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"Before you join the guided tour" Top 5 Page for this destination Williamsburg Things to Do Tip by matcrazy1

Williamsburg Things to Do: 366 reviews and 607 photos

by matcrazy1

Before we joined the guided tour inside Williamsburg's Capitol Building, we had to wait in a line (approx. 20 min.). The costumed guy, in my picture, managed visitors' traffic and when he finally let us get inside we were welcomed by old, costumed woman who was our guide. She gave us a lot of information on impressive history of the place but there are basic facts on the whole of the Capitol everyone should know before the visit. Let me share them.

The House of Burgesses is the name given to the first elected legislative assembly in the New World. Its member was called a Burgess.

The first British colony in America was Jamestown (9 mi/14 km southwest of Williamsburg) since 1607 owned by the Virginia Company of London and governed by British governor chosen by the King of England. When the colony had about 1,000 colonists in 1619, the company decided to form elected legislative body similar to the British Parliament that would meet once annually. The governor agreed.

At first all free men in the colony (no women, no indentured servants and no Indians) could vote, later they had to own at least fifty acres (200,000 square meters) of land in order to vote. Each settlement chose two people or burgesses to represent it.

The Burgesses met to make laws for Virginia - the wealthiest and most populated British colony in America. The idea of electing burgesses was important and new. It gave Virginians a chance to control their own government for the first time.

The first meeting of Burgesses took place in 1619 in Jamestown. In 1698, after a fire of the Jamestown's seat of Burgesses, it was moved to Middle Plantation (settled 1633) soon renamed Williamsburg.

Address: Duke of Gloucester Street, Williamsburg, VA 23187
Directions: At the eastern end of the main avenue (Duke of Gloucester Street), approx. 0.8 mi east of the Bruton Church. From the Visitors Center take a blue line shuttle bus and take off on the second bus stop.
othercontact: +1 (800) 761-8331
Phone: +1 (757) 229-1000

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 29, 2004
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