Who was Sir William Berkeley? (1606 A.D – 1677 A.D)


Sir William Berkeley (1606 A.D – 1677 A.D), English colonial governor, born in Bruton, Somersetshire, and educated at the University of Oxford. He sponsored trading ventures in Canada in the 1630 A.D and was appointed governor of the colony of Virginia in 1641 A.D. During the civil wars in England, Berkeley kept Virginia loyal to the king until 1651 A.D, when the English Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell sent a fleet to depose him.

Although He and his followers were forced to acknowledge Cromwell’s rule, and He was removed as governor, he remained in the colony. At the Restoration in 1660 A.D he was chosen governor by the Virginia General Assembly, receiving his commission for the office from King Charles II. Berkeley soon lost favor with the people because of his arbitrary policy, his obstinacy, and his persistent refusal to furnish protection against the Native Americans.

A rebellion against Berkeley led by Nathaniel Bacon failed only because of Bacon’s sudden death (see Bacon’s Rebellion). A royal commission condemned Berkeley’s policy, and he was forced to return to England in 1676 A.D. He wrote A Discourse and View of Virginia (1663 A.D) and a drama, The Lost Lady (1638 A.D).

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