- from Early Settlements
John Smith was a rover, a restless man who liked to stay on the move. In 1609, he left Jamestown and returned to England. By 1614, he really wanted to see America again. He and a crew set off in two whaling ships for North America.
The people paying for the voyage expected them to return with fresh whale meat. But catching whales was harder than they thought it would be. So while most of the crew fished and traded for furs, Smith and a few others explored the coast. They went as far north as southern Canada and as far south as Cape Cod. Smith named the place New England and created a map of it. When he got back to England, he wrote a book called A Description of New England. The book and map were published in 1616. On his map, Smith named one location New Plymouth. In his book, he called it “an excellent good harbor, good land”* and said the only thing missing was hard-working people. Four years later, partly thanks to Smith’s book, new people arrived.
*From Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. American Stationers’ Company, 1837.