John Smith (explorer)

John Smith (c. 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 his friend Mózes Székely. He was considered to have played an important part in the establishment of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America. 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. He was the first English explorer to map the Chesapeake Bay area and New England.

Smith's books and maps are considered extremely important in encouraging and supporting English colonization of the New World. He gave the name New England to the region and noted: "Here every man may be master and owner of his owne labour and land... If he have nothing but his hands, he industries quickly grow rich."

When Jamestown was England's first permanent settlement in the New World, Smith trained the settlers to farm and work, thus saving the colony from early devastation. He publicly stated "he who shall not work, shall not eat". This strength of character and determination overcame problems presented from the hostile Indians, the wilderness and the troublesome and uncooperative English settlers. Harsh weather, lack of water, living in a swampy wilderness, English unwillingness to work, and attacks from the Powhatan Indians almost destroyed the colony. The Jamestown settlement survived and so did Smith; but he had to return to England after being injured by an accidental explosion of gunpowder during a fight with the Natives.

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