John Smith


Born: c. Jan 1580
Died: Jun 21, 1631 (at age 51)
Nationality: British
Occupation: Soldier, explorer, author
Famous For: Settlement of Jamestown in the New World

John Smith was a famous English soldier, author and explorer. He was knighted due to his great services to the Prince of Transylvania. He is believed to have had a very important role in establishing the Early English settlement in northeastern America. He was the leader of the Virginia colony and also led explorations of Chesapeake Bay and Virginia.

Early Life and Adventure

Smith was born in January, 1580. He attended King Edward VI Grammar School between 1592 and 1595. He set off to the sea at the young age of 16 just after his father’s death. He served as a mercenary in France’s army against the Spaniards. He also fought for the Dutch Independence before he left for the Mediterranean Sea.

At the Mediterranean Sea, he got involved with trade and piracy. He fought against the Ottoman Turks in the Long War. He is believed to have defeated and beheaded several Turkish commanders in 3 duels. This was the reason he was knighted by the Transylvanian Prince and also given a horse and a coat of arms that showed three Turks’ heads.

Life in Jamestown

In 1606, Captain John Smith got involved with the Virginia Company of London. They planned to colonize Virginia region for a profit. They decided to set sail in 3 small ships. On April 1607, the English finally arrived at Jamestown. Four months later the food sources became insufficient and the swampy conditions brought many diseases. By September over 60 people had died.

Later, in 1609, life in Jamestown became better for a period of 3 months. However, in April, a severe infestation of rats was discovered; this destroyed all the stored corn. This made it very difficult for Smith and his group to get food. In May of 1609, close to 500 more colonists were sent to the settlement. Yet, many of the colonist continued to die from different illnesses. Only about 150 of the 500 survived winter. The Virginia Company continued to give financial assistance and transport more settlers in order to sustain Jamestown.

Exploration the Chesapeake Bay

In 1608, during summer, Smith left Jamestown and went to explore Chesapeake Bay and search for food. He covered around 3,000 miles. Later on in September 1608, John Smith was elected the president of a local council. He later suffered a severe knee injury and had to go back to England.

New England

In 1614, John Smith went back to Americas and voyaged to the coasts of Maine and the Massachusetts Bay. He later named this region, “New England.” He tried to go back to the coast two more times in 1614 and 1615, but he was unsuccessful. He later published an actual account of his two voyages.

Last Years and Death

After publishing the account of his two voyages, Smith remained in England and never left again. He later died in 1631 in London at the age of 51.