Christopher Newport

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Capt. Christopher Newport (c. 1560 - 1617) was an English ship's captain who captained the Susan Constant, full of settlers, for the Virginia Company in 1607 on its way to found the Jamestown Colony in America.

For fifteen years, Newport had been a privateer who raided Spanish freighters off and on in the Caribbean. The spoils from these missions was shared with London merchants who funded them. Over the years he commanded a series of privateer ships, including the Little John, the Margaret, and the Golden Dragon.

In August 1592, he captured the Spanish ship the Madre de Dios, off the Azores, which was the greatest English plunder of the century. He brought the ship to port in England which contained five hundred tons of spices, silks, gemstones, and other treasures. In 1605, after another mission to the Caribbean he returned to England with two baby crocodiles and a wild boar to give as gifts to King James who had a fascination with exotic animals.

It was Newport's experience as well as his reputation which led to his being hired by the Virginia Company. On December 19, 1606, Newport set sail from London, England with three ships: Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery.

In June, Newport returned to England for supplies and more settlers, leaving behind 104 colonists. When he returned to Jamestown the next year, most of the settlers had died from starvation, Indian attacks or disease. It is said that Newport prevented John Smith from being killed for not protecting his men from Indian attack.

Newport made a fourth trip to America in 1609 and was shipwrecked off of the Bermuda Islands.

Years later (1613-1614) Newport sailed for the East India Company to Asia. He died in Java, now part of Indonesia, in 1617 on a voyage to the East Indies.