Argall, Sir Samuel

Argall, Sir Samuel

(är`gəl), d. 1626?, English ship captain, prominent in the early settlement of Virginia. He commanded a ship sent to Jamestown in 1609 and had charge of one of the ships Baron De la Warr brought to the failing colony in 1610. He made voyages—supposedly to Bermuda, Cape Cod, and Canada—to get needed supplies for the colonies. In 1613 on a voyage up the Potomac, Argall kidnapped PocahontasPocahontas
, c.1595–1617, Native North American woman, daughter of Chief Powhatan. Pocahontas, meaning "playful one" (her birth name was Amonute, and her family called her Matoaka), used to visit the English in Virginia at Jamestown.
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. He commanded the Virginia Company expedition that destroyed the rival French colonial settlement on Mount Desert IslandMount Desert Island
, c.100 sq mi (260 sq km), largest island off the coast of Maine; separated from the mainland by Frenchman Bay, Mt. Desert Narrows, and Western Bay. The island's rugged topography is a result of glacial action.
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 in 1613, and in 1614 he led an expedition against Port Royal (now Annapolis Royal, N.S.). As deputy governor of Virginia (1617–18), he governed autocratically, and the accusations of his opponents in the colony that he was unduly harsh with the poor have been credited by most, but not all, modern historians. He was knighted in 1623 and in 1625 as an admiral commanded a fleet off the Spanish coast.
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Argall, Sir Samuel

(in America 1609–1624) sea-captain, adventurer; born in England. He pioneered a northerly route for sailing from England to Virginia (1609–10). In 1612, he abducted and detained Pocahontas (who later married John Rolfe) to insure safety from Indians raids. In 1613, he eradicated a French Jesuit colony on Mount Desert Island in Maine. He also served what was considered an unsatisfactory term as deputy-governor of Virginia (1617–19).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.