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On this day: Legendary explorer Capt. John Smith dies

Detail of John Smith from the map of New England from John Smith's Generall Historie of Virginia.
Detail of John Smith from the map of New England from John Smith's Generall Historie of Virginia.(Photograph by Meg M. Eastman, Vi)
Published: Jun. 21, 2020 at 9:28 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 7:04 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Capt. John Smith - soldier, adventurer, very early Virginian - died June 21, 1631.

Smith died at age 51 and the popular image of him is far from the real thing.

Smith was instrumental in creating early maps of the Chesapeake Bay coastline and describing the various things found in the New World - animals, plants, Native Americans - as well as himself.

But he was a lot better at describing other things than he was himself. His exploits are fairly legendary, and his, shall we say, exaggerations of them are how the modern image of him came to be.

We explore the real history of John Smith Episode 3 of Season 1 of “How We Got Here,” NBC12′s podcast on Virginia history, and how the popular image of Smith - tall and blond - is a Disney creation the real Smith - short and red-headed - would be proud of, despite its obvious inaccuracies.

Listen here:

Also in Episode 3, we take a look at the devastating path of Hurricane Agnes, the Virginia connection to the Watergate break-in and how country music was born out of the mountain music of southwest Virginia – with a chaser of Johnny Cash.

Listen to Episodes 1 and 2 of “How We Got Here” below to learn more about Virginia’s unique history.

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