AP US History
Linkage Activity About Virginia and Bacon's Rebellion
During the 17th century, the colony of Virginia was founded by the London Company in the hopes of finding gold to mine as the Spanish had in South America. Instead of finding gold, they discovered that they could cultivate tobacco in Virginia, a plant native to the New World that was addictive, and sell it for very large profits back in the Old World. This discovery led to a need for more labor, as the act of growing tobacco is very labor-intensive, which in turn led to many rich colonists using indentured servitude to satisfy their labor needs. Indentured servitude in Virginia involved paying to send Europeans to Virginia to work for a certain number of years with no pay, and when their term was up they would be free men, however even while being indentured servants they were able to bear arms should the need arise to defend the colony. As more and more indentured servants were shipped to Virginia, some even being Africans, and the number of this landless class grew, tensions began to arise between the wealthy plantation owners and the discontent indentured servants until finally, in 1676 Bacon's Rebellion erupted with hundreds of previously indentured servants taking up arms against the wealthy class in an effort to free themselves from their contracts, however they failed after their leader Nathaniel Bacon died and British soldiers arrived to quell them. After this rebellion, the wealthy plantation owners knew that having a class of white servants who could also bear arms could lead to further rebellions, and thus decided to turn to slavery, and especially the enslavement of Africans, as Africans did not have the right to bear arms and were thus much less of a threat to the wealthy class, which caused the rise of slavery in the Virginia colony and the shipment of Africans to the New World.