On July 30, enjoy special programming for the First Assembly Day Commemoration. Programming will occur at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. inside the Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center Theater. Programming is included in the cost of general admission.
A special program featuring Living History interpreters portraying John Pory, speaker of the first General Assembly; John Rolfe, a member of Governor Yeardley's Council and one of the counselors at the first assembly; and a female resident of the colony will reflect on the significance of the first Assembly in 1619 and its impact on the residents of the Virginia Colony.
Each program will last approximately 45 minutes. Sponsored by Colonial National Historical Park, Jamestown, VA.
From 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., inside the Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center, a staff member from the Virginia House of Delegates will be distributing free children's materials on Virginia government.
Much like modern investments, the Virginia Company encouraged investments in the colony through offering land to Englishmen if they came to Virginia. This was referred to as the “Great Charter” by Sir Edwin Sandys. Along with the land, the Great Charter provided a system of government that gave colonists a chance to participate in government.
The first representative assembly met in the church at Jamestown Island on July 30, 1619. This General Assembly consisted of the Governor, his council, and 22 representatives serving as a House of Burgesses, who were elected by the colonists.
The burgesses served from each of the following areas: James Citty, Charles Citty, Citty of Henricus, Kiccowtan, Martin Brandon, Smythe’s Hundred, Martin’s Hundred, Argall’s Guiffe, Flowerdiew Hundred, Captain Lawnes Plantation, and Captain Warde’s Plantation.
While the Governor still had veto power, the representatives were allowed to pass laws. The authority that this self-governing body possessed evolved through the 17th century aided by some of the royal governors, who convened the Assembly once a year.
The General Assembly continued to meet at Jamestown until 1699 when Williamsburg became the capital of the colony.