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


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

General admission includes a special walking tour with historian Mark Summers, who will discuss some of the origins of representative government in Jamestown. Immediately following the walking tour is an interactive commemoration, where historians portraying the members of the first assembly will share their views on the historic event, as well as the ideas behind the laws affecting the colony.

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

The special walking tour and commemoration of the first assembly will take place twice on Saturday.

“Before that [the General Assembly], the Virginia Company kind of ran the business like a private company,” Johnston said. “The Virginia Company was technically run by the members of the company, who were the primary stakeholders. They all lived in England, and they didn’t really come to Virginia. So that’s the first time they said, ‘hey, we’re going to make our own laws for our own community.’ Obviously this continued for the next 400 years, and it influenced how we think about who can make our laws today. Our representatives make our laws, and this meeting of the general assembly is at the origin of this idea.

For a full list of events scheduled for July 30, see the calendar at Jamestown Rediscovery Official Site.