Near Rison in Charles County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
John Smith Explores the Chesapeake
Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historical Trail
— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —
Captain John Smith explored the Chesapeake Bay in the early 1600s seeking precious metals and a passage to Asia. He traveled the James, Chickahominy, and York rivers in 1607, and led two major expeditions from Jamestown in 1608. Smith and his crew sailed and rowed a primitive 30-foot boat nearly 3,000 miles, reaching as far north as the Susquehanna River.
Although Smith did not discover gold, or a river passage to the Pacific, his precise map and detailed observation of American Indians societies and the abundant natural resources guided future explorers and settlers.
An Abundance of Life
Smith discovered a treasure trove of natural wonders in the Chesapeake region: thick forests of giant pines, oaks and hickories; vast marshlands; huge turtles, 800-pound sturgeon, and great schools of shad and striped bass. Massive flocks of ducks, geese, and swans darkened the sky; and enormous oyster reefs rose above the water’s surface.
At the time of Smith’s explorations, an estimated 50,000 American Indians dwelled in the Chesapeake region-as their ancestors had for thousands
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial Era • Exploration • Native Americans. A significant historical year for this entry is 1607.
Location. 38° 33.526′ N, 77° 11.102′ W. Marker is near Rison, Maryland, in Charles County. Marker is on Sweden Point Road, one mile Chicamuxen Road (Route 224). The marker is located in front of the Discovery Room building in Smallwood State Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2835 Sweden Point Road, Marbury MD 20658, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Join the Adventure (here, next to this marker); Rich Resources (here, next to this marker); Christian Temple Manor (a few steps from this marker); Explore your Chesapeake (approx. 0.2 miles away); General Smallwood's Gravesite (approx. 0.6 miles away); Smallwood's Home (approx. 0.7 miles away); Rum Point General Joseph Hooker U.S.A. (approx. 2.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Rison.
Also see . . .
1. Find Your Chesapeake. Tourism website homepage (Submitted on June 19, 2019.)
2. Smallwood State Park. Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties website entry (Submitted on June 19, 2019.)
3. Smallwood State Park. Maryland Department of Natural Resources website entry (Submitted on June 19, 2019.)
4. Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. National Park Service website entry (Submitted on June 19, 2019.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 14, 2022. It was originally submitted on June 19, 2019. This page has been viewed 105 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on August 14, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 2, 3. submitted on June 19, 2019. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.