Bacon's Rebellion

Living history Interpreters portraying Nathaniel Bacon's Troops ready to burn Jamestown
Living History Interpreters portraying Nathaniel Bacon's Troops ready to burn Jamestown

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It was a time of strife, distrust and anger, forcing some to stand up and challenge royal authority. These difficult times led many to rally around one individual, Nathaniel Bacon, to take up arms and revolt against a perceived tyrant. No, this was not the American Revolution, but Bacon's Rebellion which occurred 100 years before the Declaration of independence.

It was on September 19, 1676 that Nathaniel Bacon drove loyalists under Governor Sir William Berkeley out of Jamestown and proceeded to loot and burn the town. This was the climatic event of the rebellion. Bacon soon thereafter died and the rebellion collapsed.

Some of the most important events of the rebellion happened at Jamestown, and the conflict itself destroyed most of the city. Bacon's Rebellion was one of the largest and most violent events in the colony's first century. It forever changed the political, economic, and social climate of Virginia.

Living History Interpreter Dick Cheatum portraying Burgess Thomas Matthew
Living History Interpreter Willie Balderson portraying one of the eyewitnesses to the Rebellion.

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Witness history as the events of 1676 unfold and decide to become a rebel or loyalist as we commemorate the 337th anniversary of Bacon's Rebellion.

During the day, three special programs will feature Governor Sir William Berkeley recounting the events of the rebellion from his perspective. In the evening, during a walking tour , the details of this dramatic event will unfold as visitors experience the conflict through the "eyewitness" accounts of Thomas Matthew, a Burgess in 1676, a slave who joined Bacon during the rebellion and Mrs Sarah Drummond who's husband was hung by the Governor following the rebellion. The hour-long program will include a tour through the ruins of the town and controlled fires will recreate the burning of Jamestown as it occurred on September 19, 1676. Stand before the foundation ruins of Jamestown as symbolic flames once again rise over the city.

Living history character protraying Governor Sir William Berkeley
Living History character protraying Royal Governor Sir William Berkeley

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Come, walk back in time as we explore the tumultuous events of 1676 and Bacon's Rebellion.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

10:00 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. -
Throughout the day Park Ranger historical tours will begin at the Tercentennial Monument.

11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. - Preservation Virginia will provide Archaeological tours of the original rediscovered site of James Fort beginning at the Tercentennial Monument.

11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. - William Berkeley, governor of Virginia recounts events of Bacon's Rebellion at Jamestown's Memorial Church.

7:00 p.m. - Join with Thomas Matthew, a Burgess in 1676 as he presents an eyewitness account of the events leading to the 1676 burning of Jamestown. This hour and fifteen minute program begins at the Jamestown Tercentennial Monument and concludes with a symbolic burning of Jamestown. In case of inclement weather a modified program will be conducted in the Visitor Center theater.

Park entrance fees apply and will be collected at the Visitor Center until 7:00 p.m. Entrance fees are $14.00 per adult with children 15 and under free. Your receipt will be good for seven consecutive days both at Historic Jamestowne and Yorktown Battlefield.

It is recommended that if you plan on attending the 7:00 p.m. program you bring a flashlight and insect repellant.

Closed Entrance Gate
Jamestown's closed entrance gates


Entrance gate closes at 7:00 p.m. Exit gate remains open. No entry permitted after entrance gate closes. Jointly sponsored by the National Park Service, Colonial Williamsburg and Preservation Virginia.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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