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Smith, John, 1580 - 1631

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English soldier and colonist. Smith established the first English colony in North America, at Jamestown (1607). Exploring Chesapeake Bay, he was captured by Powhatan and possibly saved by his daughter, Pocahontas. In 1608, Smith saved the colony from starvation by obtaining maize from the local people. He returned to England in 1609, later writing his Description of New England (1616).

Summary Article: SMITH, JOHN from Encyclopedia of U.S. Political History
1580-1631 Explorer, Governor of Virginia, and Author John Smith was a central figure in establishing Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English colony in North America. His greatest influence, however, was as a writer of promotional literature about colonization and a wildly adventurous, albeit bewildering, autobiography. Many believe these works endorsed profoundly American ideals like the virtues of work, self-control, and the social elevation of individuals based on their merit and experience rather than because of their ancestry. Early Adventures John Smith was born in 1580 in the town of Willoughby in Lincolnshire, England. As a child, he was inspired by the adventures of the great Elizabethan seadogs, but unlike most of them, he was a self-made man. This upbringing profoundly influenced how he envisioned successful colonization, an undertaking in which skill and experience were more importan...    Continue Reading

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