Ruínas de Jamestown após a rebelião de Bacon

Ruínas de Jamestown após a rebelião de Bacon


Uma breve história do Castelo de Bacon

Arthur Allen patenteou pela primeira vez um terreno que se tornou parte do Castelo de Bacon em 14 de março de 1650. Ele recebeu 200 acres para o transporte de três servos e Alice Tucker, que era, ou em breve se tornaria, sua esposa. De onde Allen veio, por que ele veio para a Virgínia, quando ele chegou e como ele obteve seu dinheiro são todos mistérios.

Arthur Allen apareceu pela primeira vez nos registros em 1650 com a patente de terras. Ele foi nomeado um dos juízes de paz do condado de Surry quando este foi formado em 1652, mas esse foi o único cargo político que ocupou. Ele era um dos homens mais ricos do condado e pode ter sido o mais rico. Ele foi provavelmente um dos plantadores-mercantes comuns em Tidewater, Virgínia, em meados do século XVII, como foi referido como "Arthur Allen, comerciante" em uma escritura de 1656.

Em 3 de outubro de 1661, Allen comprou 500 acres de John e Peleg Dunstan, os filhos e herdeiros de John Dunstan, entre Lower Chippokes e Lawns Creek adjacente às suas outras terras. Quatro anos depois, Arthur Allen construiu sua magnífica casa de tijolos, o Castelo de Bacon, neste local. Era 1665 e ele tinha 57 anos. Não se sabe por que ele construiu uma casa tão elegante nos confins da Virgínia quando era um homem relativamente velho. Também desconhecidos são os modelos que Allen usou para projetar sua casa, os nomes dos construtores e operários e quanto tempo levou para terminar a casa.

Arthur Allen não viveu para desfrutar de sua casa. Ele fez seu testamento em 10 de março de 1669 e morreu cerca de três meses depois. Ele deixou o Castelo de Bacon para seu filho Arthur. Presumivelmente, ele deu outros legados a suas filhas Joan, Mary e Elizabeth.

Arthur Allen II, geralmente conhecido como Major Allen, nasceu por volta de 1651. Ele foi acusado dos impostos do Castelo de Bacon já em 1670 e foi mencionado várias vezes nos registros nos anos seguintes. Em 1675, aos 24 anos, o governador Berkeley o nomeou juiz de paz do Tribunal do condado de Surry.

Allen apoiou firmemente o governador na rebelião de Bacon. Allen esteve presente na fatídica sessão do tribunal de 10 de agosto de 1676, quando os juízes de Surry votaram para enviar suprimentos ao rebelde Nathaniel Bacon. Ele deve ter se oposto à decisão e logo depois disso escondeu sua prata, deixou sua casa e seguiu o governador Berkeley. Ele estava em Jamestown quando Bacon atacou e incendiou a cidade, e mais tarde ele se tornou um dos oficiais de maior confiança de Berkeley. Ele era o "Capitão Allen" no final de novembro de 1676 e liderou alguns dos ataques aos rebeldes de um dos navios no rio York em frente a West Point.

Nesse ínterim, muita coisa aconteceu no Castelo de Bacon. Na sexta-feira, 15 de setembro de 1676, John Finley, supervisor de Allen, voltou para casa a cavalo de Jamestown, onde estivera visitando Allen. Joseph Rogers, um dos apoiadores de Bacon, prendeu-o quase à vista do Castelo de Bacon. Rogers questionou Finely e então o soltou. Antes que Finley cavalgasse oitocentos metros adiante, Rogers e outros apoiadores de Baconian prenderam Finley, desarmaram-no e roubaram seu cavalo. Com o tempo, Finley foi enviado para o condado de Charles City, onde ficou preso pelas 11 semanas seguintes.

Três dias depois, em 18 de setembro, uma segunda-feira à noite, 70 seguidores de Bacon, liderados por William Rookings, Arthur Long (cunhado de Allen), Robert Burgess, Joseph Rogers e William Simmons apreenderam, ocuparam e guarneceram o Castelo de Bacon. Eles andavam com um porte militar completo, com fileiras de oficiais (Rookings era o comandante, Rogers era o tenente, Long era o capitão, Simmons era o alferes) e cores. Eles causaram estragos dentro e fora da casa enquanto permaneceram lá. Eles abatiam e comiam parte do gado de Allen, transformavam seu trigo em farinha em um moinho manual e pisoteavam suas safras de trigo, tabaco e grãos no solo.

Os rebeldes baconianos também saquearam a casa e roubaram (entre outros itens) três selas finas, alguns freios, 22 pares de lençóis dowlas finos, seis pares de lençóis holandeses novos, 56 fronhas (a maioria deles novos), 24 guardanapos finos, dois toalhas de mesa, 24 aventais finos dowlas da Holanda, 36 toalhas finas dowlas, 26 blusões femininos - a maioria deles finos, dowlas e novos, vários pares de mangas, lenços, lençóis femininos de todos os tipos, uma cama nova e almofada, três bacias de estanho , 14 novos pratos de estanho, dois porringers de estanho e três potes de mostarda. Sem dúvida, eles beberam o conteúdo da grande caixa holandesa com seis ou sete garrafas de três litros dentro. Eles procuraram, sem sucesso, a prata de Allen.

Finalmente, os baconianos fugiram na noite de 27 de dezembro, quando os fuzileiros navais britânicos do navio Young Prince se mudaram da Ilha de Wight para Surry. Os rebeldes roubaram mais roupa de casa e livros de Allen, enfiando-os em fronhas, calças e tudo o mais que estivesse à mão. Allen mais tarde processou os rebeldes nos tribunais do condado de Surry e Charles City por cerca de 25.000 libras de tabaco por danos. Ele fez um acordo com alguns dos homens menores em Charles City e aceitou o pagamento de 250 libras de tabaco cada, mas insistiu no pagamento integral dos líderes.


Eventos Preliminares

Década de 1570: Jesuítas espanhóis estabelecem uma missão indígena no rio York, na Virgínia. Eles foram mortos pelos índios e a missão foi abandonada.

Wahunsonacock (Chefe Powhatan) herdou uma chefia de seis tribos no alto dos rios James e no meio dos rios York. Em 1607, ele conquistou cerca de 25 outras tribos.

1585-1590: Três viagens separadas enviaram colonos ingleses para Roanoke, Virgínia (agora Carolina do Norte). Na última viagem, John White não conseguiu localizar os colonos & ldquolost & rdquo.

1597: Powhatan conquistou os Kecoughtans, uma grande e próspera tribo na foz do rio James. O capitão Bartholomew Gosnold explorou a Nova Inglaterra, citando algumas áreas próximas ao vinhedo Martha e rsquos.

1602: O capitão Bartholomew Gosnold explorou a Nova Inglaterra, citando algumas áreas próximas e incluindo Martha & rsquos Vineyard.

1603: A rainha Elizabeth I morreu Jaime VI da Escócia tornou-se Jaime I da Inglaterra.


Ruínas de Jamestown após a rebelião de Bacon - História


Jamestown começou como um forte, localizado em uma ilha sem permissão dos atuais habitantes
Fonte: National Park Service, Jamestown - Sidney King Paintings, Watching the Colonists Construct James Fort

Os investidores da Virginia Company batizaram sua primeira cidade em homenagem ao rei da Inglaterra, que concedeu o foral que autorizava seu empreendimento comercial. Os capitães do mar ingleses também foram politicamente corretos, e o grande afluente conhecido localmente como "Rio Powhatan" foi rebatizado de Rio James.

Christopher Newport seguiu suas ordens e trouxe os 104 colonos rio acima de Hampton Roads ao selecionar o local para Jamestown. Os colonos limparam o terreno, construíram um forte e, no final do verão, começaram a morrer.


começar em Jamestown exigia o corte de árvores e a construção de uma paliçada para o forte, além de madeiras para as casas e a igreja
Fonte: Internet Archive, A School History of the United States, from the Discovery of America to the Year 1878 (p.33)

A capital colonial passou por tempos difíceis inicialmente. A Inglaterra teve experiência em colonizar a Irlanda, mas a Virgínia foi muito diferente.

Powhatan habilmente ordenhou os colonos em busca de cobre ornamental e contas, além das ferramentas de ferro (machados, agulhas, etc.) que melhoraram dramaticamente a agricultura algonquiana e a manufatura de roupas. Ele até obteve armas e treinamento para usá-las. Os ingleses eram estrangeiros que simplesmente apareceram sem aviso em seu território, e Powhatan restringiu sua expansão para fora do assentamento por vários anos.

Os ingleses abandonaram a Ilha Roanoke duas vezes em 1584 e novamente em 1585 antes que a terceira colônia em 1587 fosse "perdida". Jamestown também foi abandonado em 1610. Após o inverno de 1609-10 conhecido hoje como "Tempo de fome", os colonos ingleses lotaram o navio e fugiram da Virgínia.

Eles navegaram até a foz do rio James, voltando para casa derrotados. Para sua surpresa, eles encontraram o navio de Lord De le Ware, chegando da Inglaterra com novos suprimentos e novas pessoas. Os colonos que abandonaram a Virgínia não queimaram o forte em Jamestown antes de partir, e Powhatan também não. Os ingleses puderam retornar a Jamestown e começar de novo em junho de 1610.

A colônia lutou ao longo da primeira Guerra Anglo-Powhatan em 1609-14, que terminou essencialmente quando Powhatan decidiu adotar outras táticas e sinalizou a paz ao permitir que sua filha Pocahontas se casasse com John Rolfe em 1614. Rolfe identificou como a colônia poderia ter lucro , depois de importar sementes de tabaco com aroma adocicado das Índias Ocidentais e cultivar uma safra com sucesso.

O tabaco, um produto agrícola que não tinha valor como alimento, rapidamente se tornou um produto altamente comercializável na Europa. A colônia havia descoberto uma base econômica para a sobrevivência, e todos os espaços abertos - até mesmo as ruas de Jamestown, ao mesmo tempo - eram plantados com tabaco.


depois de ouvir sobre a demanda por tabaco, os residentes de Jamestown supostamente cultivavam tabaco nas ruas de Jamestown (que já estavam sem árvores)
Fonte: Internet Archive, A School History of the United States, from the Discovery of America to the Year 1878 (p.40)

Jamestown não cresceu e se tornou um grande centro populacional inicialmente, porque a colônia inteira demorou a crescer, mesmo depois que o sucesso do tabaco se tornou evidente. Para atrair imigrantes, a Virginia Company permitiu que os colonos estabelecessem uma forma de autogoverno por meio de uma House of Burgesses. Isso acabou com a lei marcial imposta por Sir Thomas Dale em 1611. Os representantes eleitos se reuniram pela primeira vez em julho de 1619, e esse grupo continua até hoje como Assembleia Geral da Virgínia.

O ponto de encontro original era a igreja em Jamestown, a maior instalação da colônia. A Igreja Memorial de tijolos em Jamestown Island construída em 1907, e a versão original reconstruída em Jamestown Settlement, mostram que o maior edifício era minúsculo e resfriado apenas pela brisa.


a torre ao lado da igreja reconstruída em Jamestown é a estrutura mais antiga remanescente na primeira capital da Virgínia

Em uma sociedade sem acesso fácil a sabão e água corrente, onde os homens se apertavam com força para caber em um pequeno espaço confinado sem ventiladores ou ar-condicionado em julho, não é difícil imaginar por que as reuniões eram curtas e ocasionalmente os ânimos explodiam. Jamestown era um lugar onde os conflitos eram resolvidos, mas o processo não era elegante.

Durante as reuniões da Assembleia Geral, Jamestown cheirava mal - literalmente. Os cavalos contribuíram com níveis aumentados de esterco e os humanos jogaram seu equivalente em casas externas, onde a água subterrânea perto da superfície preenchia os buracos.

Os tomadores de decisão que se reuniram eram homens (nenhuma mulher podia votar), e em 1600 eles eram tipicamente homens que trabalhavam com mãos calejadas devido ao trabalho físico em suas fazendas. Seus talentos para fazer discursos ou negociar acordos variavam, mas sua higiene era consistentemente diferente dos tempos modernos. Os burgueses não tomavam banho, não passavam transpirante e borrifavam um pouco de colônia todas as manhãs antes de se reunirem em um pequeno espaço sem ar-condicionado. Ao final do dia, aquele espaço estaria repleto de odores.


em menos de 10 anos Jamestown se expandiu de um forte para uma cidade, com casas alinhadas ao longo de duas ruas principais
Fonte: National Park Service, Jamestown - Sidney King Paintings, Jamestown Aproximadamente 1614 - Vista aérea

O assentamento ao redor do forte aumentou, lentamente. A revolta de 1622 liderada por Opechancanough destruiu plantações longe de Jamestown, incluindo o assentamento em Henricus que poderia ter substituído Jamestown como a capital. Jamestown permaneceu como o sítio central desenvolvido na colônia.

Casas de tijolos foram construídas ao longo de duas novas ruas paralelas à costa leste do antigo local do forte, pesquisadas por William Claiborne. O desenvolvimento da cidade foi estimulado por uma combinação de mandatos e subsídios do governo, e "James Cittie" evoluiu. O governador Harvie construiu uma casa substancial em um terreno em New Towne, que serviu como sede do governo na década de 1630. 1


A casa do governador Harvie é a 6ª no mapa de New Towne em Jamestown
Fonte: National Park Service, More Than a Fort: Historic Jamestowne's New Towne

Durante a rebelião de Bacon em 1676, o Statehouse e a maioria dos edifícios em Jamestown foram destruídos. Depois de olhar as ruínas da cidade: 2

a Assembleia Geral votou pela mudança da capital para Tyndall's Point, na margem norte do rio York, em frente a Yorktown - um lugar mais tarde conhecido como Gloucester Point.


Tyndall's Point (Gloucester Point), considerado uma alternativa a Jamestown após a rebelião de Bacon
Fonte: Biblioteca do Congresso, Virgínia / descoberta e descrita por Captayn John Smith, 1606

A mudança aprovada localmente foi vetada pelas autoridades reais em Londres, no entanto, e a capital permaneceu em Jamestown. Durante a década de 1690, Jamestown ainda era uma pequena vila com instalações inadequadas para reuniões para a Casa dos Burgesses.

O palácio do governo em Jamestown pegou fogo novamente em 20 de outubro de 1698. A causa pode ter sido um incêndio criminoso, um incêndio causado por um prisioneiro que aguardava a execução sem nada a perder. A destruição da casa do governo removeu o espaço de reunião do Tribunal Geral. 3

O Tribunal Geral era um grupo menor do que a House of Burgesses, uma vez que era composto apenas pelo governador e pelo seu Conselho de Estado. Os conselheiros nomeados eram os membros ricos da colônia, a "crosta superior" da pequena nobreza. Apesar da maior sofisticação e roupas mais extravagantes das pessoas nomeadas para o Conselho, os odores em sua sala de reuniões ainda seriam considerados terríveis para os legisladores modernos, lobistas e visitantes da Assembleia Geral.

Antes do incêndio de 1698, as propostas para mover a capital para a vizinha Middle Plantation foram rejeitadas por exigirem muito esforço. Depois que o palácio do governo foi destruído, uma equipe de alunos do novo College of William and Mary apresentou uma proposta para mover o capitólio para seu local. Mais significativamente, Francis Nicholson foi nomeado o novo governador real da colônia.

Ele havia servido anteriormente como vice-governador em 1690-1692, antes de ser nomeado governador real de Maryland. Nicholson permaneceu comprometido com Virginia como administrador do College of William and Mary, portanto estava familiarizado com as vantagens de Middle Plantation em relação a Jamestown.

Como o primeiro governador real de Maryland depois que o Calvert perdeu o controle sobre sua colônia proprietária, o governador Nicholson mudou a capital de Maryland de St. Mary's City para Annapolis em 1695. Ele ajudou a projetar a nova capital, e: 4

desempenhou um papel importante no desenho da nova cidade em um estilo metropolitano imponente e meticulosamente planejado. Ele fez o mesmo para a nova capital em Williamsburg, servindo como seu principal planejador e dando-lhe um layout que considerou apropriado para a sede do poder em uma próspera e florescente colônia inglesa.

A mudança ocorreu por vários motivos. Os colonos entenderam que os pântanos de Jamestown não eram lugares saudáveis. A rede de estradas na Península seguiu a divisão da bacia hidrográfica de secagem mais rápida, que passava por Middle Plantation.

Como parte da decisão de se mudar, Middle Plantation foi renomeado para Williamsburg. Isso homenageou o atual rei em Londres, assim como o primeiro assentamento em 1607 recebeu o nome do rei.

A Assembleia Geral votou os fundos necessários para construir um novo edifício do capitólio na nova capital, a sede do governo. Em Jamestown, o espaço de reunião da Assembleia Geral chamava-se Statehouse. O novo edifício em Williamsburg que serviu como sede da Assembleia Geral foi o primeiro edifício na América do Norte a ser chamado de "capitólio". 5

A sede do condado local de James City County permaneceu em Jamestown por mais quase 20 anos, mas a primeira ilha ocupada pelos colonos ingleses gradualmente voltou a ser uma terra de cultivo. A cidade havia sido autorizada a eleger um membro para a Casa dos Burgesses em 1784. Ela manteve que logo após a capital ser transferida até o fim da Casa dos Burgesses em 1776, mas com o declínio da população, apenas 25 eleitores participaram do eleições em Jamestown. 6

Por volta de 1750, a igreja de tijolos construída por volta de 1600 foi abandonada. A torre sobreviveu, mas o resto do prédio desabou junto com todas as outras estruturas do período colonial. 7


Jamestown declinou rapidamente depois que a capital colonial se mudou para Williamsburg e Yorktown se tornou o porto que serve a nova capital
Fonte: Internet Archive, A School History of the United States, from the Discovery of America to the Year 1878 (p.45)


Igrejas Jamestown

O capitão John Smith relatou que os primeiros cultos da igreja foram realizados ao ar livre & # 8220 sob um toldo (que era um velho saile) & # 8221 preso a três ou quatro árvores. Como parte de um esforço de reconstrução após um incêndio que queimou grande parte do forte em janeiro de 1608, os colonos construíram o primeiro edifício da igreja. Smith disse que era & # 8220 uma coisa simples como um celeiro montado em crachets, coberto com jangadas, juncos e terra. & # 8221 Feito de madeira, precisava de conserto constante. Pocahontas e John Rolfe se casaram na primeira igreja.

A segunda igreja

Em 1617-1619, quando Samuel Argall era governador, ele fez com que os habitantes de Jamestown construíssem uma nova igreja & # 822050 pés de comprimento e vinte pés de largura. & # 8221 Esta igreja estreita foi construída sobre uma fundação de paralelepípedos de trinta centímetros de largura tampado por uma parede de um tijolo de espessura. Os visitantes podem ver essas fundações sob o vidro do piso do edifício atual. A Primeira Assembleia foi realizada nesta igreja em 1619.

A terceira igreja

Em janeiro de 1639, o governador John Harvey relatou que ele, o Conselho, os plantadores mais hábeis e alguns capitães do mar & # 8220 haviam contribuído para a construção de uma igreja de tijolos & # 8221 em Jamestown. Esta igreja era um pouco maior do que a segunda igreja e foi construída em torno dela. Ainda estava inacabado em novembro de 1647, quando foram feitos esforços para concluí-lo. A terceira igreja queimou durante a rebelião de Bacon & # 8217s em 19 de setembro de 1676.

A Quarta Igreja

Dez anos após a rebelião de Bacon & # 8217, uma quarta igreja estava funcionando, provavelmente usando as paredes e fundações da terceira igreja. Algum tempo depois de concluído, uma torre de igreja de tijolos foi adicionada. A torre é a única estrutura acima do solo do século 17 ainda de pé em Jamestown.

A torre tem um pouco mais de 18 pés quadrados e as paredes têm três pés de espessura na base. Originalmente, a torre tinha cerca de 46 pés de altura, 10 pés mais alta do que é hoje, e era coroada com um telhado de madeira e campanário. Tinha dois andares superiores, conforme indicado pelos grandes entalhes de viga no interior. Seis pequenas aberturas no topo permitiam a entrada de luz e o som de um sino ou sinos para transportar o rio e a cidade. Esta igreja foi usada até a década de 1750, quando foi abandonada. Embora a torre tenha permanecido intacta, o edifício caiu em ruínas por volta de 1790, quando os tijolos foram recuperados e usados ​​para construir a atual parede do cemitério. Ao longo do século 19, a torre permaneceu um símbolo silencioso para os americanos de sua herança inicial. Foi fortalecido e preservado logo após a APVA adquiri-lo na década de 1890.

A Igreja Memorial

O atual edifício da Igreja Memorial foi construído em 1906 pela Sociedade Nacional, Colonial Dames of America, fora das fundações das igrejas anteriores. Foi inaugurado em 13 de maio de 1907.

Explore os artefatos


Bacon & # 8217s Rebellion: Traders and Scapegoats in Jamestown, 1676

Lydia, esposa do rebelde Edmund Cheeseman, desmaia quando ele é condenado por traição pelo governador da Virgina, William Berkeley, uma velha desdentada que é impedida de atacá-la. / Gravura colorida por A. Bobbet após F. Darley, Wellcome Collection, Creative Commons

A rebelião de Bacon & # 8217s pode ser atribuída a uma miríade de causas, todas as quais levaram à dissidência na colônia da Virgínia.

Por Susan McCulley

A rebelião de Bacon & # 8217s foi provavelmente um dos capítulos mais confusos, mas intrigantes, da história de Jamestown & # 8217s. Por muitos anos, os historiadores consideraram a Rebelião da Virgínia de 1676 a primeira agitação do sentimento revolucionário na América, que culminou na Revolução Americana quase exatamente cem anos depois. No entanto, nas últimas décadas, com base em descobertas de um ponto de vista mais distante, os historiadores passaram a entender a Rebelião de Bacon & # 8217 como uma luta pelo poder entre dois líderes teimosos e egoístas, em vez de uma luta gloriosa contra a tirania.

As figuras centrais na Rebelião de Bacon e # 8217 eram opostas. O governador Sir William Berkeley, setenta anos quando a crise começou, era um veterano das Guerras Civis inglesas, um guerreiro indígena da fronteira, favorito do rei & # 8217 em seu primeiro mandato como governador nos anos 1640 & # 8217, dramaturgo e estudioso. Seu nome e reputação como governador da Virgínia eram muito respeitados. Antagonista de Berkeley & # 8217s, o jovem Nathaniel Bacon, Jr., era na verdade primo de Berkeley & # 8217s por casamento. Lady Berkeley, Frances Culpeper, era prima de Bacon & # 8217s. Bacon era um encrenqueiro e intrigante cujo pai o mandou para a Virgínia na esperança de que ele amadurecesse. Embora desdenhoso do trabalho, Bacon era inteligente e eloqüente. Após a chegada de Bacon, Berkeley tratou seu jovem primo com respeito e amizade, dando-lhe uma substancial doação de terras e um assento no conselho em 1675.

Desenho a caneta e tinta das tropas de Bacon & # 8217s prestes a queimar Jamestown / Desenho de Rita Honeycutt / NPS, domínio público

A rebelião de Bacon & # 8217s pode ser atribuída a uma miríade de causas, todas as quais levaram à dissidência na colônia da Virgínia. Problemas econômicos, como a queda dos preços do tabaco, a crescente competição comercial de Maryland e das Carolinas, um mercado inglês cada vez mais restrito e o aumento dos preços dos produtos manufaturados ingleses (mercantilismo) causaram problemas para os virginianos. Houve pesadas perdas inglesas na última série de guerras navais com os holandeses e, perto de casa, houve muitos problemas causados ​​pelo clima. Tempestades de granizo, inundações, estiagens e furacões abalaram a colônia ao longo de um ano e tiveram um efeito prejudicial sobre os colonos. Essas dificuldades encorajaram os colonos a encontrarem um bode expiatório contra o qual pudessem desafogar suas frustrações e culpar seus infortúnios.

Os colonos encontraram seu bode expiatório na forma dos índios locais. O problema começou em julho de 1675 com uma invasão dos índios Doeg na plantação de Thomas Mathews, localizada na seção Northern Neck da Virgínia, perto do Rio Potomac. Vários Doegs foram mortos no ataque, que começou em uma disputa sobre o não pagamento de alguns itens que Mathews aparentemente obteve da tribo. A situação tornou-se crítica quando, em um ataque retaliatório dos colonos, eles atacaram os índios errados, os Susquehanaugs, o que causou o início de incursões indígenas em grande escala.

Intérpretes da St. Maries Citty Living History demonstrando o disparo de mosquetes Match Lock / NPS, domínio público

Para evitar ataques futuros e colocar a situação sob controle, o governador Berkeley ordenou uma investigação sobre o assunto. Ele armou o que seria um encontro desastroso entre as partes, que resultou no assassinato de vários chefes tribais. Ao longo da crise, Berkeley continuamente implorou por moderação aos colonos. Alguns, incluindo Bacon, se recusaram a ouvir. Nathaniel Bacon desconsiderou as ordens diretas do governador ao apreender alguns índios Appomattox amigáveis ​​por & # 8220 supostamente & # 8221 roubar milho. Berkeley o repreendeu, o que fez com que os descontentes virginianos se perguntassem qual homem havia agido corretamente. Era aqui que as linhas de batalha estavam prestes a ser traçadas.

Um outro problema foi a tentativa de Berkeley de encontrar um meio-termo. A política de Berkeley era preservar a amizade e lealdade dos índios subjugados, garantindo aos colonos que eles não eram hostis. Para cumprir seu primeiro objetivo, o governador livrou os índios de sua pólvora e munição. Para lidar com o segundo objetivo, Berkeley convocou a & # 8220Long Assembly & # 8221 em março de 1676. Apesar de ser considerada corrupta, a assembleia declarou guerra a todos os índios & # 8220bad & # 8221 e estabeleceu uma forte zona defensiva em torno da Virgínia com uma corrente definitiva de comando. As guerras indígenas que resultaram desta diretriz levaram a altos impostos para pagar o exército e ao descontentamento geral na colônia por ter que arcar com esse fardo.

A Assembleia Longa foi acusada de corrupção por causa de sua decisão sobre o comércio com os índios. Não por coincidência, a maioria dos comerciantes favoritos eram amigos de Berkeley. Comerciantes regulares, alguns dos quais negociavam independentemente com os índios locais por gerações, não tinham mais permissão para negociar individualmente. Uma comissão governamental foi criada para monitorar o comércio entre os especialmente escolhidos e garantir que os índios não estivessem recebendo armas e munições. Bacon, um dos negociantes afetados adversamente pela ordem do governador & # 8217, acusou Berkeley publicamente de ter favoritos. Bacon também ficou ressentido porque Berkeley negou-lhe uma comissão como líder da milícia local. Bacon foi eleito & # 8220Geral & # 8221 de um grupo de lutadores indígenas voluntários locais, porque ele prometeu arcar com os custos das campanhas.

Depois que Bacon expulsou os Pamunkeys de suas terras próximas em sua primeira ação, Berkeley exerceu uma das poucas instâncias de controle sobre a situação que teria, cavalgando até a sede da Bacon & # 8217s em Henrico com 300 senhores & # 8220 bem armados & # 8221 . Após a chegada de Berkeley, Bacon fugiu para a floresta com 200 homens em busca de um lugar mais de seu agrado para um encontro. Berkeley então emitiu duas petições declarando Bacon um rebelde e perdoando os homens de Bacon se eles voltassem para casa em paz. Bacon seria então destituído da cadeira do conselho que ganhou por suas ações naquele ano, mas ele teria um julgamento justo por sua desobediência.

Bacon não cumpriu, neste momento, as ordens do governador & # 8217s. Em vez disso, ele atacou em seguida o acampamento dos amigáveis ​​índios Occaneecheee no rio Roanoke (a fronteira entre a Virgínia e a Carolina do Norte) e levou seu estoque de peles de castor.

Governador Berkeley diante de Bacon e seus homens desafiando-os a atirar nele / Sidney King Painting, NPS, Public Domain

Diante de uma catástrofe que se aproximava, Berkeley, para manter a paz, estava disposto a esquecer que Bacon não estava autorizado a fazer justiça com as próprias mãos. Berkeley concordou em perdoar Bacon se ele se entregasse, para que pudesse ser enviado para a Inglaterra e julgado pelo rei Carlos II. Foi a Casa dos Burgesses, entretanto, que recusou essa alternativa, insistindo que Bacon deveria reconhecer seus erros e implorar perdão ao governador. Ironicamente, ao mesmo tempo, Bacon foi então eleito para os Burgesses por proprietários de terras locais solidários e simpáticos às suas campanhas indígenas. Bacon, em virtude dessa eleição, compareceu à histórica Assembleia de junho de 1676. Foi durante essa sessão que ele foi erroneamente creditado com as reformas políticas decorrentes dessa reunião. As reformas foram impulsionadas pela população, cortando todas as linhas de classe. A maioria das leis de reforma tratava da reconstrução dos regulamentos de votação da colônia, permitindo que homens livres votassem e limitando o número de anos que uma pessoa poderia ocupar certos cargos na colônia. A maioria dessas leis já estava nos livros para consideração muito antes de Bacon ser eleito para os Burgesses. A única causa de Bacon foi sua campanha contra os índios.

Após sua chegada para a Assembleia de junho, Bacon foi capturado, levado perante Berkeley e o conselho e foi obrigado a se desculpar por suas ações anteriores. Berkeley imediatamente perdoou Bacon e permitiu que ele tomasse seu assento na assembléia. Nessa época, o conselho ainda não tinha ideia de quanto apoio crescia em defesa de Bacon. A plena consciência desse apoio veio à tona quando Bacon de repente deixou os Burgesses em meio a um acalorado debate sobre os problemas indianos. Ele voltou com suas forças para cercar a assembleia estadual. Mais uma vez, Bacon exigiu sua comissão, mas Berkeley cobrou seu blefe e exigiu que Bacon atirasse nele.

& # 8220Aqui atire em mim diante de Deus, justo tiro. & # 8221

Bacon recusou. Berkeley concedeu a Bacon & # 8217s a comissão de voluntariado anterior, mas Bacon recusou e exigiu que ele fosse nomeado general de todas as forças contra os índios, o que Berkeley recusou enfaticamente e foi embora. A tensão aumentou enquanto Bacon e seus homens cercavam o palácio do governo, ameaçando atirar em vários Burgesses se Bacon não recebesse sua comissão. Finalmente, depois de vários momentos de agonia, Berkeley cedeu às demandas de Bacon & # 8217 por campanhas contra os índios sem a interferência do governo. Com a autoridade de Berkeley em frangalhos, o breve mandato de Bacon como líder da rebelião começou.

Bacon & # 8217s Rebellion reencenação / NPS, domínio público

Mesmo em meio a esses triunfos sem precedentes, no entanto, Bacon não estava isento de erros. Ele permitiu que Berkeley deixasse Jamestown após um ataque surpresa de um índio a um assentamento próximo. Ele também confiscou suprimentos de Gloucester e os deixou vulneráveis ​​a possíveis ataques indígenas. Pouco depois que a crise acalmou, Berkeley retirou-se brevemente para sua casa em Green Springs e lavou as mãos de toda a bagunça. Nathaniel Bacon dominou Jamestown de julho a setembro de 1676. Durante este tempo, Berkeley saiu de sua letargia e tentou um golpe, mas o apoio a Bacon ainda era muito forte e Berkeley foi forçado a fugir para o condado de Accomack na costa oriental.

Sentindo que isso tornaria seu triunfo completo, Bacon publicou sua & # 8220Declaration of the People & # 8221 em 30 de julho de 1676, que afirmava que Berkeley era corrupta, tinha favoritos e protegia os índios para seus próprios objetivos egoístas. Bacon também emitiu seu juramento que exigia que o jurante prometesse sua lealdade a Bacon de qualquer maneira necessária (isto é, serviço armado, suprimentos, apoio verbal). Mesmo essa rédea apertada não conseguiu evitar que a maré mudasse novamente. A frota de Bacon & # 8217s foi primeiro e finalmente infiltrada secretamente por homens de Berkeley & # 8217s e finalmente capturada. Este seria o ponto de viragem no conflito, porque Berkeley foi mais uma vez forte o suficiente para retomar Jamestown. Bacon então seguiu sua fortuna afundando até Jamestown e viu-o fortemente fortificado. Ele fez várias tentativas de cerco, durante as quais sequestrou as esposas de vários dos maiores apoiadores de Berkeley, incluindo a Sra. Nathaniel Bacon Sênior, e as colocou nas muralhas de suas fortificações de cerco enquanto cavava sua posição. Enfurecido, Bacon queimou Jamestown até o chão em 19 de setembro de 1676. (Ele salvou muitos registros valiosos na assembleia estadual.) A essa altura, sua sorte havia claramente acabado com essa medida extrema e ele começou a ter problemas para controlar a conduta de seus homens. além de manter seu apoio popular. Few people responded to Bacon’s appeal to capture Berkeley who had since returned to the Eastern Shore for safety reasons.

On October 26th, 1676, Bacon abruptly died of the “Bloodie Flux” and “Lousey Disease” (body lice). It is possible his soldiers burned his contaminated body because it was never found. (His death inspired this little ditty Bacon is Dead I am sorry at my hart That lice and flux should take the hangman’s part”.)

Shortly after Bacon’s death, Berkeley regained complete control and hanged the major leaders of the rebellion. He also seized rebel property without the benefit of a trial. All in all, twenty-three persons were hanged for their part in the rebellion. Later after an investigating committee from England issued its report to King Charles II, Berkeley was relieved of the Governorship and returned to England where he died in July 1677.

Thus ended one of the most unusual and complicated chapters in Jamestown’s history. Could it have been prevented or was it time for inevitable changes to take place in the colonial governmental structure? Obviously, the laws were no longer effective as far as establishing clear policies to deal with problems or to instill new lifeblood into the colony’s economy. The numerous problems that hit the colony before the Rebellion gave rise to the character of Nathaniel Bacon. Due to the nature of the uprising, Bacon’s Rebellion does seem at first glance to be the beginnings of America’s quest for Independence. But closer examination of the facts reveals what it really was: a power struggle between two very strong personalities. Between them they almost destroyed Jamestown.

Bibliografia

  • Neville, John Davenport. Bacon’s Rebellion. Abstracts of Materials in the Colonial Records Project. Jamestown: Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.
  • Washburn, Wilcomb E. The Governor and the Rebel. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1957.
  • Webb, Stephen Saunders. 1676: The End of American Independence. New York: Alfred A. Knope, 1984.

Originally published by the National Park Service, 06.1987, to the public domain.


Drummond, William (d. 1677)

William Drummond was the governor of Albemarle County in the Province of Carolina (1664–1667) and a participant in Bacon’s Rebellion (1676–1677). Sheriff of James City County, bailiff of the Quarter Court, and the sergeant-at-arms of the General Assembly, Drummond also was a large landholder, leasing acres from Virginia governor Sir William Berkeley , with whom he had a contentious relationship. As governor of Albemarle County, he unsuccessfully negotiated with Virginia and Maryland to reduce the production of tobacco , and during the Third Anglo-Dutch War (1672–1674) was arrested at least twice for doing poor work on a contract to build a fort at Jamestown . In the summer of 1676, he supported Nathaniel Bacon in his rebellion against Governor Berkeley and refused to give up even after Bacon’s sudden death. He and a fellow rebel were captured in the Chickahominy Swamp and, on January 20, 1677, tried, convicted, and hanged.

Drummond was born in Scotland. Although the names of his parents are not known, he probably came from a mercantile family. He received an education that allowed him to engage in the tobacco trade with Virginia. Drummond arrived in the colony probably late in the 1630s and perhaps in the employment of Theodore Moyses, a James City County tobacco planter, or Stephen Webb. It is possible that more than one person named William Drummond or Drummer was in Virginia at that time, and it is not at all certain that he was the William Drummer who in October 1640 was sentenced to be whipped and to serve his employer or master an extra year for taking part in a conspiracy. Some of Drummond’s contemporaries in Virginia described him as being a sober man of good reputation. Early in the 1650s he married a woman named Sarah whose maiden name is not known. They had two sons, two daughters, and at least one other child.

Drummond leased twenty-five acres of land in James City County, called the governor’s land, from Sir William Berkeley in the autumn of 1648. He sued the governor in June 1666 in a dispute about the terms, but five years later the General Court granted his petition for ninety-nine-year leases on the land, and he leased an additional 200 acres there soon after that. Drummond also acquired more than 1,200 acres of land elsewhere in the county, a plantation and mills in Charles City County, and 4,750 acres in Westmoreland County, which he later abandoned. He had business dealings as far away as Boston. Drummond was probably a member of the James City County Court by 1658 when he was county sheriff, a position that also made him the bailiff of the Quarter Court and the sergeant-at-arms of the General Assembly. The 1677 inventory of his estate indicated that he then owned three slaves.

Late in 1664 Berkeley appointed Drummond the first governor of the colony on Albemarle Sound (later North Carolina). Drummond worked with the assembly to establish the new government and to settle the boundary between the county and Virginia. He acquired land there for himself, but he spent much of his time in Virginia. In July 1666 he was in Jamestown to negotiate with the governments of Virginia and Maryland for a suspension in tobacco cultivation. The plan to reduce production and thereby raise the prices planters received failed after Maryland refused to cooperate. Drummond’s biggest problem as governor was the proprietors’ policy of requiring people who patented land to live on it in order to retain ownership, and he complained that Berkeley and the other proprietors obstructed his work. In October 1667 Drummond yielded the office to Samuel Stephens, probably after completing a three-year appointment. (Stephens was then married to Frances Culpeper , the future wife of Governor Berkeley.)

In 1672 Drummond contracted to erect a fort at Jamestown during the Third Anglo-Dutch War, but he clashed with Berkeley over the work and was arrested at least twice for not completing the fort on schedule and for using inferior building materials. Drummond’s poor performance and the danger in which it placed the colony sealed Berkeley’s dislike for him. It is not recorded whether personal animosity or differences about public policy led Drummond to support Nathaniel Bacon in opposition to Berkeley during the rebellion of 1676. At the meeting of the General Assembly in June of that year, Berkeley warned the members against the influence of Drummond and of Richard Lawrence, and in August at Middle Plantation, Drummond urged Bacon’s followers to depose the governor and replace him with Lieutenant Governor Sir Henry Chicheley . When Bacon’s men burned Jamestown in the autumn, Drummond demonstrated his commitment by setting fire to his own house. His whereabouts during much of the rest of the rebellion are unrecorded, but men in Westmoreland County later stated that he had preserved the county’s records, which were in danger of being destroyed. Deeply engaged in the rebellion, Drummond continued to resist the governor’s forces for two and a half months after Bacon’s death in October. Berkeley may have hated Drummond more than any other rebel and said as much as least once.

Officers and men from the warship Young Prince captured Drummond and Lawrence, hungry and cold, in the Chickahomony Swamp on January 14, 1677. Five days later when Drummond was presented to Berkeley, the angry governor reportedly greeted him with a bow and the sarcastic words, “Mr. Drumond! you are very welcome, I am more Glad to See you, than any man in Virginia, Mr. Drumond you shall be hang’d in half an hour.” The next day Drummond refused a horse and walked in irons from King’s Creek on the York River to Middle Plantation. There, on January 20, 1677, the governor and Council tried and convicted him of treason. William Drummond was hanged a few hours later. The place of his burial, if any, was not recorded.

Berkeley confiscated Drummond’s estate, but Sarah Drummond later entered into protracted litigation and eventually recovered the property. Lake Drummond in the Dismal Swamp was probably named for William Drummond, although references to the lake by that name do not predate the middle of the eighteenth century.


My Genealogy Hound

An historic photo view of the ruins of the Old Church Tower, at Jamestown, Virginia. Built in 1639, the ruins of this historic church are the oldest and only remaining original structure remaining from the 1600's of the original Jamestown Settlement. This photo is by photographer William Henry Jackson, Detroit Publishing Co., 1902. Additional views of the old Jamestown Church and its history are below.

Another photo view of the Old Church Tower, at Jamestown, Virginia. The signs on the tree at left read: "Warning - The Constable in charge of these grounds has authority to arrest all depredators upon the property of the A. P. V. A." "Notice - Persons are prohibited under penalty of the law from disturbing, injuring or carring off anything on this property. Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities." Note the cross at the far right in the adjoining cemetery.

A vintage postcard view of the Church Tower ruins, Jamestown, Virginia picturing the Visiting Congressional Committee Appointed to Arrange for the Tricentenary Celebration of the Settlement of Virginia which would be held in 1907.

A vintage postcard view of Visitors at old Church ruins, Jamestown, Virginia This large group of mostly women is likely representatives of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America which built the last and current church at this location in 1906, dedicated in 1907 on the 300th Anniversary of the founding of Jamestown.

A vintage postcard view of the old Jamestown Church Tower ruins with the newly built (1907) Church adjoining at the rear. This view is from about 1915-1920.

A 1930 view of the old Church Tower (1639) and new Church building (1906). This view is somewhat similar to the postcard shown above. This photo is by Frances Benjamin Johnston.

A side view of the new Jamestown church building built in 1906. The old church tower can be seen at the upper left. This photo is by Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1930.

A back view of the new church building built in 1906. Note the tombstones on the ground next to the church building. This photo is by Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1930.

A total of six Jamestown church buildings have occupied this location. They are as follows:

First church: Built upon the founding of Jamestown in 1607, this building burned in January, 1608.

Second church: Built soon after the first church burned. In this church, Pocahontas and John Rolfe were married.

Third Church: Built in 1617-1619. The original foundations of this church can be viewed under glass panels in the floor of the current (sixth) church building.

Fourth church: Built in 1639, the tower ruins were a part of this church building and the only part of the building still in existence. This church building was burned during Bacon's Rebellion, September 19, 1676. Bricks from the church building were used to build the cemetery wall.

Fifth church: Built about 1678, this church building was used until the 1750's when it was abandoned for a church building at a nearby location.

Sixth church: This building was built in 1906 by the National Society of Colonial Dames of America and was dedicated in 1907 in celebration of the 300th Anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia. This building sits next to the remains of the 1639 church tower ruins. This church is now open to the public.

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Bacon Rebellion In 1676 Facts And Summary

Bacon’s Rebellion was probably about the most puzzling but intriguing chapters in Jamestown’s history. For many years, historians considered the Virginia Rebellion of 1676 to be the first stirring of revolutionary sentiment in America, which culminated within the American Revolution just about specifically 100 years later. However, in the past couple of decades, based on findings from a a lot more distant viewpoint, historians have come to figure out Bacon’s Rebellion as a power struggle between two stubborn, selfish leaders instead of a glorious fight against tyranny.

The central figures in Bacon’s Rebellion had been opposites. Governor Sir William Berkeley, seventy when the crisis began, was a veteran of the English Civil Wars, a frontier Indian fighter, a King’s preferred in his initial term as Governor within the 1640’s, plus a playwright and scholar. His name and reputation as Governor of Virginia were nicely trustworthy. Berkeley’s antagonist, young Nathaniel Bacon, Jr., was essentially Berkeley’s cousin by marriage. Lady Berkeley, Frances Culpeper, was Bacon’s cousin. Bacon was a troublemaker and schemer whose father sent him to Virginia in the hope that he would mature. Though disdainful of labor, Bacon was intelligent and eloquent. Upon Bacon’s arrival, Berkeley treated his young cousin with respect and friendship, giving him both a substantial land grant and a seat on the council in 1675.

Bacon’s Rebellion may be attributed to a vast amount of causes, all of which led to dissent in the Virginia colony. Economic troubles, like declining tobacco costs, growing commercial competition from Maryland along with the Carolinas, an increasingly restricted English marketplace, as well as the rising costs from English manufactured goods (mercantilism) triggered problems for the Virginians. There were heavy English losses in the most recent series of naval wars using the Dutch and, nearer to residence, there had been that many problems a consequence of weather. Hailstorms, floods, dry spells, and hurricanes rocked the colony all in the middle of a year and had a damaging effect on the colonists. These difficulties encouraged the colonists to find a scapegoat against whom they could vent their frustrations and position the blame for their misfortunes.

The colonists found their scapegoat in the form of the local Indians. The trouble began in July 1675 having a raid by the Doeg Indians on the plantation of Thomas Mathews, located in the Northern Neck section of Virginia near the Potomac River. A number of of the Doegs were killed in the raid, which began in a dispute over the nonpayment of some items Mathews had apparently obtained from the tribe. The position became vital when, in a retaliatory strike by the colonists, they attacked the wrong Indians, the Susquehanaugs, which triggered massive scale Indian raids to begin.

To stave off future attacks and to bring the circumstance under control, Governor Berkeley ordered an investigation into the matter. He set up what was to be a disastrous meeting in between the parties, which lead to the murders of numerous tribal chiefs. Throughout the crisis, Berkeley continually pleaded for restraint from the colonists. Some, including Bacon, refused to listen. Nathaniel Bacon disregarded the Governor’s direct orders by seizing some friendly Appomattox Indians for "allegedly" stealing corn. Berkeley reprimanded him, which caused the disgruntled Virginians to wonder which man had taken the right action. It was here the battle lines had been about to be drawn.

A distant problem was Berkeley’s attempt to find a compromise. Berkeley’s policy was to preserve the friendship and loyalty of the subject Indians while assuring the settlers that they weren’t hostile. To meet his initially objective, the Governor relieved the nearby Indians of their powder and ammunition. To deal with the second objective, Berkeley called the "Long Assembly" in March 1676. Despite being judged corrupt, the assembly declared war on all "bad" Indians and set up a strong defensive zone around Virginia with a precise hierarchy. The Indian wars which resulted from this directive led to the high taxes to pay the army and to the general discontent within the colony for needing to shoulder that burden.

After Bacon drove the Pamunkeys from their nearby lands in his initially action, Berkeley exercised one of the few situations of manage more than the situation that he was to have, by riding to Bacon’s headquarters at Henrico with 300 "nicely armed" gentlemen. Upon Berkeley’s arrival, Bacon fled into the forest with 200 men on the lookout for a location extra to his liking for a meeting. Berkeley then issued two petitions declaring Bacon a rebel and pardoning Bacon’s men if they went property peacefully. Bacon would then be relieved of the council seat that he had won for his actions that year, but he was to be given a fair trial for his disobedience.

Bacon refused. Berkeley granted Bacon’s previous volunteer commission but Bacon refused it and demanded that he be made General of all forces against the Indians, which Berkeley emphatically refused and walked away. Tensions ran high as the screaming Bacon and his men surrounded the statehouse, threatening to shoot various onlooking Burgesses if Bacon was not given his commission. Finally after many agonizing moments, Berkeley gave in to Bacon’s demands for campaigns against the Indians without government interference. With Berkeley’s authority in shambles, Bacon’s brief tenure as leader of the rebellion began.

Therefore ended one of the most distinct and complicated chapters in Jamestown’s history. Could it have been stopped or was it time for inescapable changes to come about within the colonial governmental structure? Plainly, the laws were no longer effective as far as establishing clear policies to handle challenges or to impregnate new lifeblood into the colony’s economy. The numerous problems that hit the colony prior to the Rebellion gave realization to the character of Nathaniel Bacon. Thanks to the nature of the uprising, Bacon’s Rebellion does seem at the beginning glance to be the beginnings of America’s search for Independence. But closer examination of the facts reveals what it genuinely was: a power struggle between two very secure personalities. Among them they virtually destroyed Jamestown.


Bacon's Rebellion

In the midst of the trouble caused in Virginia by the change of owners, and the increased taxes they imposed, the Indians, who had been quiet for about thirty years, suddenly came back. They said that while they had sold the land to the English, they still had the right to fish and hunt wherever they pleased. A dispute about this question again resulted in a murder, which for history often repeats itself—occasioned another war.

Since Berkeley took no steps to defend them from the savages, who boldly attacked outlying plantations, the Virginians determined to act themselves, and chose Nathaniel Bacon as their leader. But Berkeley declared they were rebels, and hearing that they had started, he would have pursued them, could he have raised troops.

When the Virginian army came home in triumph from the first brush with the Indians, Bacon was called before the governor and tried as a rebel. But the jury promptly acquitted him, to Berkeley's great disgust. The governor waited until war broke out again, and when Bacon was too busy fighting to offer any resistance, he declared him an outlaw. This accusation, added to grievances about the taxes, caused a short civil war in Virginia, during which Jamestown was seized by the rebels, and Berkeley fled.

But the governor returned as soon as Bacon was called away, and prepared to defend himself in Jamestown. Hearing of this, Bacon came back, ready to lay siege to the city. The angry governor ordered out the cannon to shoot the rebels but we are told that Bacon, having captured the wives of Berkeley's men, now put these women in front of his little force, knowing their presence there would prevent any bloodshed.

Thus routed by a "white-apron brigade," Berkeley fled a second time and Bacon, fearing he might return and fortify the city, burned Jamestown to the ground (1676). The first English city built in the United States thus became a heap of ruins, and no trace of it now remains, except a small part of the old church tower and a few gravestones.

Shortly after the burning of Jamestown, Bacon fell ill and died, his followers sadly crying: "Who is there now to plead our cause?" Their helpless grief was so great that Berkeley took advantage of it to return. He then began to punish all those who had taken any part in what is known in history as "Bacon's Rebellion," or the "Great Rebellion "in Virginia.

In fact, Berkeley showed himself so cruel that many of those who had borne arms were condemned to die. Once, when a prisoner whom he particularly hated was brought before him, he angrily cried: "You are very welcome I am more glad to see you than any man in Virginia you shall be hanged in half an hour." This prisoner was executed, and so many others shared his fate that King Charles, hearing how Berkeley abused his power, indignantly cried: "The old fool has taken away more lives in that naked country than I for the murder of my father."


Jamestown Colony

Many European countries were racing to stake a claim in America in the early 17th century. Spain, Portugal, and France had already set plans in motion. England was not far behind, but after their first plan failed, the Jamestown Colony was the first successful English colony in America.

For England’s second attempt, 104 people set sail from England on Dec 6, 1606. Each colony was established for different reasons. The Jamestown colony was funded by the Virginia company, who hoped the new world was a sound investment that would pay off once trade with the natives and farming had been established.

The fleet consisted of three ships: the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery. It was a long journey, and they first landed at Cape Henry.

This is an oak tree planted at Runnymede during the U.S. Bicentennial celebration to commemorate Jamestown, VA, the first U.S. settlement. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons, picture by wyrdlight.com used with permission. We have cropped it so you can read the plaque.

The colonists landed and the first order of business was to open the sealed box sent by the Virginia company. The box contained sealed instructions for leadership in the colony and where they should set up camp. They set sail again to find a better place to set up the colony.

Anointed president by the Virginia company was Edward Maria Winfield. They also included names for a council of leadership: footholomew Gosnold, captain of the ship Christopher Newport, John Martin, John Ratcliffe, George Kendall, and John Smith.

Jamestown was strategically located. It was surrounded by water on three sides, but the water was deep enough to park their ships right off the coast. They could easily see possible attacks from the Spanish, and there were no visible signs of indian populations. The colonists didn’t know (or didn’t care) that they chose to settle down on Powhatan hunting ground.

Captain Winfield selected the land known as Jamestown on May 14. They arrived too late in the year to plant crops, and even if they hadn’t, Jamestown was surrounded by marshy swamps, thick with mosquitos.

Ruins of Jamestown, VA from Robert Sears, A Pictorial Description of the United States. 1854. Public Domain. (burned down in the Civil War)

Among the daily struggles of the colonists was the threat of attack from the Spanish, the enemies of England. A Spanish reconnaissance ship stumbled across the colony at the same time a German ship arrived with supplies. The Germans defected to the Powhatans, even agreeing to join the Spanish in an attack on the colony, and convincing their newfound Powhatan allies to join them.

However, a large English supply ship arrived, much larger than the Spanish expected, and they were frightened off.

The men chosen for this expedition were not explorers. They were gentlemen who could afford the journey. Most knew little of farming, were unskilled, and had no experience with hard work. They had been ordered to trade with the natives for food and spend their time searching for precious metals. In spite of this, the triangle-shaped fort was completed June 15, 1607. It had tall defensive walls. Days after it was complete, council member and captain Christopher Newport sailed back to England for more supplies. Because they couldn’t farm, food would be needed soon.

We know now that mosquitos cause malaria, but the colonists didn’t. They soon were struck with a variety of illnesses they couldn’t account for: swelling, flux, and fever. Furthermore, they had mixed relations with the indians, who tried to relocate them off of their hunting ground. But Chief Powhatan sent gifts of food, which helped get them through until supply ships arrived.

The supply ships also brought craftsmen, and soon manufactured goods were being created to send back to the Virginia Company, which was increasingly frustrated at the lack of product. They demanded the colonists repay the cost of the voyage. John Smith wrote back insisting that if they wanted results, they needed to send craftsmen and laborers.

Pocahontas

Pocahontas’ (Lady Rebecca Rolfe) official portrait

We’ve reached the point in the narrative we need to address the myths of John Smith and Pocahontas.

Disney’s tale, while based on fact, is a work of fiction. The Disney version of Pocahontas was a marriage of frontier film and Romeo and Juliet.

In truth, Pocahontas was the nickname of Matoaka, the daughter of Powhatan chief Wahunsenaca. Born about 1596, her nickname indicates she was playful and curious. Custom indicates she would have lived with her mother in different village than her father. She had many half-siblings. History doesn’t know anything about Pocahontas’ mother, but some historians have suspected she died when Pocahontas was very young, and she lived with her father instead.

Most women learned the skills necessary to survive and keep a family and contribute to the tribe (farming, building, cooking, etc.) by around 13. She was around 11 when the colonists landed.

Her first encounter with the colonists was when her uncle Opechancanough captured John Smith while he was exploring. Smith was brought before Chief Powhatan.

John Smith is not the most reliable of narrators. His tall tales were questioned even in his own lifetime. However, his is the only eyewitness account of his capture. According to Smith, two large stones were placed on the ground, his head was held on them, and a warrior hefted a massive club to smash his head in when Pocahontas laid her own head on top of his, saving his life.

Most likely, as a child, Pocahontas would never have been present at an adult religious ceremony.

Afterwards, Chief Powhatan told Smith he was part of the tribe. The exact details are unclear, but whatever occurred, Chief Powhatan began sending gifts of food to the colonists and these were usually accompanied by his favorite daughter Matoaka (Pocahontas). She became easily recognized in the colony.

These gifts were soon taken for granted and the colonists began demanding food than the Powhatan had to spare. Relations were strained.

Negotiations between John Smith and Chief Powhatan went poorly, and Chief Powhatan decreed they would no longer trade with the English. He would have killed the negotiating party, according to Smith, if Pocahontas had not warned him.

Smith was injured in a gunpowder explosion, and he returned to England for treatment. Pocahontas and her father were told he had died.

In 1610, Pocahontas married Kocoum. He was not a chief, which probably means that they married for love.

Three years later, an English captain Samuel Argall hatched a plot to kidnap Pocahontas and hold her for ransom for the return of stolen weapons and English prisoners. She was taken to an English settlement Henrico where she learned the English language and customs. Her father agreed to most of the demands to get negotiations off the ground.

Kidnapping was not unheard of. It happened between tribes. According to sacred oral history of the Mattaponi tribe, Pocahontas was submissive, but she and her father both fell into a deep depression on being separated. She suffered a nervous breakdown and her sister was sent for to care for her. Mattoponi history says she was attacked and her sister helped take care of her during her resulting pregnancy.

During her captivity, Pocahontas met John Rolfe. Here, the recorded account and the oral history diverge. Either the two fell in love, or she was a captive who was trying to create peace between her people, and she already had given birth to a half-white child. In some accounts, Pocahontas divorced Kocoum (The Indians apparently were so used to tribes kidnapping one another, they had a “divorce by capture” law. If the husband did not recapture a stolen wife, she was considered unmarried.) In another, he was killed when she was kidnapped. Her father consented to the marriage, probably because he was afraid of what would happen to her if he said no. She was baptized “Rebecca” in 1614 and married John Rolfe, which led to peace between their two cultures.

John, “Rebecca”, and their son Thomas along with a convoy of Powhatan traveled to England under the invitation of the Virginia company, who hoped this proved the venture was worthwhile and would invite investors. She saw the King and Queen and was reacquainted with John Smith.

While in England in 1617, Pocahontas died of a mysterious illness shortly after dining with Captain Argall, her original captor. She was about 21. Her son remained in England, but John Rolfe returned to Virginia to tell her father. The Powhatan who had traveled with Pocahontas told her father she had been in good health up until she died, and they suspected poison. Her father sank into depression again, and died within the year. The peace that Pocahontas had bought ended.

When John Smith returned to England following an injury, relations with the Powhantan were strained. Furthermore, even more settlers who came to help were shipwrecked and stranded, leaving more mouths to feed.

The Starving Time

The winter of 09-10 – Is known as the Starving Time. Because of the bad relationship with the Powhatan, people were afraid to leave the fort. They had been low on supplies ever since the trade with the Powhatan ceased. They first ate their supplies, then their stock animals. Eventually they were forced to eat their pets, and before the winter was out, they were eating rats, and even shoe leather. It has recently been discovered that conditions were so bad, that the people ate their fallen companions who succumbed to the cold and starvation.

Only 60 people survived the winter. That spring, stranded shipwreck survivors in Bermuda arrived. Sir Thomas Gates the replacement governor, found Jamestown dangerously low on any supplies and made the decision to abandon Jamestown. However, once they were gone, they encountered a messenger with news of an incoming fleet and a new governor, so they reluctantly returned.

The shipwreck carried one John Rolfe, who had seeds for a new strain of tobacco from Spain. Unlike the common tobacco, this one tasted sweet when it was smoked. He soon organized the plants into a profitable crop, which was exactly what the Virginia company was looking for in the colony.

Tobacco was a profitable crop, but it was also the beginning of a moral decay in America that wouldn’t end until the 1800’s. The new farming venture required workers, and so tobacco crops mark the first documented slavery in the United States in 1619. Intending to make Jamestown a flourishing city, the Virginia Company sent a shipload of women over to become wives and mothers.

Peace with the Powhatan Ends

The tenuous peace with the Powhatan tribe broke when Pocahontas’ father died. His successor, his brother Opechancanough, may have blamed his and Pocahontas’ death on the English. He organized an attack on the settlement. However, they received warning, and many survived, but it was a significant blow.

In the midst of the constant fight for their lives, the Virginia company’s charter was revoked, passing the colony into the hands of the monarchy. The Jamestown Colony would remain a Royal colony until the Revolutionary War, more than 100 years later.

Two years after the first indian attack, there was another with devastating consequences. Another 400 settlers died, and Opechancanough was captured and shot (against orders), ending the fighting. His successor signed a treaty with the colonists, making his tribe of Powhatans indians subjects of the English.

Bacon’s Rebellion

This peace with the native Americans lasted about 30 years. The tobacco cash crop was pretty successful, and the colonists began to resent the fact that it could only be sold to the English. The restrictive trade meant the English had full control of the price being paid for it under the Navigation Acts. Furthermore, several indian tribes who had not sworn loyalty to the king were continually attacking outlying farms.

As tends to be the case in history, people were upset and didn’t differentiate between friendly tribes and non-friendly tribes and instead began to spread angry rhetoric against “the Indian problem.”

One particularly charismatic farmer Nathaniel Bacon gathered together 1000 men to help him take care of “the problem.” He convinced the colony’s leader Governor Berkeley to grant him permission to attack the indians who were burning their outer farms, but once he had his permission, he attacked without discrimination.

Governor Berkeley denounced Bacon as a rebel, and high tensions split the colony into civil war. Bacon and his men set fire to the colony, destroying 20 buildings before Nathaniel Bacon died of the bloody flux. Without their leader, his movement disintegrated and many were captured and hanged.

A second treaty was signed, by even more tribes than the first, requiring annual tributes from the indians to the English.

Moving to Williamsburg

Jamestown ceased to be the capitol of the colony when another fire swept the city. In 1699, the government buildings were transferred to Williamsburg. Williamsburg and Jamestown are both historic sites and visitors today can see what life was like for the colonists.


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