The House of Burgesses was found in the State of Virginia. The first legislature anywhere in the English colonies in America was in Virginia. It was the House of Burgesses, and it first met on July 30, 1619, at a church in Jamestown. Its first order of business was to set a minimum price for the sale of tobacco.

Although the first session was cut short because of an outbreak of malaria, the House of Burgesses soon became a symbol of representative government. The 22 members of the House of Burgesses were elected by the colony (the men over 17 who owned land). Royally appointed councillors (of which there were usually six) and governor rounded out the legislature. The governor was originally appointed by the Virginia Colony and later by the Crown of England.

The House of Burgesses could make laws, which could be vetoed by the governor or the directors of the Virginia Company. This continued to be the standard until 1624, when Virginia became a royal colony. At this time, England took much more control of things in Virginia, restricting the powers of the House of Burgesses.

Two famous burgesses were George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. In 1776, the colony became the independent Commonwealth of Virginia and the House of Burgesses became the House of Delegates.

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