c. 1400, representacioun, "image, likeness symbolic memorial," from Old French representacion (14c.) and directly from Latin repraesentationem (nominative repraesentatio), "a bringing before one, a showing or exhibiting," noun of action from past-participle stem of repraesentare "show, exhibit, display" (see represent (v.)).
The sense of "act of presenting to the mind or imagination" is attested by 1640s. The meaning "statement made in regard to some matter" is from 1670s. Legislative sense of "fact of representing or being represented" is by 1769, thus "share or participation in legislation, etc., by means of regularly chosen or appointed delegates; the system by which communities and societies have a voice in their own affairs and the making of their laws."