Captain John Smith

Pirate, duelist, mutineer, and the first enslaved man in America -- well, except for those enslaved by Native Americans, of course. It's really quite a story.

1 comment:

Texan99 said...

I worked on a Gutenberg project once that purported to be his first-person account, which I recall tracking this version very closely. It was not written in 16th century prose and was identified as the product of another author (I forget who), so I wasn't sure how much it was fictionalized: what a story!

One episode I remember from it was not in this summary: at some point, when he's at loose ends between adventures, he holes up in the countryside somewhere and practices jousting, i.e., using a lance on galloping horseback. It makes you realize how far back the early 16th century was.

The story I read features Pocahontas prominently, but certainly not as his love interest, more as his invaluable ambassador to a skeptical Indian tribe. She marries one of the settlers, returns to England with him, and dies there quite young. Pretty amazing life for her, too.

As much as we hear about Pocahontas in popular culture, I can't imagine why the rest of this amazing man's life has never become well known. The Turkish-slave episode ought to have been a staple of adventure movies. Allan Quatermain has nothing on him.