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Historic Jamestowne, in conjunction with the Find Your Park program, will be honoring the anniversary of the first representative legislative assembly in English North America, which took place at Jamestown from July 30 through Aug. 4, 1619.
The original assembly included representatives from the colony’s 11 primary settlements, each of which elected two burgesses to advocate for them. That original meeting was not without drama; two burgesses were denied their seats in the assembly and one burgess died of heat stroke during the proceedings.
Despite these setbacks, the assembly was able to cover several important legislative items during the six-day session.
In recognition of this historic event, Historic Jamestowne will be holding two events that visitors to the settlement can enjoy and participate in.
The first event will take place July 25, and includes an interactive presentation at the Historic Jamestowne Memorial Church, the site of the original building where the first General Assembly met.
Living history interpreters will take part in several short scenes that capture the events and the spirit of the first assembly meeting, with show times at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
On July 30, the foundation will be performing a special 45-minute program in the Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center Theater. Interpreters will portray three important players in the early years of the colony: John Rolfe, John Pory and an unnamed female resident. Each of these characters will offer his or her perspective on life in the colonies and the events of the first assembly. Shows will begin at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Additionally, on July 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. staff members at the Visitor Center will be distributing free children’s materials on the Virginia government.
Admission to all First Assembly Day offerings is free with admission to the Jamestown Settlement.