Edward Maria Wingfield was a founding member of theand the first president of the , a group of settlers appointed by the company to make local decisions for the colony. Born into a political and military family, Wingfield followed his uncle Jaques Wingfield to Ireland and spent many years fighting there during the reign of . He studied law briefly, fought the Spanish in the Low Countries, returned to Ireland, and served in Parliament before retiring from military service in 1600. From then on he focused on colonization, helping his cousin recruit members for the proposed . Unlike most of the original investors named in the , Wingfield actually traveled to Virginia and served as the colony’s first president. Wingfield was unable to keep the peace among the settlement’s leaders—he and clashed repeatedly—and he was deposed as president and sent back to England. There he wrote his Discourse on Virginia, defending himself against attacks and providing a valuable description of the colony’s origins. He died in 1631, having remained active in the Virginia Company’s efforts.