In the early 1670s, settler encroachment into Indian territory on Virginia’s western borders had created an escalating cycle of retaliation and reprisal. The colony’s governor, William Berkeley, advocated containment by building a line of fortifications. The settlers, led by Nathaniel Bacon, saw this as a block to their westward expansion and an excuse for additional taxes. Despite some concessions by the governing House of Burgesses, in July 1676 discontent spiraled into open rebellion. At the head of a makeshift army comprised of settlers, indentured servants and slaves, Bacon marched on the colonial capital Jamestown and burned it to the ground. Shortly afterwards, Bacon died of dysentery, and a naval squadron quickly crushed the remainder of the rebellion. Berkeley was recalled to England shortly afterwards. Noting the teaming up of servants and slaves in the rebellion, the authorities introduced the 1705 Virginia Slave Codes, to tighten the conditions of servitude.
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