AMERICAN EVOLUTION™ commemorates the 400th anniversary of several key historical events that occurred in Virginia in 1619 that continue to influence America today. Featured events, programs, and legacy projects inspire local, national, and international engagement in the themes of democracy, diversity, and opportunity.
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. It was the year of the first representative legislative assembly in the New World, the arrival of the first recorded Africans to English North America, the recruitment of English women in significant numbers, the first official English Thanksgiving in North America, and the development of the Virginia colony’s entrepreneurial and innovative spirit.
WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF AMERICAN EVOLUTION?
The Commonwealth of Virginia, along with notable Virginia institutions and national partners, will launch a series of education programs, signature events, and legacy projects of national and international significance. These programs and events will build awareness of Virginia’s role in the creation of the United States and reinforce Virginia’s leadership in education, tourism, and economic development.
WHY IS COMMEMORATING HISTORIC EVENTS IMPORTANT?
The commemoration of formative events in our nation’s history is a core element of civics education. As a society, we need to fully understand the foundation of today’s America. Learning about the challenges, successes, and inequities of the past enables a full appreciation of the difficult path our nation has taken to become what it is today. This honest historical perspective empowers and motivates both current and future generations to take an active role in shaping the course of our nation’s future.