9. Jamestown’s Colonists Were Too Busy Partying For Executions
One of the guys who helped establish the colony at Jamestown, Virginia, John Smith was also the Englishman who first met Pocahontas, thereby ensuring Disney immortality for himself. He was also extremely unpopular. Twice during his time at Jamestown, his fellow colonists decided to execute him. Twice, they failed.
The first time, Smith escaped when his name was drawn from a locked box that had been sealed before setting sail from England. Those named were the colony’s new governors, and it was thought better to keep him alive. The second time, the lucky Brit escaped not through the divine machinations of fate or thanks to his own quick wits. He escaped because his executioners were too busy partying.
The only survivor of a Powhatan attack, Smith had been blamed and sentenced to hang. At the time, Jamestown was struggling to fend off mass starvation, and the idea of one less extra mouth to feed must’ve seemed pretty tempting. The night of the execution, the whole town gathered . . . only for 100 new settlers to suddenly arrive with much-needed supplies.
In the wild celebrations that followed, the colonists decided to defer Smith’s execution. Only, they never got round to carrying it out. Thanks to their party-hard tendencies, Smith survived to map 4,000 kilometers (2,500 mi) of territory, shaping future explorations of the New World.