Bacon's Rebellion was triggered when a grab for Native American lands was denied. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. As for the Native Americans caught in the crosshairs of Bacon and Berkeley’s feud, after the massacre, the few Occaneechi people who remained fled their traditional lands. Bacon’s Rebellion was a war between two actual cousins. Nathaniel Bacon (right) and his rebel followers confront Virginia governor Sir William Berkeley with his failure to protect them from Native American attacks. “Sick, and weakened by the crossing, six weeks later Berkeley landed in London a broken man,” writes historian Warren M. Billings. One was the heavy-handed English governor, Sir William Berkeley, a veteran of the English civil wars. Right after the discovery and colonization of the New World, the settlers, who had come vying after gold and riches, soon discovered that despite the very obvious lack of gold in this new land, it was rich in something else. In 1676, Bacon led a group of There, they met a group of Occaneechi people, whom they enlisted to help them fight a group of Susquehannocks. During the 1670s, the administration of veteran Virginia governor Sir William Berkeley became unpopular with small farmers and frontiersmen, because of the following reasons: Restrictions on the right to vote — the institution of a new land ownership … …percent of the rebels in Bacon’s Rebellion were Blacks, both servants and freedmen). Bacon’s Rebellion can be interpreted in a variety of other ways, but it all began … But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! The social position of Africans and their descendants for the first six or seven decades of colonial history seems to have been open and fluid and not initially overcast with an ideology of inequality or inferiority. As the embattled governor fled, Bacon’s supporters terrorized what remained of the town and the governor’s supporters. Soon Bacon would be dead and his militia defeated. For much of American history, Bacon’s Rebellion was considered a forerunner of the American Revolution. “The planters had not been able to control this rowdy labor force of servants and slaves,” historian Ira Berlin told PBS. Berkeley had long tried to balance his colonists’ wishes against those of the tribes on Virginia’s borders. Bacon’s Rebellion, while short and ultimately unsuccessful, did signify a shift in Virginia and left several key legacies: First, the rise of the western yeoman farmer against the coastal planter elite’s social and political power showed that an economic caste system was going to be challenged in America. There, they faced threats from Native Americans intent on protecting their ancestral lands. Hunker down, he told them. Bacon's Rebellion is considered to be one of the most confusing and fascinating part Jamestown's history. Of course, I'm not talking about the bacon you fry up with your morning eggs; I'm talking about the Virginia colonist named Nathaniel Bacon. Today, though, historians see it as a tussle over the ownership of the colonial frontier and an effort to further drive Native Americans off their lands. “But soon after Bacon's Rebellion they increasingly distinguish between people of African descent and people of European descent. All Rights Reserved. All Rights Reserved. The rebellion he led is commonly thought of as the first armed insurrection by American colonists against Britain … Bacon’s Rebellion of 1676 in Robert Beverley, The History and Present State of Virginia, 1705 Library of Virginia Anonymous, Bacon’s Epitaph, made by his man, presumably written soon after Bacon’s death, found in a manuscript collection known as The As Bacon’s men stood off with Berkeley’s, the governor opened his shirt and showed Bacon his bare chest. Bacon`s Rebellion. However, after a thorough investigation, he was sent back to England and was replaced. The governor eventually kicked him out of the assembly. The rebellion he led is commonly thought of as the first armed insurrection by American colonists against Britain and their colonial government. It was the first rebellion in the American Colonies in which the frontiersmen took part. The discontent that fuelled the rebellion came from declining tobacco prices, competition from other colonies, and an increase in the prices of English manufactured goods. He began to amass a militia of his own. After the skirmish, Bacon and his men turned on them, slaughtering most of the Occaneechi and decimating their village. Berkeley refused, infuriating Bacon. As the assembly convened, Bacon got on his knees and apologized to the governor. Without their leader, the rebels floundered. In September 1676, Bacon’s militia captured Jamestown and burned it to the ground. Your email address will not be published. Poor farmers had been hit hard by falling tobacco prices, and many on the borders of the colony’s frontier wanted to expand westward. In March 1676, after attacking a friendly tribe and falsely accusing them of stealing his corn, Bacon insisted that the governor finance and support a militia to attack Native Americans on the colony’s border. Summary of Rebellion Bacon’s Rebellion was a popular revolt in colonial Virginia in 1676 which was led by Nathaniel Bacon. Bacon, who had recently arrived in Virginia and was Berkeley’s cousin by marriage, was disgusted by what he viewed as the governor’s disloyalty and unfairness. At the time, wealthy settlers had built profitable tobacco plantations and used their crops to pay high colonial taxes. Powered by Create your own unique website with customizable templates. Bacon’s Rebellion in Virginia was one of the largest popular uprisings in the history of the British America, and it has a well-established place in numerous Atlantic historiographies. Back in the 1600s, the common folks living in Virginia loved Bacon, but the Native Americans and wealthy landowners (aristocrats), including the governor of Virginia, hated Bacon. Charles II’s commission clashed with the governor, whose authority had been undermined and whose 27 years of governance were now ending in disgrace. Bacon's Rebellion was a shocking event that changed the tide of slavery in Virginia and nearby colonies, leading to much harsher environments for slaves. Bacon’s rebellion was a popular revolt in colonial Virginia in 1676. Backlash from Bacon’s rebellion is credited with helping kick off the racial distinctions that defined the colonies and the United States that followed. Our mission is to provide Virginia citizens with the ideas and news they need to build more prosperous, livable and sustainable communities. For much of American history, Bacon’s Rebellion was considered a forerunner of the American Revolution. What was the significance of Bacon's Rebellion? In response, Berkeley declared Bacon a rebel and scheduled elections for a new assembly to solve the problem for good. A hundred years before the American Revolution, Bacon and his armed rebels ransacked their colonial capital, threatened its governor and upended Virginia’s social order. “Gone were his allies at court. Bacon’s rebellion was a revolt that took place in 1676 in Virginia Colony, North America. A few weeks later, he marched toward Jamestown with 500 supporters and another demand to lead the colony into war against the Native Americans. About a thousand Virginians rose because they resented Virginia Governor William Berkeley's friendly policies towards the Native Americans. Each orientation reflects contending views of human nature and prescriptions for making the world a better place. There, he exacted his final revenge against Bacon. Bacon's Rebellion can be attributed to a myriad of causes, all of which led to dissent in the Virginia colony. The uprising developed because of high taxes, low prices for tobacco, and anger towards Sir Berkeley because he provided special privileges that … In September, matters came to a head. He attended the University of Cambridge and studied law. The unrest began late in 1675 with confrontations between frontier settlers and Indians. Berkeley accused him of rebellion and treason, and Bacon responded with heated proclamations of his own, accusing the governor of having sold “his [friends], country and the liberties of his loyal subjects to the barbarous heathen.”. The discontent turned to violence in 1675, when a quarrel between a frontier planter and the Doeg Indians led to the murder of the planter's herdsmen. News had taken months to travel to England, and Charles II took until late October to respond. Among the mob were black and white indentured servants. Bacon’s Rebellion is one of the most studied episodes in American history but analysis of the evidence shows that it was an economic rebellion rather than a spontaneous revolt for freedom from British control. But for poorer Virginians, times were lean. In the aftermath of the rebellion, white planters reacted with alarm to the anger they had seen among the black Virginians who had joined Bacon’s rebellion. In response, Bacon and his men rushed into Jamestown, burning and pillaging as they went. Bacon’s rebellion causes a transition in the history of labor in the early southern colonies for the reason that the people involved in the rebellion were indentured servants, freemen, and slaves. This was the first time in Virginia you saw the race/slave divide The legacy of this rebellion is that it strengthens the class divide and strengthens the race divide. Many were executed for their actions. More recently, however, historians have come to understand the rebellion as more of a power struggle between two men. Bacon’s Rebellion covers a wide range of public policy issues in Virginia with a special emphasis on the state budget, taxes, infrastructure, land use, transportation, energy, the environment and community health. Governor Berkeley had been traveling throughout Virginia to recruit supporters of his own, and returned to Jamestown to issue a final proclamation condemning Bacon. © 2021 A&E Television Networks, LLC. Bacon’s rebellion caused a stir among the British, who allowed Berkeley to stay on as a governor. “Here, shoot me!” yelled Berkeley, daring Bacon to shoot. “The governor would have hanged half the country, if they had let him alone,” remarked one observer. In 2004, a small group of Occaneechi descendants bought back a 25-acre parcel of their traditional lands—the first time Occaneechi people have owned land as a tribe for over 250 years. He accused Berkeley of trying to force the colonists into a civil war—while fomenting one of his own. Frontier militiamen retaliated, killing at least ten Doegs and 14 members of the Susquehannock Tribe by mistake. Hide in the woods for the time being, but keep up the fight when they arrive. This was the setting for the tangled events that have come to be called Bacon's Rebellion. Humiliated and furious, Bacon gathered his troops. There was no opportunity.” Berkeley died before he ever saw the king. They enact laws which say that people of African descent are hereditary slaves.”. Bacon's Rebellion all began with a concept called indentured servitude. Drunk on brandy and the prospects of the land to which they thought they were entitled, Bacon and his men headed south. Planters feared what their white indentured servants could do, so they slowly eliminated the system, relying instead on enslaved black people to work their plantations. There were heavy English losses in the latest series of naval wars with the Dutch and, closer to home, there were many problems caused … Finally, the Crown intervened. His supporters erupted with cries for the governor to let him lead a new campaign. Forces would be coming soon from England in an attempt to take his militia down. The day before Charles II’s proclamation about the rebellion, Bacon died of dysentery. Settlers roll barrels of tobacco up a ramp and onto a ship in preparation for export from Jamestown, Virginia. A man named Nathaniel Bacon led the revolt in 1676. Berkeley didn’t get the chance. Now it was a smoldering ruin, and Nathaniel Bacon was on the run. Bacon’s Rebellion was the first popular revolt in England’s North American colonies. Only people who owned land could vote, and the indentured servants and poorer Virginians who did not felt disenfranchised. The other was Nathaniel Bacon, an immature, lazy schemer who was sent to Virginia by his dad in the hopes he would grow up. After arguing with the commissioner, who had been given authority to end Berkeley’s governorship, Berkeley went to England to beg Charles II to let him keep his post. By then, Bacon’s rebellion was falling to pieces. Charismatic and courageous, he had spent the last several months leading a growing group of rebels in a bloody battle against William Berkeley, the colonial governor, and he wasn’t about to stop now. Bacon and his men began conducting their own raids around the colony, attacking friendly tribes like the Pamunkey people, and gathering more supporters as they went. Bacon's Rebellion 1675 - 1676: Resource Bank Contents "[We must defend ourselves] against all Indians in generall, for that they were all Enemies." Soon Bacon would be dead and his militia defeated. However, it has more recently come to be understood as more of a power struggle between two men. Although Bacon died of fever a month later and the rebellion fell apart, Virginia’s wealthy planters were shaken by the fact that a rebel militia that united white and black servants and slaves had destroyed the colonial capital. Instead, Bacon retreated and began traveling throughout Virginia, recruiting other disgruntled rebels. by James A. Bacon The greatest ideological division in the United States today separates those who support policies geared to creating equal opportunities for all and those who support policies geared to creating equal outcomes. Analysis. Soon, a force of Virginia and Maryland militiamen laid siege to the Susquehannock, murdering several of the tribe's chief negotiators. Bacon was born on January 2, 1647, in Suffolk, England. Right after the Revolutionary War, Thomas Jefferson and others upheld the event as a brave stand by embattled colonists. Also, it hastened the hardening of racial lines dealing with slavery, because this rebellion involved both black and white indentured servants which worried the ruling class. Learn all about Bacon's Rebellion and European relationships with Native Americans in the southern colonies in just a few minutes! 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