John Smith Biography, Life, Interesting Facts


John Smith

Birthday :

January 1, 1580

Died On :

June 21, 1631

Also Known For :

Colonial Governor

Birth Place :

Willoughby, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

Zodiac Sign :


Early Life

John Smith was born on 1 January 1580 in Lincolnshire, England. His parents had taken a farm on rent. Smith comes from the family of Smith family of Cuerdley, Lancashire.

Smith received his education from King Edward VI Grammar School, Louth during 1592 to 1595. John Smith at a tender of sixteen left his home after his father expired. Smith took to sea. John Smith joined the army of Henry IV of France as a soldier and fought for the freedom of Dutch from King Philip II from Spain.

Smith, then went to the Mediterranean to involve in business and as a sea robber.  John Smith later joined the fight against Ottoman Turksin in the Battle of Turkish.

Smith rose to the rank of a captain in the cavalry when he joined Michael the Brave in 1600 and 1601. After the demise of Michael the Brave, Smith joined Radu Serban in Wallachia to wage war against Ottoman.

Smith had to his credit the murdering of killed three Turkish fighters in a duel. John Smith was honored with knighthood by Prince of Transylvania and awarded the coat of arms.

Smith was taken a captive in 1602 when he was fighting with Tartars and sold as slave. A Turkish who had purchased Smith gifted him to his Greek lover in Constantinople.  She fell in love with SmithSmith was sent to Crimea from where he ran away to Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth via Muscovy. Smith traveled across Europe and North Africa and returned to England in 1604 

Smith along with a young boy of 12, went on a voyage in three small vessels viz., the Discovery, the Susan Constant and the Godspeed in Dec.1606 with the intention of making a settlement in Virginia. Captain Christopher who was managing the three vessels rebelled against Smith and kept Smith under detention. In the meanwhile, Smith was appointed a chief of the new colony.  This order probably freed Smith from being executed. Captain Edward Maria Wingfield identified Jamestown as a place for the settlement.

Smith in 1608, devoted much of his time discovering the Chesapeake Bay and drew a map which served as a guideline to those discovering Virginia for more than a hundred years. Captain Newport some 70 settlers, including women. People of different skills from Germany, Polish and Slovak came.  None of them had brought food.  Newport had managed to bring with him orders from fake Virginia company. Smith was very upset.  The fake orders desired that a Native American chief, Powhatan be installed as king and Smith meet the expenses of Newport travels. Smith was forced to use military power to get some food from the local American settlers

Smith received threats on his life and came to know of the plan to kill him by Pocahontas.  It took some time for Smith to discuss with the disgruntled and bring the situation under control.

Smith was exploring the Chickahominy River, in 1607, for food, when he was taken a prisoner by the head the village, Powhatans at Werowocomoo.  As providence could have it, the daughter of chief Pocahontas saved Smith from being killed and the village chief sent Smith to Jamestown.

Smith has written an account of his encounter with Powhatans.  The details of his writing have been doubted by later historian, Charles Deane. Another historian, Henry Brooks Adams has also said that the writing was an exaggerated.

Smith was voted into power as president of the local council in 1608. Smith introduced the principles of the discipline.

In 1609, Jamestown was full of houses, land cleared.  But rats invaded and destroyed the food stored. Smith ordered the settlers to go fishing down the river and bring food but in vein.

Smith purchased some food and wine on credit from Captain Samuel Argal, who had arrived there by surprise. Argal informed Smith that the Virginia company has been restructured and that they are shipping food and settlers to Jamestown.  Also, the appointment of Lord De La Warr as the new governor.

Smith returned to England in October 1609 for treatment of an injury caused to him by the detonation of gunpowder in his boat. Smith never returned to Jamestown.

Virginia Company endeavored to send money, food, and transport to the settlers in Jamestown. Governors Gates and Sir Thomas Dale tried their best to keep control.

Smith christened the place as New England. The idea was to find precious materials and copper.  The expedition was not fruitful. Smith prepared the first map of New England on his experiences. The names of local villages etc were replaced by English names at the instance of Prince Charles.

John Smith made two more attempts in 1614 and 1615 to the same place. The first the ship was destroyed.  During the second trip, Smith was taken a prisoner by the French brigands. Smith managed to run away from captivity and reach. England. Smith has published his experiences of these two trips as Description of New England. Smith has compared his experiences in Virginia and New England.

John Smith lived in England for the remaining of his life.



Smith has published his experiences as an explorer in the form of writings. A few examples are The GenerallHistorie of Virginia and the True Travels .. of Captain John Smith. His writings A True Relation of Virginia was published in 1608.

The historians are very critical of Smith’s writings.

Smith has published eight books during his life.


Maps And Other Works

John Smith published A Map of Virginia. Smith concentrated his observations about the native Americans, their religion, and administration

The Proceedings of the English Colony in Virginia.  A collection of other writings on the colony and his departure from the colony due to injury in 1609



In honor of John Smith, stamps have been issued:  Films have been made in Smith’s honor.

John Smith was the Colonial Governor of Virginia during 1608 to 1609



John Smith expired on June 21, 1631, in London but buried in 1633 at Saint Sepulchre-without-Newgate Church, Holborn Viaduct, London.

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