House of Burgesses
The House of Burgesses was the first assembly of elected representatives
A legislator is a person who writes and passes laws, especially someone who is a member of a legislature. Legislators are usually politicians and are often elected by the people...

 of English colonists in North America. The House was established by the Virginia Company
Virginia Company
The Virginia Company refers collectively to a pair of English joint stock companies chartered by James I on 10 April1606 with the purposes of establishing settlements on the coast of North America...

, who created the body as part of an effort to encourage English craftsmen to settle in North America. Its first meeting was held in Jamestown, Virginia
Jamestown, Virginia
Jamestown was a settlement in the Colony of Virginia. Established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 14, 1607 , it was the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States, following several earlier failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke...

, on July 30, 1619.

The word "Burgess" means an elected or appointed official of a municipality
A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

, or the representative of a borough
A borough is an administrative division in various countries. In principle, the term borough designates a self-governing township although, in practice, official use of the term varies widely....

 in the English House of Commons.
In the 1610s, the Virginia Company of London ended monopoly on land ownership, believing that the colonists would display greater initiative if they could gain ownership of land.