Bacon's Rebellion


Why is this happening?

The immediate cause of the rebellion was Governor William Berkeley's recent refusal to retaliate for a series of Native American attacks on frontier settlement. The colony's disorganized frontier political structure, combined with grievances helped to motivate a popular uprising against Berkeley, who had failed to address the demands of the colonists regarding their safety. However, the overall reason for the event was because of the division of wealth. The poor were held to low status and did not get much representation and say in what happened in the establishment. The taxes that were being put into to place were not benefiting them in any way. The taxes were to protect the wealth of the upper class and provide comfort in what they already had. The poor wanted a system where they received some protection from Indian where their farms were. Because of lack of protection, the natives of the land attacked the yeoman farmers, which in return asked the government, put in place by England and was headed by Berkeley to do something about this issue.

The Rebellion

Bacon's Rebellion was an uprising in 1676 - 1677 against American Indians and the colonial government in the Virginia Colony over taking reprisal action for alleged thefts by the Native Americans. It was led by Nathaniel Bacon, a wealthy 29-year-old planter, in opposition to the Governor of Virginia, Sir William Berkeley. Nathaniel Bacon arrived with a quantity of brandy; after it was distributed, he was elected leader "of the rebellion tribe". Against Berkeley's orders, the group struck south until they came to the Occaneechi tribe. After getting the Occaneechi to attack the Susquehannock, Bacon and his men followed by killing most of the men, women, and children at the village. They ended up killing many Indian tribes prior to this. After months of conflict, Bacon's forces, numbering 300-500 men, moved to Jamestown. They burned the colonial capital to the ground on September 19, 1676. Bacon's Rebellion is the first rebellion in the American colonies.

Aftermath of the rebellion

The 71-year-old governor Berkeley returned to the burned capital and returned home at the end of January 1677. Bacon's wealthy landowning followers returned their loyalty to the Virginia Government after Bacon's death. Governor Berkeley returned to power. He seized the property of several rebels for the colony and executed 20 men by hanging. The rebellion's results were mixed: An unpopular governor had been temporarily removed. Real progress was made toward thwarting the Indian threat. The tribes realized that they stood little chance against the settlers' superior firepower and signed another peace treaty in 1677.