Based on information by Captain John Smith, this map of the Chesapeake region contains extraordinary geographic detail as well as the locations of Indian settlements. The area on the map defined as "Powhatan" is where the Algonquian-speaking Indians allied with the paramount chief known as Powhatan lived. An image of Powhatan in his hut is shown at upper left and is based on Smith's description of what he encountered when he was delivered as a prisoner to the chief in December 1607.The English settlement at Jamestown ("Iames'-towne") along the James River is also shown.

Engraved by William Hole, the John Smith map was the most comprehensive charting of the region up to that time. It was first printed in 1612 and later published in Smith's book The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles (1624), which is the version shown here. As indicated by the compass rose at lower left, the map is oriented with west (rather than north) being at the top. Many early maps were oriented in that direction, and it showed how the area looked when approached by ship from western Europe.

Description courtesy of Encyclopedia Virginia.


William Hole

Date Created

Compiled 1608; published 1624


Library of Virginia


Engraving, Map


seventeenth century, Jamestown, Virginia, England, Virginia, Chesapeake Bay

Rights Statement: Courtesy of the Library of Virginia