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Nathaniel Bacon
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Advocate
    (January 2, 1647-October 26, 1676)
    Born in Suffolk, England, United Kingdom
    Owned two frontier plantations on the James River in Virginia
    Led Bacon's Rebellion against Virginia Governor William Berkeley (1676)
    He came to America to escape accusations of having cheated another man out of his inheritance.
    One of the motives for the rebellion was the desire of him and other frontiersmen to seize Indian lands, including the lands of friendly tribes.
    He raised a militia of 500 men that attacked the previously peaceful Occanecchi and Pamunkey tribes.
    He issued a manifesto calling for the extermination of all Indians.
    His forces burned the colonial capital, Jamestown, to the ground (September 19, 1676).
    His rebellion quickly collapsed after his death from dysentery.
    He and his followers were also motivated by the colonial government's refusal to retaliate for attacks on plantations by the Susquehannock tribe.
    Governor Berkeley's official reason was that he wanted to avoid provoking an all-out war, but it was rumored that he really wanted to avoid disrupting the fur trade that he controlled.
    He was popular enough with Virginian colonists to get elected to the House of Burgesses in mid-revolt.
    He issued a 'Declaration of the People of Virginia' denouncing Berkeley's administration for corruption and high taxes (July 30, 1676).
    Some historians considered him a precursor to the American Revolution of a century later.

Credit: C. Fishel


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