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Lived: 1585-1622

John Rolfe was something of a savior to the young colony of Jamestown. An English tobacco mogul, Rolfe turned the colony of Jamestown into an unstoppable, tobacco-producing machine. Tobacco soon became the colony's main - and only - source of profit, and colonists were soon growing and selling so much of it that they often forgot to grow enough food. In this way, Rolfe was responsible for the sustained success of Jamestown, as well as the beginnings of the plantation system in the United States. Rolfe also married Pocahontas, which ushered in an alliance between the English and the natives, which at least temporarily allowed the colonists time to get a better foothold in this harsh new land. Rolfe returned to England with his new wife, but upon her death not long after their arrival, Rolfe once more traveled to the New World, to find that relations between the natives and the colonists had worsened yet again. Rolfe is thought to have been killed in a raid by natives in 1622, though some also speculate that he instead died of disease. Regardless of his manner of passing, his influence on the New World would be felt for centuries.