This exploration and map of the Chesapeake Bay region were some of Captain Smith's greatest accomplishments and enduring legacies. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 7 Apr.
In 1629 he interviewed some Virginia colonists then visiting England and included their statements about conditions in the colony in The True Travels, Adventures, and Observations of Captaine John Smith 1630 , a portion of which is a continuation of The Generall Historie. On one such expedition in December he was captured by a large Powhatan hunting party and led on a long trek to various Powhatan villages, ultimately being brought before the paramount chief of the Powhatan people, Wahunsenacawh, better known as Chief Powhatan.
Round House, 2001. Captured by the enemy the following year and taken to Turkey, he escaped to Russia and returned to England in 1604 or 1605. By the end of the month, half of Jamestown's 104 men and boys are dead, mostly from sickness.
But it also left the Englishmen vulnerable to disease and to Indians , who were experiencing a food crisis due to the drought conditions. But during the trip, Smith was allegedly accused of mutiny and almost hanged.
Smith met Pochantas again after she traveled to England in 1616 with husband John Rolfe and son Thomas. In January 1609, Powhatan even tried to have Smith killed. He published more books that detailed his time abroad, pushing for imperialism and the colonization of New England.
Living in a shelter he built of tree branches, John learned how to live off the land, and he read books about the rules of war and politics. Jamestown Narratives: Born in 1579 or 1580 in Lincolnshire, England, John Smith eventually made his way to America to help govern the British colony of Jamestown. NPS Image.
His writings include detailed descriptions of Virginia and New England, books on seamanship, and a history of English colonization. Smith ventured into the Chesapeake Bay twice more in 1608, charged by the Virginia Company of London to search for gold and a passage to the Pacific Ocean.
The first months of Jamestown's existence were very difficult due to food shortages, unhealthy drinking water, disease, occasional skirmishing with the Powhatan Indians, and ineffectual council leadership due to bickering and the untimely death of Bartholomew Gosnold. Thomas Fuller wrote in a biographical dictionary called The Worthies of England 1661 that "we have two witnesses to attest [to Smith's experiences], the prose and the pictures, both in his own book; and it soundeth much to the diminution of his deeds, that he alone is the herald to publish and proclaim them.
Through the telling of his early life, we can trace the developments of a man who became a dominate force in the eventual success of Jamestown and the establishment of its legacy as the first permanent English settlement in North America. NPS Image Unfortunately, relations were tenuous between the English and the Powhatan Indians as Smith's diplomacy often turned violent taking food and destroying villages.
With his governing tactics called into question, he returned to England in 1609 and became a staunch advocate of colonization via his published works.