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Bacon's Rebellion

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Bacon's Rebellion

The impact of Bacon's Rebellion on European and Native American Indian relations in Virginia is a story of Rebellion, Indian war and civil insurrection (Millett, Maslowski & Feis) that divided Virginians on how to respond.

Nathaniel Bacon was born in 1647 and educated at Cambridge University. In 1674, he married Elizabeth Duke and took his bride to the New World colony at Jamestown. (Grizzard & Smith, 2007) The Rebellion occurred over a period of months in 1676 in Tidewater Virginia. Nathaniel Bacon was a cousin to Governor Berkeley, who honored him with a seat on his Council. After Indians killed a laborer on his plantation, Bacon became an Indian fighter who believed all Indians were enemies and launched a war to kill them all and made no distinction between friendly and hostile Indians. Bacon then led men to the capital, where Governor Berkeley and the colonial assembly were in session. He demanded a commission to clear Indians from the colony and when Governor Berkeley opposed the formation of volunteer units; Bacon defied him, becoming an unofficial, uncommissioned "General of Volunteers." Thus the dispute over Indian policy bred civil revolt. (Millett, Maslowski & Feis)

In July 1676, Bacon issued his "Declaration of the People," justifying his authority to protect the rights of Englishmen. Bacon and his followers pillaged and ransacked plantations and leveled the capital of Jamestown wagging civil war and the whole sorry incident ended when Bacon died of the "Bloody Flux" in October 1676. (Millett, Maslowski & Feis)

Bacon's Rebellion accelerated the system of slavery in Virginia, although the number of slaves coming from England began to lessen as a result of the war. The influential continued to govern Virginia's politics, but they recognized the threat posed by others. As a result, the colony pursued an expansion of the military to clear the frontier of Indians.



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