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.