John Rolfe and Pocahontas

John Rolfe and Pocahontas Wedding

Picture of John Rolfe and Pocahontas Wedding

This article on  the biography and life of John Rolfe provides facts and information about:

  • Who was John Rolfe?
  • What was his involvement in the Colonization of America?
  • Cultivation of tobacco in the Colony of Virginia
  • Life and Biography of John Rolfe
  • Interesting facts and fast information about John Rolfe
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  • John Rolfe and Pocahontas
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Short Biography about John Rolfe
John Rolfe (c. 1585 - 1622) was one of the early English colonists and farmers of North America. He is credited with the first successful cultivation of tobacco as an export crop in the Colony of Virginia. John Rolfe is also famous as the husband of Pocahontas (1580-1631), the daughter of Chief Powhatan (his Native Indian name Wahunsonacock) of the Powhatan Confederacy. This article contains a short biography and fast facts and information about John Rolfe. Who was John Rolfe and why was he famous?

40 Facts about John Rolfe

John Rolfe Fact 1John Rolfe was baptized May 6, 1585 in Heacham, Norfolk, England. Baptism usually occurred 3 days after birth, but no birth records were kept, unlike Baptism records.
John Rolfe Fact 2John Rolfe was the son of a farmer and small landholder in Norfolk, England.
John Rolfe Fact 3The parents of John Rolfe were John Rolfe and Dorothea Mason.
John Rolfe Fact 4John Rolfe was  
John Rolfe Fact 5In 1606 King James I of England granted a charter to the Virginia Company to establish colonies in Virginia - refer to Charter of Virginia. In view of the massive land potential in America King James 1 issued a Second Charter of Virginia in 1609 which covered lands from Jamestown, extending all the way west to the Pacific Ocean
John Rolfe Fact 6John Rolfe was a farmer and a businessman and decided to try his luck in the New World and in June 1609 and his wife sailed for America aboard a ship called the Sea Venture. The Virginia Company expected the colonists to start industrial enterprises in Virginia that would return profits to the Company.
John Rolfe Fact 7John Rolfe had managed to obtain tobacco seeds to take with him from a special popular tobacco strain being grown in Trinidad and South America. These tobacco seeds were so valuable that Spain had declared a penalty of death to anyone selling such seeds to a non-Spaniard. If he was successful in raising tobacco he would obtain wealth from the export of tobacco as a cash crop.
John Rolfe Fact 8The Sea Venture was the flagship of a seven ship convoy of 500 - 600 new settlers. The purpose of the convoy was to re-supply and revive the failing colony at Jamestown, Virginia. The convoy carried livestock and provisions to last a year. The convoy is known as the Third Supply Mission from England.
John Rolfe Fact 9The earlier colonists were badly prepared and equipped for a self-sufficient lifestyle, many of them were out-of-work "gentlemen" with little knowledge of farming. One of the early colonists was one of the few capable men,  John Smith. Unlike the previous colonists this fleet of ships carried skilled workers: shipwrights, carpenters, fishermen, masons, and farmers, like John Rolfe who were capable of sustaining a self-sufficient community.
John Rolfe Fact 10On July 24, 1609 the convoy was within seven days of landfall when they were hit by a hurricane. The badly damaged Sea Venture reached land and the passengers were cast away on the uninhabited island chain Bermuda.
John Rolfe Fact 11The colonists, including John Rolfe, worked hard and built two new ships from Bermuda cedar and the scavenged remains of the Sea Venture to continue the voyage to Jamestown. The new ships were called the Patience and the Deliverance.
John Rolfe Fact 12The colonists stayed in Bermuda for 10 months but there were casualties. Among those left buried in Bermuda were John Rolfe's wife and his infant daughter, Bermuda Rolfe. Some people stayed in Bermuda and founded the British colony there but John Rolfe decided to travel to Virginia as he had originally intended and set sail on 10 May 1610.
John Rolfe Fact 13May 1610: The two ships, the Patience and the Deliverance, arrived at Jamestown.  They found only 50 survivors of the 'Starving Time'. These were the only colonists who are left out of more than 500. The Powhatan Native Indians were hostile and had stopped trading with the colonists in an attempt to starve them out. The colony was engaged in the Powhatan War with the Powhatan Confederacy of Algonquin tribes.
John Rolfe Fact 14Very few supplies from the Third Supply had arrived because the same hurricane that caught the Sea Venture badly affected the rest of the fleet.
John Rolfe Fact 15On June 7, 1610 the decision was made to abandon the colony and everyone boarded the ships.
John Rolfe Fact 16On June 8, 1610 Lord de la Warr, the first governor of Virginia arrived at the colony. De La Warr and his pilot, Samuel Argall, had brought with them a year's supply of food, so everyone was ordered to return to Jamestown.
John Rolfe Fact 17John Rolfe was eager to start farming in the new colony. The conditions were difficult due to the hostile Native Indians. The number of colonists were depleted due to the troubles of the voyage and morale was not good. The arrival of Sir Thomas Dale would bring the colony into good order.
John Rolfe Fact 18John Rolfe started to experiment with tobacco. He had the sweet Spanish tobacco seeds and John Rolfe was the first to commercially cultivate Nicotiana tabacum tobacco plants in North America.
John Rolfe Fact 19John Rolfe named his Virginia grown strain of the tobacco "Orinoco", possibly in honor of Sir Walter Raleigh's expeditions in the 1580s up the Orinoco River.
John Rolfe Fact 20By 1612 John Rolfe and others were exporting substantial quantities of the new cash crop to England.

40 Facts about John Rolfe

40 Facts about John Rolfe
The 40 facts about John Rolfe provide interesting facts and an overview and description of the life and times and his involvement in the Colonization of America.

40 Facts about John Rolfe

John Rolfe Fact 21John Rolfe knew there was profit to be made in the production of a cash crop. Cash crops (as opposed to subsistence crops) were specialized crops that were grown to be sold for profits and not used for personal use.
John Rolfe Fact 22In 1612, John Rolfe established Varina Farms, a tobacco plantation on the James River about 30 miles (48 km) from the Jamestown Settlement and across the river from Sir Thomas Dale's settlement at Henricus.
John Rolfe Fact 23Pocahontas: In 1613 Samuel Argall captured Pocahontas, the daughter of Chief Powhatan, and she was held for ransom.  Pocahontas was taken to Jamestown where she converted to Christianity and took the name Rebecca. 
John Rolfe Fact 24Pocahontas: During her captivity Pocahontas became pregnant. There were rumors that Sir Thomas Dale might have been the father but she was to marry John Rolfe.
John Rolfe Fact 25Pocahontas: Pocahontas was sent from Jamestown to live in Henricus.
John Rolfe Fact 26Pocahontas could have met John Rolfe in either Jamestown or Henricus.
John Rolfe Fact 27Pocahontas: The following dates appear to confound the rumor about Pocahontas and Sir Thomas Dale. Pocahontas married John Rolfe on April 5, 1614. The wedding ceremony was performed by Reverend Richard Buck. Her son, Thomas Rolfe, was said to have been born on January 30, 1615, although there were no written records kept to confirm this date.
John Rolfe Fact 28Chief Powhatan gave his daughter Pocahontas, and her husband John Rolfe, thousands of acres of land.
John Rolfe Fact 29John Rolfe was Pocahontas and John Rolfe traveled to England aboard the Treasurer, in 1616 with their baby son.  Sir Thomas Dales also returned to England on the same ship.
John Rolfe Fact 30Pocahontas became a celebrity and was widely received as visiting royalty and addressed by the title of Princess Pocahontas.
John Rolfe Fact 31Pocahontas and John Rolfe visited with Queen Anne and were formally presented to King James I. Whilst she was in London she also met with John Smith which was a great shock to her as she thought he was dead.
John Rolfe Fact 32Pocahontas and John Rolfe toured England for several months. 
John Rolfe Fact 33John Rolfe and Pocahontas prepared to return home to Virginia and boarded a ship at Gravesend in Kent. On board ship Pocahontas became gravely ill with pneumonia, or possibly tuberculosis.
John Rolfe Fact 34Pocahontas was taken ashore and died on March 21, 1617, at Gravesend, England. She is buried at St. George's Parish Church in Gravesend.
John Rolfe Fact 35John Rolfe returned to Virginia in 1617
John Rolfe Fact 36Thomas Rolfe, the son of Pocahontas and John Rolfe, stayed in England when his father returned to Virginia.
John Rolfe Fact 37In 1619, John Rolfe married Jane Pierce, the daughter of a colonist. They had a daughter, Elizabeth, in 1620.
John Rolfe Fact 38His house, on his tobacco plantation Varina Farms, was destroyed during an attack by Native Indians.
John Rolfe Fact 39John Rolfe died on March,22 1622. It is presumed that he died during the attack, although his body was never found.
John Rolfe Fact 40Thomas Rolfe returned to Virginia in 1635 at twenty. married a Virginia wife, Jane Poythress, and became a tobacco planter, living as an Englishman.

40 Facts about John Rolfe


John Rolfe

The life and biography of John Rolfe is presented in a short, easy fact file format that is highly suitable for kids. The facts about  are a fast and accurate way to gain a good understanding of the life of this famous man who played a major role in the Colonization of America. The facts include the major events in the life of John Rolfe together with important dates and details of his family. For additional facts and information refer to the additional articles including:

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