ABSTRACT

In the summer of 1608, Captain John Smith took a small group of Jamestown settlers on an exploratory outing to the Chesapeake Bay in search of food and opportunities for trade. For Smith, the voyage was a turning point. His long sojourn the previous winter with the Powhatan chief, Wahunsonacock (called Powhatan by the English), had embittered his fellow colonists, who suffered hunger, disease, and terrible losses in their fort on the north side of the James River.1 Even now the colony continued to suffer: the stifling summer air, rampant outbreaks of typhoid and dysentery, and competition over scarce food resources fueled mistrust among the colonists.2 Smith, who had management ideas of his own, was eager to prove his worth and gain the presidency of the council.