Nathaniel Bacon was born in Suffolk, England on 2 January 1647. A dispute with his wife's family persuaded him to emigrate to North America. With the financial support of his father, he purchased two estates along the James River in Virginia.
William Berkeley appointed Bacon to his governing council but the two men soon fell out about the development of the colony. Berkeley favoured a policy of containment, whereas Bacon wanted to expand into areas controlled by Native Americans.
In 1676 Bacon organized his own expedition. Fearing a large-scale war with Native Americans, Berkeley turned his forces against Bacon and his men. Bacon captured Jamestown and William Berkeley was forced to flee to the Eastern Shore. However, Nathaniel Bacon died of fever in October, 1676, and without his leadership, the rebellion quickly collapsed.