1619 meeting of the First Representative Assembly
America’s experiment in self-government began at Jamestown. In 1618, the Virginia Company of London, looking to improve the colony’s financial situation and shake off economic stagnation, granted a series of reforms later called the Great Charter. The innovations included replacing a series of strict laws with a self-governing General Assembly. On July 30, 1619, the governor, appointed officials, the governor’s Council, and two Burgesses elected from 10 major settlements convened, establishing English-speaking North America’s oldest elected governing body.
Image: Library of Virginia