Collection News / Penn Libraries

400 years of democracy and slavery in Virginia: Virginia Company Archives

The year 2019 marks the 400th anniversary of the first representative legislative assembly in the British Colonies.  The “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.  1619 was also the year in which the first enslaved Africans arrived at Virginia.  The beginnings of democracy and slavery in the British Colonies as well as can be studied through the Ferrar and related papers of the Virginia Company Archives.

This resource documents the founding and economic development of Virginia as seen through the papers of the Virginia Company of London, 1606-1624. It shows the continuing interest of the Ferrar family in the settlement of North America from Jamestown to the Bermudas and provides a rich source for the study of trade between Britain and America.  It is also a crucial source for London’s economic history in the Early Modern era and will be of interest to social and religious historians.

 

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