John Smith By Samuel Zavala

John Smith was born in January 1580 in Willoughby, Lincolnshire, England, Smith's life as an explorer began early. He worked as a merchant's apprentice until his father died in 1596. Striking out on his own at the age of 16, he left his home in the English county of Lincolnshire to become a soldier.

french army

Early years as a soldier

Smith first joined the French, who were at war with Spain; later he fought with the Dutch, who were revolting against their Spanish rulers. In 1600 he joined the army of Austria against the Ottoman Turks in eastern Europe. According to Smith, while with the Austrian army he was responsible for two great victories and single-handedly fought three Turkish warriors in a row. Impressed by Smith's bravery, Prince Sigismund Bathori of Transylvania (a region now part of Romania) granted him a coat of arms and an annual pension.

During subsequent fighting in Transylvania, Smith was taken prisoner by the Turks and was sent to Constantinople (the city that is present-day Istanbul). While in captivity he was given as a present to the wife of a Turkish military official. According to Smith, she fell in love with him and sent him to her brother in the port of Varna on the Black Sea for safekeeping. There he was enslaved and was forced to kill his master in order to escape. Returning to Transylvania, he received protection from Prince Sigismunde

Smith returned to North America in 1614. He mapped the coast of New England. On another voyage in 1615 he was captured by pirates but managed to escape.

Back in England, Smith wrote several books about North America. His writings and maps encouraged further English colonization. The Pilgrims brought Smith’s books and maps on the Mayflower.

Voyage to the New World

Following a trip to Morocco, Smith met an English naval ship and returned to his native country in 1605. His next plan was to join a group of colonizers who were going to Guiana, a region on the northeastern coast of South America. This scheme did not succeed, however, and instead Smith joined the New London Company, a group of 105 men who were going to establish the first permanent English settlement in America.

In April 1607, after a voyage of four months, they arrived along the coast of Virginia. The men had brought with them sealed instructions regarding their duties. When these instructions were opened, they revealed that Smith had been named one of the seven members of the governing council of the settlement, which was to be named Jamestown. Smith's appointment was ironic since he had caused trouble on the voyage and had been accused of conspiring to mutiny.

Later Life

Smith returned to North America in 1614. He mapped the coast of New England. On another voyage in 1615 he was captured by pirates but managed to escape.

Back in England, Smith wrote several books about North America. His writings and maps encouraged further English colonization. The Pilgrims brought Smith’s books and maps on the Mayflower. Smith died in London on June 21, 1631.

Smith will always be remember as one of the new world explores.

Marcovitz,Hal. John Smith Explorer and Colonial Leader. Stockton:Chelsea,House,2002.Print.

mith, John. Image. Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 3 Feb. 2017. school.eb.com/levels/elementary/assembly/view/173081. Accessed 9 Mar. 2017.

Credits:

Created with images by Uncle Catherine - "John Smith Statue" • ComputerHotline - "Commémorations organisées à l'occasion du 70e anniversaire de la Libération de Belfort." • ResoluteSupportMedia - "120218-FRAN-6890V-018" • 7th Army Training Command - "French, U.S. forces at Combined Resolve II" • InAweofGod'sCreation - "img033"

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