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Indian Uprising

Consequences Background and Course of war

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The Indian Uprising in Virginia is a confrontation that occurred in 1622 between the Powhatan Confederation of native Indian tribes in Virginia and their colonial masters, the English under the Virginia Company. Relationship between the two parties soured as a result of the threats posed by the settlers to the native’s lands and food supplies. The settlers carved land into tobacco plantations and ruined the Indians hunting grounds by driving away game. The Powhatans’ centuries-old way of life was threatened for destruction by the settlers hence they had to act.

After the demise of the friendly Chief Powhatan in 1617, the more aggressive Chief Opechancanough came to power and ordered the assault on the Virginia settlements on March 22, 1622. It was a surprise attack on the English; with the warriors using the settlers own hammers and hatchets. The Indians burned down houses, killed livestock and scattered property. Nearly a third (about 350 people) of the settler population was killed in the attacks Jamestown, the capital, was fortunate to escape as they alerted by an Indian informant (Fredrick, 2006).

On the other hand, the Bacon’s rebellion in 1675 was an uprising in the colony of Virginia pitting small farmers and frontier men led by Nathaniel Bacon against Virginia governor William Berkeley. The governor was unpopular to the settlers due to several reasons including restriction on right to vote, high taxes and low tobacco prices. However, the main reason for the uprising was the governor’s friendly policies towards the native Indians, especially his refusal to retaliate for a series of Indian attacks on the settlements. The Bacon’s rebellion started after Indians killed a laborer on Nathaniel Bacon’s plantation. He led a band of men in a series of attacks against both friendly and hostile tribes. He then led the men to the capital, Jamestown, and demanded that Governor Berkeley give him commission to clear Indians from their reservations to which Berkeley refused. Bacon issued a Declaration of the people and led his men to destroy the capital and force Berkeley out (Monica, 2004).

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After the Indian uprisings, the Virginia Company administration came to an end. The colony was left in total disarray and the company itself declared bankrupt. In 1624, Virginia was put under the royal government colonial administration and remained so until its independence. Nearly 350 people were killed, livestock slaughtered and crops burned. Warfare then continued without decisive victories on either side. The settlers gave up on coexistence with the Indians and embarked on extermination, forcing them out of their lands. Another resistance flared again in 1644 in which more than 400 settlers were killed.

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Bacon’s rebellion saw him take charge of the General Assembly and pass several liberal laws alongside attacking innocent native tribes. He then went to the capital and forced Governor Berkeley to flee to farther plantations. Important plantations including the capital Jamestown were burned to the ground causing economic strife. The death of Bacon during the rebellion and without his leadership his forces dissolved. Most of the liberal laws passed by Bacon were repealed, with Berkeley responding harshly by hanging nearly two-thirds of the rebels and seizing their plantations. He was later recalled to England (Billings, 2006).

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