Also named Lord De La Warr, or Lord De La Warre. He was probably born in Wherwell, England, near Winchester. The son of Thomas West, the 11th baron of the De La Warr estate, he inherited the title from his father. In his early military career, he fought in the Netherlands and in Ireland under the leadership of Robert Devereux, another baron of Essex. In a briefly rocky portion of his life, he was imprisoned for complicity in a plot attempting to oust Queen Elizabeth I, but later was released. After this internment, he left England to serve as a governor general for the Virgina Company and arrived in the colonial settlement of Jamestown in 1610, following up where John Smith left off. When the colonists, battered by winter, disease, and starvation, dragged themselves onto homeward bound ships, he was there at the mouth of the James River to meet them with his relief party. He ordered them all back to the Jamestown settlement and instituted a harsh military rule.

Not content merely to lord it over the Jamestown settlers, he also engaged in a vicious and devestating campaign against the local Amerindian tribes. Powhatan, eat your heart out. Using tactics that had been put to brilliant and bloody use in the massacre of the Irish that had been his previous raison d'etre, he engaged the First Anglo-Powhatan War on orders from the Virgina company, which lasted until 1614 and was settled in a peace treaty bound by the interracial union of John Rolfe and Pocahontas (no, not John Smith, Disney lies).

Sir Thomas West published the book The Relation of the Right Honourable the Lord De-La-Warre, of the Colonie, Planted in Virginia when he returned to England. He remained nominally the governor of Jamestown for the rest of his life, dying at sea on a return trip. The state of Delaware is named after him.

July 9th, 1577 -- June 7th, 1618


Much of the biographical information found via Encyclopædia Britannica. Many thanks to wertperch for help with expanding this node.

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