John Smith

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Captain John Smith (1580-1631) was the leader of the first permanent English settlement in North America - Jamestown. He was known for his discipline and heroism. He famously achieved order and productivity by declaring that those who did not work would not eat.

When a terrible drought hit the region and ruined the crops, John Smith went looking for food. He was captured by Native Americans who inquired as to where he came from. Instead of telling the truth to the chief, Smith told him that they were fighting the Spanish and their ship had been wrecked on the their coast. When the chief asked why they had come so far into his land John Smith said it was because they were going to attack the very tribe the chief's tribe was now fighting. So peace was made between the tribe and the settlers. The peace was enhanced when a subsequent leader of the Jamestown settlement, John Rolfe, married the chief's daughter, Pocahontas.

References:

David A. Price, Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Heart of a New Nation (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2003)

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