Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in North America, began in 1607. From the very first months of the colony, the Jamestown settlers had a hard time feeding themselves. Damage to a large supply fleet from England in the summer of 1609 put more strain on the colony. The new settlers who came on the damaged ships ate through the colonys seven acres of planted corn in three days. A month later a mysterious gunpowder explosion severely injured Captain John Smith, who had been acting president of the colony at that time, and sent him back to London. Now the 300 settlers crowded into James Fort faced the coming winter of 1609-10 with fractured leadership, insufficient provisions, and imminent war with the Powhatans who had tired of the settlers' demands on them for food and the tactics used to obtain their food.