Nat Turner

1800 - 1831

Background

October 2, 1800 was the day that Nathanial ¨Nat¨ Turner was born in Southampton, Virginia. He later died on November 11, 1831 in Jerusalem, Virginia. He was born on Benjamin Turner's plantation. He learned how to read, write, and practice religion. He was extremely religious. Nat believed that God had chosen him to lead slaves to freedom.

Life as Nat Turner

Nat Turner was under quite a few people's ownership throughout his life. Even as a small child, he believed that God was giving him signs. It is said that he escaped one plantation, but then returned because God gave him a sign. He had visions and saw signs. Nat believed that he was chosen to free the slaves and when he witnessed a solar eclipse, he decided to act against slavery.

Nat's Rebellion

After seeing this solar eclipse, he gathered up some fellow slaves and revolted. On August 21, 1831, he killed all of the Travis family, his current master, and continued on his killing spree. As he continued on throughout different plantations, he gathered more followers. About 50 white men, women, and children ended up being murdered. He managed to avoid capture for about six weeks before being caught.

Death and Impact

After being caught, he was tried and hanged on November 11, 1831. Some of his followers were also tried and hanged. His rebellion frightened slave owners and caused them to act out against their own slaves. It showed slave owners that not everybody is okay with being a slave and are not completely mindless. Nat Turner also helped inspire efforts in the North to end slavery. The rift between the North and South grew even bigger after this.