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Samuel Argall was born in England in 1572. He commanded a ship to Jamestown in 1609 and in doing so, became the first captain to sail the northern route directly to Virginia. The following year Thomas De La Warr arrived in Jamestown and together with Argall organised the of two forts near the mouth of James River. He also made voyages to Bermuda, Cape Cod and Canada in order to obtain supplies for the colonies.
Thomas De La Warr returned to England in 1611 and left Argall, his deputy in charge. In 1613 on a voyage up the Potomac, Argall captured Pocahontas, the daughter of Chief Powhatan. Argall took her to Jamestown and held as hostage for English prisoners held by her father. He also commanded the Virginia Company expedition that destroyed the rival French Settlement at Mount Desert Island.
While in charge of the Virginia settlement Argall developed a reputation as an autocratic ruler and was accused of being unduly harsh on the poorer members of the community. Samuel Argall, who was knighted in 1623 and became an admiral two years later, died in 1626.