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Captain John Smith

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Captain John Smith portrait
Captain John Smith

Disease, famine, lack of fresh water, and continuing attacks of neighboring Algonquians plagued the Jamestown colonists and made that first winter a difficult one. The Indians, hoping that the settlers would give up and leave, raided their camps, stealing pistols, gunpowder, and other valuable supplies.

John Smith, one of the leaders of the new settlement, later wrote about the early years of the colony, told a story of trials and tribulations. He hated the other leaders who he said were lazy and didn't want to work. People died of disease, and the shortage of water was serious. Eventually they built a well inside the settlement, which helped reduce the deaths.

Poor relations with the Algonquians and dissent within the colony prompted Smith to go exploring in search of the chief along the James River. His experiences there form the basis of the legend of Pocahontas.


See (Captain John Smith's Generall Historie of Virginia)

Part of The Virginia English Colony at Jamestown exhibit

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