Virginia House of Burgesses II

Lead: In 1619 the Virginia General Assembly first met in the Jamestown Church. Despite war, privation, and a name change, this institution has continued to provide the Commonwealth with representative and often wise governance.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Before Jamestown became a royal colony in 1624, it was owned by a royal stock enterprise, chartered by King James I, The Virginia Company of London. Finding neither instant riches nor the hoped for Northwest Passage to China, the hapless colonists barely survived the struggles of the early years. In 1619, however, in an effort to transform the colony into a more profitable enterprise, a series of reforms was instituted to improve stability and profitability. One of the reforms permitted the colonists to elect a representative body. This body, modeled after English Parliament, was called the House of Burgesses. A Burgess was an elected citizen representative from a particular borough or settlement.

Virginia House of Burgesses I

Lead: On July 30, 1619, the Virginia Assembly first met in Jamestown. It was the first legislative assembly in America and in one form or another it has been meeting ever since.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By the end of 1619, the young Jamestown colony had over one thousand settlers, even though only about one in five survived the colonial experience in the early years. By the end of 1619, both African slaves and women had arrived helping to bring stability to the fledgling colony.