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Persona of Captain John Smith

John Smith born to Alice Rickard and George Smith left home at the age of sixteen after the death of his father. His journey led him to fight for the Independence of Spain, become a leader in the Long War and actively involved with the Virginia Company’s to colonize Virginia. During his journey he faced many obstacles and challenges. Smith wrote journals that were informative of his adventures and carved the future for US history. Considered one of our country’s founding fathers, Smith had a challenging life.

His characteristics made him seem fearless among many.

During his adolescent years he became a soldier and helped the Dutch fight for independence. From the readings you would assume John Smith being a brave, smart, and adventurous individual, but his work is very questionable. Settlers believed in him because of the efforts he showed saving the Jamestown colony from starvation. In the end many who respected him for his leadership skills turned away from him after his return to the Jamestown colony.

Smith created many stories about his explorations during this time. His best known work was entitled The General History of Virginia.

Without this information the colony in the new world would have no place in history. The question still remains amongst many historians were the tales of his rescue by Pocahontas true events. My reaction to his work is questionable; I have read about his courageous acts and his bravery, yet did he go overboard in order to receive this recognition of being a leader.

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Many writers say he is a founding father of the New World, like all no one give credit to the Native Americans that existed before any settlers discovered what we know today as America.

Smith also contributed with his drawings of the Map of Virginia, which was used by many settlers exploring the area known today as Virginia. My thoughts from the assigned reading selection can be very argumentative and debatable. Did the English settlers who came to this area really discover the New World, or were the Native Americans who existed during this time occupied the area and were driven out by diseases, slavery, and killed. Credit should not be only given to those who can write and deceive many to believe that the people who existed were savages.

I believe like others when someone come into your area that is unknown and not familiar then you will do everything to protect your family. The English settlers such as Captain Smith used barbaric acts to control and alleviate the people of existence during their discovery. Now we go back to Captain Smith journey with the Chesapeake Bay Indians. Smith became a prisoner after his men were killed and ambushed by the Natives of the area. He survived because of his bravery and from the readings; Smith seems as one who is not afraid of death.

The chief of the Powhatan’s were fantasized over the compass that Smith possessed at the time of his imprisonment. Captain Smith used his conniving ways to overpower the Natives with an object like a compass. By demonstrating how the earth, sun, and moon were portrayed, they became amazed and eager to learn about the object that Smith possessed at the time of his capture. The writings from The General History of Virginia were Smith’s story of his voyage to the New World and his encounters with Native Americans. His work states that the Native’s were barbarians and savages.

I would consider this to be a little forth coming to refer to the Indians who have occupied an area for so long to be considered barbarians when they are only protecting themselves from the unfamiliar presence that was amongst them. We would never know the true events that took place at the time because we were not there. History accounts for many of the events that have taken place. I believe many stories were elaborated in a third person point of view especially when there was only one person explaining the events. The lack of the Natives being able to read and write made history limited from the writer standpoint only.

Drawings and different weapons led many historians to determine how those things were used amongst the Natives that occupied the New World. Can we say Smith encounter with the Natives were exactly has he stated. After reading, his venture into the area known today as Jamestown, we can believe that the Natives were amongst them by the hundreds. The opportunity to learn from them was not considered until after his return to the colony. Captain John Smith learned the local language, and was able to carry on most of his negotiations without an interpreter.

He must have been persuasive speaker and a man of considerable charm and diplomacy, as he was frequently able to turn initial hostility into a warm welcome (Trail). His mere fantasy of imprisonment and being rescued by the chief of the Powhatan’s daughter Pocahontas is questionable. The story is told from his point of view leaving many to wonder whether the events really took place. Were the events that Captain Smith assumed as his execution, really a ceremony to accept him into the tribe? Smith rescue from Chief Powhatan by his favorite daughter Pocahontas were a story that became part of history.

Many historians believed that the events that took place were a tribal ritual that Smith assumed was his rescue from death. John Smith was an adventurer who had written dramatic accounts of his travels. We will never know whether or not Pocahontas rescued Smith from execution. If she did what were the reason behind her actions. Literature states the Powhatan’s chief admired Smith for his bravery and confidence. This was evident during his adolescent years when he left home at the age of sixteen to fight in the war.

His demeanor showed he was adventurous and set out at any means to explore the area and be first to have credit for the settlement of Jamestown colonies. The Natives were very unfamiliar with the English settlers and both were a benefit for the other. Trading ideas for food, shelter, and weapons became beneficial for both. The colonists of Jamestown became very resentful during the time Smith was away from the area. Smith returned and was named President of the council and formulated laws which made the colonists be more responsible for their own actions.

The statement, “He who does not work, will not eat,” became a rigid policy for the area he presided over (Captain John Smith). Although many find the events skeptical, we can only determine that the historical accounts that were written to be true events. Captain Smith has several stories that played a big part of history for the New World. Smith traveled and explored many areas throughout his life. Were the events true are just a product of his imagination. We will never know because there is no one who can attest to the claims that John Smith provided in his books.

Works Cited

  1. Captain John Smith. n.d. 18 January 2013. <>.
  2. Captain John Smith Chesapeake. n.d. 18 January 2013. <>.
  3. Trail, National Historic. Captain John Smith Chesapeake. n.d. 14 February 2013. “John Smith 1580-1631.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 2012. 81-99.

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Persona of Captain John Smith. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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