In February 1831, a solar eclipse caused the skies to darken over the isolated backwater of Southampton County, Virginia. An enslaved man and self-proclaimed prophet named Nat Turner saw it as a sign from God that it was time to rise up against slavery.
In the early morning hours of August 22, 1831, Turner and a small group of fellow slaves emerged from the woods armed with axes. They marched on the farm of Turner’s owner, where they struck the first fatal blows of their revolt. Over the next 48 hours, the rebels roved from farm to farm, killing dozens and sowing panic throughout the white community.
Nat Turner’s Rebellion was the bloodiest slave revolt in American history. It sparked widespread hysteria and deadly reprisals, further propelling the nation down the path to civil war.
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