Bacon’s Rebellion begins this day or did it really? There is disagreement as to when the rebellion actually started as it was an ongoing disagreement between Governor William Berkeley and indentured servants and slaves led by Nathaniel Bacon that escalated over the summer of 1676. (Did you know Berkeley and Bacon were related? Bacon was Berkeley's wife's cousin.)
At the heart of the disagreement was how to best deal with troublesome Indians. In some regards, the Indians were used as a scapegoat for other difficulties... not an untold story in our early history. The finger of blame and shame in this nasty affair are cast in differing directions but ultimately point to Bacon for who among us can embrace a pyromaniac? Bacon and his supporters burned Jamestown on 16 September 1676. A few weeks, Bacon died and the rebellion quickly lost support.
As Gov. Berkeley regained control, he began exacting revenge on the rebellious leaders who had challenged his authority and destroyed much of Jamestown. In all, 23 rebels were hung and Berkeley confiscated their property without trial.
Upon receiving a report on the rebellion and Berkeley’s retaliation, King Charles II was reported to have said, "That old fool has put to death more people in that naked country than I did for the murder of my father." Berkeley was relieved of his position and called back to England where he died.
Should you have an interest in Bacon's Rebellion visit www.nps.gov/jame/learn/historyculture/bacons-rebellion.htm for a detailed account:
- John Graves, Jamestowne Society Communication Committee 2018-2019
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