John Smith (explorer)

English soldier, explorer, writer (1580–1631)

Captain John Smith (baptized 6 January 1580 – 21 June 1631) Admiral of New England was an English soldier, explorer, and author. He was knighted for his services to Sigismund Bathory, Prince of Transylvania and friend Mózes Székely. He is remembered for his role in establishing the first permanent English settlement in North America at Jamestown, Virginia, and his brief association with the Virginia Indian[1] girl Pocahontas during an altercation with the Powhatan Confederacy and her father, Chief Powhatan. He was a leader of the Virginia Colony (based at Jamestown) between September 1608 and August 1609, and led an exploration along the rivers of Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay.

Captain John Smith, after an early portrait by Simon de Passe, 18th century


  • Heaven & earth never agreed better to frame a place for man's habitation; were it fully manured and inhabited by industrious people. Here are mountaines, hils, plaines, valleyes, rivers, and brookes, all running most pleasantly into a faire Bay, compassed but for the mouth, with fruitfull and delightsome land.
    • Describing the countryside around Chesapeake Bay (1606); reported in The Generall Historie of Virginia, New England & The Summer Isles (1907), vol. 2, pp. 44–45.
  • You must obey this now for a Law, that he that will not worke shall not eate (except by sicknesse he be disabled:) for the labours of thirtie or fortie honest and industrious men shall not be consumed to maintaine an hundred and fiftie idle loyterers.
    • Advice to his company when he was governor of Jamestown Colony, Virginia (1608); reported in The Generall Historie of Virginia, New England & The Summer Isles (1907), vol. 1, chapter 10, p. 174.

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