Nathaniel "Nat" Turner (October 2, 1800 – November 11, 1831) was an American slave who led a slave rebellion in Virginia on August 21, 1831 that resulted in 56 white deaths and over 55 black deaths, the largest number of fatalities to occur in one uprising prior to the American Civil War in the southern United States. He gathered supporters in Southampton County, Virginia. Turner was convicted, sentenced to death, and executed. In the aftermath, the state executed 56 blacks accused of being part of Turner's slave rebellion. Two hundred blacks were also beaten and killed by white militias and mobs reacting with violence. Across Virginia and other southern states, state legislators passed new laws prohibiting education of slaves and free blacks, restricting rights of assembly and other civil rights for free blacks, and requiring white ministers to be present at black worship services.
At birth, Turner's master recorded only his given name, Nat, although he may have had a last name within the slave community. In accordance with common practice, the whites referred to him by the last name of his owner, Samuel Turner. This practice was continued by historians. Turner knew little about his father's background, who was believed to have escaped from slavery when Turner was a young boy. Turner remained close to his paternal grandmother, Old Bridget, who was also enslaved by Samuel Turner. Turner's maternal grandmother was one of the Coromantee from present day Ghana, a group known for slave revolts. She was captured in Africa at thirteen years of age and shipped to America.
Turner spent his life in Southampton County, Virginia, a predominantly black area. After the rebellion, a reward notice described Turner as: