Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Jamestown Rediscovery Hosts Special Events for the 403rd Anniversary of the First General Assembly

Historian Mark Summers examines the legacy of the First Assembly on the same spot where the Assembly met in 1619. Photo courtesy of Jamestown Rediscovery. (Courtesy of Jamestown Rediscovery)

JAMESTOWN — Jamestown Rediscovery is hosting special events in recognition of the 403rd anniversary of the first General Assembly this Saturday, July 30.

Included in general admission is a special walking tour with historian Mark Summers, who will discuss some of the origins of the representative government at Jamestown. Directly after the walking tour is an interactive commemoration, where historians portraying members of the first assembly will share their perspectives of the historic event, as well as the ideas behind the laws affecting the colony.

“One of the things that Mark will do is really talk about the circumstances that led them to create the assembly,” said Jamestown Rediscovery Communications Manger Angel Johnston in an interview with WYDaily. “He’ll really get into the context of the assembly and he’ll also spend some time talking about the laws that they decided to create, and the laws they decided not to create.”

The special walking tour and the first assembly commemoration will run twice on Saturday.

“Prior to this [the General Assembly], the Virginia Company sort of ran the company as a private business,” said Johnston. “The Virginia Company was technically governed by the members of the company, who were the primary stakeholders. They all lived in England, and they did not really come to Virginia. So this is the first time where they were saying, ‘hey we’re going to make our own laws for our own community.’ Obviously, that continued for the next 400 years, and it influenced how we think about who gets to make our laws today. Our representatives make our laws, and this meeting of the general assembly is where that idea comes from.”

For a full list of the scheduled events on July 30, check out the calendar on Jamestown Rediscovery’s official website.

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