400 Years of Virginia History, 1619-2019
Virginia has long been recognized as the birthplace of America, and 2019 marked the 400th anniversary of several key Virginia events of national significance. The 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution observed the 400th anniversary of the first representative assembly in the New World, arrival of the first recorded Africans to English North America, the recruitment of English women in significant numbers, observance of the first official English Thanksgiving in North America, and the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of the Virginia Colony.
In 2013, the Virginia General Assembly designated the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation as the lead executive branch agency to develop planning systems supporting the 2019 Commemoration. A Steering Committee, co-chaired by Speaker M. Kirkland Cox and Senator Thomas K. Norment, Jr., developed strategies to promote the key themes of democracy, diversity and opportunity.
American Evolution Legacies
Economic Impact of Nearly $200 Million to Commonwealth of Virginia
Virginia’s 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution produced $197 million in economic impact to the Commonwealth of Virginia, according to a study by Richmond-based Chmura Economics & Analytics. The report showed that the multi-year, statewide commemoration generated $197 million in total economic impact for the state, supported nearly 2,000 jobs in Virginia, and increased awareness of Virginia history and tourism with 28 billion media impressions. The study was commissioned by the 2019 Commemoration, a sub-agency of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, which coordinated the observance of important events that occurred in Virginia during 1619 that continue to influence the nation. Read the full report here.
‘Our American Evolution’ Interactive Web Documentary
“Our American Evolution,” an interactive web documentary that debuted in June 2020, traces significant events in 1619 and their legacy today. The 2019 Commemoration illuminated the nation’s most important historical events to millions of people around the world, and the documentary allows viewers to discover and re-discover 1619’s history while taking a part in the continuing story and the evolution of America.
Viewers are encouraged to host a documentary screening and facilitate conversations about America’s 400-year history to continue the story. View the documentary and discussion guide.
Virginia History Trails App
Virginia History Trails is an easy-to-use app that puts 400 years of Virginia and American history at your fingertips. Using your phone’s GPS feature, Virginia History Trails turns your immediate surroundings into a live history lesson. You can click anywhere on the map under the “Near Me” category and instantly get an in-depth description of dozens of sites in your vicinity, along with explanations of their importance to Virginia’s history.
Virginia History Trails won a Gold Award for “Best New Mobile App” from the Best Mobile App Awards (BMA).
American Evolution Stories
AE Stories is an opportunity to share your story with the world. Whether you wish to share something light-hearted or challenge yourself to dig deeper, each story acts like a prism illuminating our shared history in a full spectrum of experiences. Get started here.