In May 1607, John Smith was among the group of 100 or so men who established the first permanent English colony at Jamestown in Virginia. As the colonists battled hunger and disease in their first year, Smith emerged as an able, decisive and highly-organised leader. As a result, he was elected the president of the Jamestown colony on September 10 1608 and he implemented a strict regime on the colonists to make them more prosperous. At its heart, Smith's regime operated on the principle of "he that will not work shall not eat." He had the colonists plants crops, repair buildings, dig a well and prepare products, like tar and soap ash, for shipment back to England. In times of food shortages, he made the colonists go and live with the local native tribe, led by Chief Powhatan, whom Smith knew would protect and feed them.
He made the colonists work hard but the death toll soon decreased and the colony was able to survive and thrive.