Guardians of Jamestown, 1619 is an Emmy Award–winning video series focused on the five historical events that occurred in Virginia in 1619 and have been shaping America ever since. While visiting Historic Jamestowne with her father, Safiri is swept up into a time-traveling adventure! With the help of the “Time Guardian,” Safiri must locate and save artifacts from 1619, ensuring that they are found by archaeologists in the present. Each episode of the series offers 3-5 minutes of content based on Virginia’s Standards of Learning that is equally suitable for in-school or after-school programs.
These dramatic readings of Virginia primary source documents, ranging from the proceedings of Virginia’s first General Assembly in 1619 to John Smith’s account of Pocahontas and the content of runaway slave ads, bring the history of Virginia to life for students and lifelong learners alike.
LAWS ENACTED BY THE FIRST GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF VIRGINIA (1619)
The representatives, or burgesses, present at the first meeting of Virginia’s new General Assembly in 1619 discussed and passed legislation on a number of key topics. They forbade idleness, gambling, drunkenness, and the oppression of Native Americans, and approved farming regulations, trade restrictions, and new rules regarding indentured servants.
JOHN SMITH’S ACCOUNT OF POCAHONTAS (1624)
Captain John Smith’s journals offer a compelling eyewitness view of the 17th century Chesapeake Bay. They describe his adventures in vivid detail, recounting where he went, what he saw, and the people he met. His 1624 “General History” included details not found in earlier journal entries, such as the first mention in print of his famous encounter with Pocahontas.
JOHN PUNCH COURT DECISION (1640)
On July 9, 1640, members of Virginia’s General Court decided the punishment for 3 servants – a Dutchman, a Scotsman, and an African – who ran away from their master as a group. The case reveals an example of interracial cooperation among servants at a time when the colony’s leaders were starting to create legal differences between Europeans and Africans. Punch became the first African to be a slave for life by law in VA.
RUNAWAY SLAVE ADS (1736)
Virginia Gazette (December 1736)
A notice from Yorktown planter William Nelson offering a reward for the capture of Quash, a runaway slave.
RUNAWAY SLAVE ADS (1737)
Virginia Gazette (August 1737)
An advertisement paid for by slaveowner Clayborn Gouge, offering a reward for the return of Sennight, an enslaved African woman. Mr. Gouge could not determine whether Sennight had run away or if she had been kidnapped.
RUNAWAY SLAVE ADS (1738)
Virginia Gazette (August 1738)
An advertisement paid for by William Byrd II, a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses and the founder of Richmond. Byrd offered a significant reward for the return of Dick, an enslaved man who escaped from his Crump’s Neck plantation.
VIRGINIA DECLARATION OF RIGHTS (JUNE 12, 1776)
After deciding to break with Great Britain, members of Virginia’s fifth Revolutionary Convention voted on May 15, 1775, to prepare a new plan of government for Virginia, as well as a statement of rights. While the Virginia Declaration of Rights is a noted forerunner of the US Bill of Rights, there are several provisions that were not a part of the Virginia Declaration, like the rights to free speech and free assembly.