innovations included replacing a series of strict laws with a self-governing General Assembly. On July 30, 1619, the governor, appointed officials, the governor’s Council, and two Burgesses elected from 10 major settlements convened, establishing English-speaking North America’s oldest elected governing body. Visit the reconstructed church where this historic meeting took place and learn about the active archaeological investigations that are still turning up new knowledge.

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Cover Photo by Brian Holland via Flickr

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400 Years of Virginia History

First Representative Assembly

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