2019 marks the 400th anniversary of events in Virginia which continue to
define America. These events have shaped the democratic process,
cultural diversity, historical traditions, and the entrepreneurial
spirit of the United States.
WHAT MAKES 1619 AN IMPORTANT YEAR IN AMERICAN HISTORY?
1619 was a pivotal year in the establishment of the first permanent English colony in North America.
First Representative Legislative Assembly in the New World: The first “General Assembly,” composed of men from each of Virginia’s
eleven major settlements, met for the first time at Jamestown from July
30-August 4, 1619, planting the seed of democracy in America.
Arrival of the First Recorded Africans to English North America: The first enslaved Africans arrived at Point Comfort, Virginia
(modern-day Fort Monroe) in late August 1619. The “20 and odd” Africans
were from West Central Africa and were traded in exchange for
Recruitment of English Women in Significant Numbers: In November 1619, 147 English women were recruited to join
Jamestown’s male settlers, building permanency in the Virginia colony.
First Official English Thanksgiving in North America:
Upon their safe arrival at Berkeley Hundred on December 4, 1619, a
group of English settlers held a ceremony of Thanksgiving which was to
be observed annually and perpetually.
Entrepreneurial and Innovative Spirit of the Virginia Colony: A series of new laws passed in 1619 allowed Virginia’s colonists to
experiment with various industries, helping to set the groundwork for
America’s free enterprise system.