Bacon's Rebellion was a short-lived revolt in Virginia. It began in May 1676 when Nathaniel Bacon led a small army of his fellow colonists in battle against the royal governor, Sir William Berkeley, and the Indians on the frontier. The participants in the rebellion were motivated by a variety of concerns, but its major cause was the belligerent nature of Bacon.
Nathaniel Bacon, often characterized as a troublemaker, was actually Berkeley's cousin by marriage. Bacon was sent to Virginia by his father in hopes that Nathaniel would mature. Berkeley treated Bacon with care, giving him both a land grant and a seat on the council in 1675, when he arrived. Bacon returned the favor to Berkeley by continually opposing him. When trouble struck with the Indians, Berkeley asked the colonists to step back. Not too long after, Bacon apprehended some friendly Appomattox Indians for stealing corn, which was strictly against the Governor's orders.
Bacon began to get more rebellious when Berkeley did not make him a leader in the local militia. Taking matters into his own hands, a group of local Indians and him (in command) began an army. Together, they drove the Pamunkeys from their lands. Berkeley then distributed two petitions. They simply stated that Bacon's men would be pardoned if they went home peacefully and that Bacon would lose his council seat. Bacon, once again, did not listen; instead he attacked the camp of the Occaneechee Indians and took their store.
As tensions were rising, Berkeley then stated that Bacon would be pardoned if he turned himself in. But, Bacon did not listen, and eventually was captured and was told (by the House of Burgesses) to apologize for his actions. Bacon did so, and then returned with his forces. They surrounded the statehouse and Bacon demanded that he be made General of the Indian armies. Since Bacon and his men threatened to shoot, Berkeley reluctantly gave into his demand.