Bacon’s Rebellion – An Intriguing Part of Jamestown’s History

A part of North American history is known as Bacon’s Rebellion, and indeed it is one of the most intriguing parts of Jamestown’s immigration history. This was a power struggle between two individuals who were no less than stubborn and selfish.

The two main individuals who played a part in Bacon’s Rebellion were the governor of Jamestown, Sir William Berkeley, and his cousin through marriage, Nathaniel Bacon, Jr. Governor Berkeley was an English Civil Wars veteran, a fighter of Native Americans, and during his first term as Governor, the King’s favorite. He had also made a name for himself as a playwright and a scholar. His name was deeply respected, as was his name as Governor of Virginia.

Bacon was a total opposite of Berkeley in character. He was intelligent, to be sure, but he was also a troublemaker and schemer. In fact, his father had sent him to Virginia in the hopes that he would mature. When he arrived, his cousin Berkeley treated him with respect and extended him friendship, giving him land and even allowing him a seat on the council.

Over time, however, Virginians, including Bacon, began to feel frustrated. There were economic difficulties, issues caused by weather, and other problems that led the colonists to feel the need to place blame on someone for the misfortunes they were suffering. This scapegoat took form in the local Native Americans.

Issues between the Native Americans and the colonists did not make anything any easier for all parties involved. The colonists began to demand much of Berkeley regarding their safety, and feeling that their demands were being ignored, an uprising began.

Over one thousand Virginians rose up to bring the confrontation to their governor, and they were led by none other than Nathaniel Bacon, Jr. They attacked Native Americans and chased Governor Berkeley from Jamestown before they ultimately set fire to the capital. Before aid could arrive sent from England, Bacon perished from dysentery. After his death, Bacon’s Rebellion soon lost steam.

The governor, then aged 71 years, returned to power and put to death the remaining leaders of the rebellion. He also moved to seize rebel property without the benefit of trial. A later investigation completed by a committee sent from England resulted in Berkeley being removed as governor and returned to England, where he died in 1677.

Bacon’s Rebellion was a power struggle between two individuals with two larger than life personalities. Between the two of them, they nearly destroyed Jamestown.

Taking a Look at the Indian Massacre of 1622

The Jamestown settlement was the first permanent English colony and it was established in 1607. Although it was briefly abandoned in 1610, it was still considered to be a permanent settlement. Initially, the native Indians welcomed the colonists and offered support in numerous ways. It didn’t take long, however, before relations began to sour and within three years, the Paspahegh were wiped out in warfare. Jamestown also saw some severe problems during that time, including an 80% mortality rate in 1609-1610.

By the time 1618 came around, Sir Edwin Sandys was busy trying to integrate the Indians into the English settlements and great attempts were made to both civilize and Christianize the native population. It was thought that the Powhatan nation and Openchancanough, the tribal chief, also agreed with what was taking place, but there was still a lot of mistrust and contempt on the part of the English settlers toward the Indians. Eventually, it came to a head and resulted in what is known as the Indian massacre of 1622.

The English considered the Indians to be subservient, probably because they did not seem to retaliate to the verbal abuse and occupation of their land. The Indians, however, felt threatened by the English and were not happy with the fact that they were trying to re-educate their population. Openchancanough decided to respond to what was taking place by mounting an attack on the settlement of Jamestown. In their eyes, it was a way to get rid of the English for good.

Openchancanough was originally interested in attacking more than just the Jamestown settlement. An attack on the Jamestown fort was also planned and outlying settlements were included. There was an Indian youth, however, who had been Christianized and warned of the coming attack. The English who were living in the settlements did not find out early enough.

The Indians brought gifts to the English on the day before the attack and were mingling with the population of settlers. Suddenly, and without warning, they grabbed their work tools and began to attack the settlers, killing 347 men, women and children in the process. Many of the outlying plantations were also burned as the settlers ran to the Jamestown fort and other strongholds for protection. It was a sad day in the history of Virginia, and one that is still remembered down till today.

A Brief History of Colonial Jamestown, Virginia

Colonial Jamestown – the very first English settlement in what was to become the United States of America. Jamestown was established in the Colony of Virginia, one of the thirteen colonies that are represented by the thirteen stripes present on the flag of the United States. Jamestown became a permanent settlement in the year 1610, after a brief abandonment. And from 1616 to the year of 1699 Jamestown served as Virginia’s capital.

The history of Jamestown can be traced back to the year of 1606. At this time, entrepreneurs from England, representing the London Company, set sail to the New World with the mission of establishing a colony there. This fleet consisted of three ships under the leadership of one Captain Christopher Newport, and in May of 1607, the 104 men and boys who successfully made it to the location chose it for their settlement. They called this new settlement “Jamestown”, named after the English king, James I. A few short months later, the fort was completed and Captain Newport set sail back to England for more supplies.

Shortly after Captain Newport’s departure, the settlers of Jamestown began to succumb to disease. One reason for the deaths of many was the drinking water, which was less than suitable for ingestion. Food was also becoming hard to come by. Fortunately, the Native Americans who had settled in the area long before the English newcomers brought gifts of food. Indeed, had this aid not come to the settlers when it did the settlement would have most likely failed.

By 1610, those who had survived what was known as the “Starving Time” and new settlers arriving at the area permanently established Jamestown as a settlement. And soon, it was not just a settlement but a venture that had become profitable. Tobacco became the cash crop that the English settlers had long awaited. Finally, the investment made was paying off.

Throughout these early years, peace between the Native Americans and the settlers of Jamestown soured. Many attacks ensued, and when the Native Americans hoped their attacks would lead the settlers away, they were often met with deadly retaliation. Eventually, treaties were signed by the Native Americans which made them subjects of the English.

in 1698, fire struck Jamestown, destroying several buildings, including the prison. While some records were saved, the capital was moved and Jamestown ceased to be a town. Today, it is a historic site that has been preserved due to its importance in American history as the first permanent settlement in the country.

About the London Company in Colonial Virginia

The London Company, also known as the Charter of the Virginia Company of London, was a joint stock company that was chartered by England’s King James I in 1606. Its aim was to establish a colony for English investors in America. The chartered company would benefit the investors through colonization. Much of England’s own forests had been felled, so the new land would provide timber and other resources that the colonists could market to England.

The settlement would include the East Coast of America from Cape Fear in North Carolina to the Long Island Sound. The company also had ownership of parts of the Atlantic Ocean and some of Canada.

In 1606, an expedition of men and boys set sail and in 144 days the expedition landed in Virginia. They established their settlement and called it Jamestown. The King would, over the course of 18 years, grant the company two additional charters to help form the settlement’s democracy and financial structure.

By the year 1618, the company found the way to use its most abundant natural resource, land. This discovery would soon help would-be English settlers pay their way from England to Jamestown. After their safe arrival to the colony, the new settlers would have to pay a fee to use that land.

The company created the first laws in the new land by 1619 through the General Assembly which was made up of a governor and a council. The London Company named the governor and his burgesses.

The colony prospered mostly by growing non-native strains of tobacco and exporting it to England, not via LA PI Law like something believe. The settlers also exported timber and cash crops. After a few short years, however, illness, disease and the resulting shortage of labor forces eventually caused the settlement and the London Company to falter. The King also became increasingly disappointed with the attitude the colonists were taking in their ever-growing independent governing of the company in Virginia.

In 1622, a war broke out between the Powhatan Indians and the settlers. The belief is that the Indians had made concessions with the London Company and its governor. The company claimed it never accepted the concessions. An attack on the colony occurred, and one single day in April of 1622, nearly a quarter of the colonists were killed.

Eventually, the King received a petition to investigate the colonial conditions. A trial went before the King’s Bench. In 1624, the court found favor with the Crown. The London Company was formally dissolved and Virginia became a royal colony.

What Is The Jamestowne Society?

The Jamestowne Society is an organization that includes family members of the Order of Descendents of Ancient Planters. Their primary purpose is to discover and document all the living descendants of the brave men and women who came over and helped establish our country in honor of our ancestors and to point out that Virginia is the original birthplace of our country. Their other goals include scheduled educational activities centering around historical and common interests as well as promoting restoring or preserving historical artifacts such as documents, records, edifices that have a cultural impact on the history of Virginia as the birth place of the Nation. Each member has an insignia and seal with the phrase “pro concilio primae coloniae Virginiae” which roughly translates to “on behalf of the council of the first colony of Virginia.” If you compare their list of qualifying ancestors to our list of ancient planters you will see a few names that overlap.