Captain John Smith Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1580 - 1631 *** Full Name: Captain John Smith *** Occupation: Admiral of New England, English Soldier and Explorer and Author *** Date of Birth: Captain John Smith was baptized on January 6th 1580 *** Place of Birth: Captain John Smith was born in Willoughby, near Alford in Lincolnshire, England *** Family background: Virtually nothing is known of Johnís family, his parents rented a farm from the local gentry, Lord Willoughby. It is not recorded if John Smith had any siblings, although it is likely for the time. It is also not recorded if John Smith ever married nor had children *** Education: Captain John Smith attended King Edward Grammar School in Louth *** Captain John Smith died on June 21, 1631.
Captain John Smith Fact 1: Captain John Smith was baptized on January 6th 1580 and during the 16th century period in history when Portugal and Spain were exploring the oceans of the world and colonizing new lands.
Captain John Smith Fact 2: At 16 years old, after the death of his father, John decided to leave home and set off for the sea. Serving first as a mercenary for Henry IV of France against the Spanish, he fought for Dutch independence against King Phillip II of Spain.
Captain John Smith Fact 3: Then he set off for seas of the Mediterranean, where he engaged in piracy as well as trade.
Captain John Smith Fact 4: Later John would fight against the Ottoman Turks during the long war.
Captain John Smith Fact 5: He received his promotion to captain whilst fighting on behalf of the Habsburgs in Hungary.
Captain John Smith Fact 6: John Smith would be awarded a Knighthood by Prince Sigismund BŠthory of Transylvania for his heroism during three separate duels he took part in and the beheading of each of his opponents.
Captain John Smith Fact 7: He was also given a horse and his own coat of arms.
Captain John Smith Fact 8: The tides would turn for him during 1602 and 1604, whilst fighting the Tartars he became wounded, was captured and enslaved.
Captain John Smith Fact 9: It took a little time but Captain John Smith was able to orchestrate his escape and travelled through the polish Lithuanian Commonwealth before being able to reach Europe, North Africa and finally his return to England in 1604.
Captain John Smith Fact 10: By 1606 John Smith would find himself working for the Virginia Company of London and their plans to colonize Virginia. The Company had been given a charter to do so by King James.
Captain John Smith Fact 11: Three ships set sail on December 20th 1606. During the voyage, Captain Christopher Newport would charge Smith with mutiny, but before sentence was carried out, land fall was made. Sealed orders were opened and Smith had been nominated by the Company to become one of the leaders of the new colony.
Captain John Smith Fact 12: Life in the New World was hard and in 1607 the site of Jamestown would be chosen as a suitable site for the new colony.
Captain John Smith Fact 13: Fresh food and water supplies were very hard to come by. New shipments came, but only bringing more settlers. There were many highs and lows over the ensuring months.
Captain John Smith Fact 14: Food was in very short supply and although the native Indianís had been happy to trade for food previously, there had been a drought and they needed their food to feed themselves, threats of force were made to encourage the native Indians to help.
Captain John Smith Fact 15: It was said that the Native Indians as well as the settlers were planning to murder Smith. He called a gathering and told them that those not working would not get food.
Captain John Smith Fact 16: He felt that amongst the settlers there were those who were still thinking in terms of the English class system, where the gentlemen amongst them would not demean themselves by doing physical work and the social order they felt was there due meant they did not have to.Captain John Smith Fact 18: He returned to the Americas in 1614. During a voyage along the eastern coast, in the hope of locating Maine and Massachusetts Bay, as he had done on a previous voyage, he was captured by French pirates.
Captain John Smith Fact 17: John Smith would return to England in 1609, having suffered injury to his leg.
Captain John Smith Fact 19: After several weeks in captivity, Smith managed his escape and return to England. He would not leave English shores again. He wrote and published his accounts of his two voyages and in 1631.
Captain John Smith Fact 20: John Smith died on June 21, 1631. His remains would finally find peace in the Saint Sepulcher-without-Newgate Church in Holborn Viaduct, London. A stained glass window would be commemorated to him.
Influence and Legacy of Captain John Smith: John Smithís legacy would be in his leading the settlers to colonize Jamestown. His writings, books and maps on the area would be used for many years. Captain John Smith named the region New England and said that any man may be his own master if he was willing to work, he may become the master of his own destiny.
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