Welcome to the fifth installation of This Week in Southern History.
1608: John Smith, an English explorer and soldier, became the council president of Jamestown Colony, in modern-day Virginia.
John Smith’s life up until this point was already noteworthy. Having left his native Lincolnshire at the age of sixteen, he served as a mercenary fighting Spain during the Eighty Years War. Afterwards, he fought for Hungary against the Turks, and beheaded three Turkish commanders in single combat. For this feat, Smith was knighted and presented with a coat of arms that prominently displayed three Turkish heads. He was later captured by the Turks and sold as a slave, and after many adventures escaped into Russia, and travelled through Poland-Lithuania and North Africa back to England.
As governor of Jamestown, Smith enacted the doctrine of “he that will not work, will not eat.” Although he probably saved the fledgling settlement from destruction and starvation, he was injured by an accidental explosion in 1609 and was forced to return to England.
1786: Delegates from five states of the newborn United States gathered in Annapolis to discuss trade barriers. Under the Articles of Confederation, the states had considerable autonomy,
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