|Pocahontas around 1616. |
She is attired in English Garb.
But how true is this?
Pocahontas was originally named Matoaka, and was daughter to the powerful Chief of the Powhatans, Wahunsenachawh. She was born around 1595 and lived in Virginia.
The most famous story relating to her is that she rescued John Smith. Smith was an English sailor and soldier. He lead the Virginia Colony (including Jamestown) between 1608 and 1609.
In 1607, Smith was captured by the Powhatans and brought to Werowoconoco, the capital of the Powhatan tribe. There, he claimed to have been brought before the chief and nearly executed, but that "at the minute of my execution, [Pocahontas] hazarded the beating out of her own brains to save mine; and not only that, but so prevailed with her father, that I was safely conducted to Jamestown."
What is true about the story is that Pocahontas did befriend Smith and helped save the Jamestown settlement. It was said that "every once in four or five days, Pocahontas with her attendants brought...so much provision that saved many of their lives that else for all this had starved with hunger."
In 1613, Pocahontas was captured by the settlers and held for ransom. By this time, Smith has left for England due to an injury. The Indians were told he was dead. War between the tribe and settlers had been going on for several years as the Indians felt their land was being encroached on. For a year, Pocahontas lived with the settlers. When she was finally allowed to return to her people, she refused and stayed with the English.
|Pocahontas in "The New World."|
|Portrait thought to be|
of Pocahontas and her son.
In 1616 the family traveled to England. Smith learned of their arrival and asked the Wueen to welcome Pocahontas as a royal visitor. The couple were invited to a masque the Banqueting Hall at Whitehall. She was warmly welcomed, though due to James I's unimposing nature, did not realize she had met the King until later.
In 1617, the couple attempted to return to Virginia. However, Pocahontas died of unknown causes and was buried near Gravesend, Kent in England.
The Pocahontas Archive
Women's History in Virginia - Pocahontas