ShareSmith was an invited guest at the Algonquian settlement, Werowocomoco. He was escorted by Powhatan's son into the chief's longhouse, built of saplings, reeds and bark and set apart from the village. He promised to help subjugate Powhatan's enemies to the west, and Powhatan formally declared the pale-faced foreigner a weroance, or Algonquian chief.
The survival of Jamestown—established 400 years ago next month—hinged on this encounter at Werowocomoco. The English had unknowingly built their small rude settlement just a dozen miles from the center of Powhatan's confederacy. In the midst of their first long winter, with insufficient food supplies, the foreigners were depending on exchanging copper ware, glass beads and iron hatchets for Algonquian corn. But the peace did not hold, and within a year Powhatan relocated his capital farther west. Werowocomoco was abandoned, and the location of the dramatic confrontations between Smith and Powhatan that ensured the English foothold in North America was lost to history. (Read more.)