Captain John Smith

Captain John Smith > Jamestown > Timeline

John Smith’s Jamestown 1607-09

1607 Highlights

April 26, 1607
  • First landing of three ships followed by two-week search for settlement site
May 13, 1607
  • Founding of Jamestown
June 1607
  • Christopher Newport leads 23 men, including Captain John Smith, to explore the James River, hoping to find a route to the Pacific, but navigation is blocked by waterfalls near future site of Richmond
  • While the leaders are away, Paspahegh warriors attack the settlement and kill two men
  • Jamestown is fortified with a palisade, bastions.
  • Newport and two of the three ships return to England. One tows the shallop into the Chesapeake Bay where it is cut loose to begin Smith’s first Chesapeake voyage.
July –October 1607
  • Conditions deteriorate and many die
November 1607
  • Captain John Smith leads small parties of colonists to Indian towns to trade for food
December 1607
  • While exploring the Chickahominy River, Captain John Smith is separated from the rest of his party and is captured by a party of Indians. Smith is taken to the headquarters Werowocomoco to be presented to their paramount chief, Powhatan. Captain John Smith is kept in captivity.
Visitors to Historic Jamestowne can witness archeology in action at the James Fort and Jamestown Rediscovery excavations.

1608 Highlights

January 1608
  • Captain John Smith is released and returns to Jamestown
  • Ship arrives from England with more than 100 men and much-needed supplies
  • Trading between the Jamestown settlers and neighboring Indian tribes established
June 2 to July 21, 1608
  • First Chesapeake voyage
July 24-September 7, 1608
  • Second Chesapeake voyage
September 10, 1608
  • Captain John Smith elected president of the Jamestown Governing Council
October 1608
  • Arrival of supply ships with more settlers
  • Captain John Smith strengthens the colony by improving discipline and practices at Jamestown
Jamestown statue
A statue of Captain John Smith presides over the site of the first successful English settlement in North America. Now maintained by the National Park Service, Jamestown was also where the American tradition of representative government began and where the first Africans came to English North America in 1619.

1609 Highlights

January 1609
  • Breakdown of alliance and trade between Captain John Smith and Powhatan
Spring 1609
  • Colony is in desperate situation with food shortage and internal dissention
June-July 1609
  • Arrival of English supply ships, new leaders, and colonists
  • Captain John Smith is removed from his role as president
September 1609
  • Captain John Smith is seriously injured by a gunpowder explosion and returns to England

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