General History of Virginia

General History of Virginia

Background: The selection in the textbook is from The General History of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles (1624), Smith's most important work. He begins telling this story as a first person narrative, but later refers to himself in the third person. Smith tends to be somewhat boastful about his achievements. Further, some historians has accused John Smith of exaggerating his achievements for a myriad of reasons. Recent biographers have corroborated most of the adventures and achievements that Smith relates. In conclusion the group stated: "Let it be said that nothing John Smith wrote has yet been found to be a lie."

Pocahontas (1565 - 1617) was thirteen when she met Smith. She converted to Christianity and married John Rolfe, a Jamestown settler, in 1614. She traveled to England and gave birth to a son, Thomas Rolfe, but she died while returning to Virginia. Her son went to school in England and went to Virginia in 1640.

Summary: After the departure of the ships that had brought them, the colonists at Jamestown experience many hardships: illness, starvation, and exhaustion from the heavy toil and the extreme summer heat. Between May and September, fifty people die. The colonists name a new president, but he is a poor administrator. Captain Smith takes over most of the management of the colony, and he supervises the building of houses.

While Captain John Smith and his men are on an expedition, they are attacked by three hundred Indians with bowas and arrows. The Indians kill Smith's men but spare his life after he gives them his compass, which fascinates them. When Powhatan, the Indian leader with more than two hundred men, decides to have Smith killed, Powhatan's favorite daughter, Pocahontas, saves the prisoner. She later helps the settlers by bringing them food. After six weeks, Smith returns to Jamestown, accompanied by friendly Indians. The Indians admire Smith for his bravery, and he gives them presents.

Smith uses third person...

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