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Virginia at the end of the 17th century


Forest in Virginia
Forest in Virginia

Charles’s colonial policy, however, soon generated grievances in Virginia. He strictly enforced the Navigation Acts, which restricted colonial trade exclusively to England. This severely limited the tobacco market, particularly affecting the small farmers in Virginia. In addition, Governor Sir William Berkeley failed to call elections from 1661 to 1676, thus keeping a small privileged group of older families in power without popular support.

In 1676 Berkeley refused to raise a militia in response to rumors that Native Americans were about to attack the frontier settlements again. The farmers organized their own militia under the leadership of Councilor Nathaniel Bacon. In June 1676 the farmers’ long-seething discontent erupted in Bacon’s Rebellion. Bacon and his followers deposed Berkeley, who was forced to flee, and burned Jamestown to the ground. The rebellion collapsed when Bacon died unexpectedly of fever. Berkeley returned to power and hanged many of Bacon’s followers without trial. Berkeley was succeeded by a number of governors who staunchly supported royal policies. "Virginia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.

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