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John Smith's Involvement With American Indians

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John Smith is now a house-hold name in American folklore due to his involvement with American Indians and his portrayal in the Pocahontas Disney movie, but many fail to know that he was responsible for the survival of England’s first colony in America. His leadership, and determination helped discipline the colonists, while his negotiations with the Indians prevented starvation and lowered the mortality rate. Smith was born in Lincolnshire, England in 1580. At the age of 16, he became a soldier, but was captured and sold into slavery. Smith killed his master and wandered through Europe and the Mediterranean before returning to England in 1604. John Smith then joined the Virginia Company’s expedition. Aboard ship, Smith was made a prisoner. When in Virginia the group opened a box with instructions from the Company, saying that Smith was supposed to be one of the men to lead the colony. Soon after their arrival, John Smith and twenty-three other men went on a trip to search for a passage to the Pacific Ocean. They met and dined with native Powhatan Indians, and learned of their chief. When the first supply ship did not return, John…show more content…
If he wanted to live, Smith needed to show that he was an important man. He showed the people his compass. The Indian chief was interested with the needle kept pointing in the same direction. Smith was then taken to Indian headquarters, where he was to meet Chief Powhatan. After eating a feast, the Indians laid smith’s head on two stones which made it seem as if they were going to beat him. Supposedly Pocahontas took his head in her arms and laid her head upon his to save him. There are people who question whether this actually happened, as the relationship between Smith and Pocahontas has been largely romanticized. It is also theorized that Smith might have been taking part in an acceptance ritual as opposed to a death
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