VA Kicks Off 400th Anniversary Year

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia is officially kicking off its commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of the House of Burgesses at Jamestown, the first arrival of African slaves in the British colonies, and other aspects of the state's colonial past.

Gov. Ralph Northam headlined a kickoff at the state Capitol Wednesday promoting a yearlong series of activities and educational programming about the events of 1619.

The House of Burgesses was the New World's first representative legislative assembly.

And the first recorded enslaved Africans arrived at Old Point Comfort in 1619, now home to historic Hampton military outpost Fort Monroe.

Officials are hoping the commemoration efforts will lead to increased tourism.