Pocahontas was the favorite daughter of Powhatan, the formidable ruler of the more than 30 Algonquian-speaking tribes in and around the area that the early English settlers would claim as Jamestown, Virginia.
Years later—after no one was able to dispute the facts—John Smith wrote about how she, the beautiful daughter of a powerful native leader, rescued him, an English adventurer, from being executed by her father. This narrative of Pocahontas turning her back on her own people and allying with the English, thereby finding common ground between the two cultures, has endured for centuries. Now, years after her death, the story of the real Pocahontas is finally being accurately explored. Beyond the Myth , premiering on March 27, authors, historians, curators and representatives from the Pamunkey tribe of Virginia, the descendants of Pocahontas, offer expert testimony to paint a picture of a spunky, cartwheeling Pocahontas who grew up to be a clever and brave young woman, serving as a translator, ambassador and leader in her own right in the face of European power.
Camilla Townsend, author of the authoritative Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma and a history professor at Rutgers University, who is featured in Beyond the Myth , talks to Smithsonian.
I was a professor of Native American history for many years. I was working on a project comparing early relations between colonizers and Indians in Spanish America and English America when they arrived.
There are truly hundreds of books over the many years that have been written about her. But when I tried to look into it, I found that most of them were full of hogwash.
Many of them had been written by people who weren't historians. When I went back and looked at the actual surviving documents from that period, I learned that much of what had been repeated about her wasn't true at all. This goes back to John Smith who marketed their relationship as a love story.
What class and cultural factors have allowed that myth to persist? That story that Pocahontas was head over heels in love with John Smith has lasted for many generations. He mentioned it himself in the Colonial period as you say. Then it died, but was born again after the revolution in the early s when we were really looking for nationalist stories. Ever since then it's lived in one form or another, right up to the Disney movie and even today.
I think the reason it's been so popular—not among Native Americans, but among people of the dominant culture—is that it's very flattering to us. That whole idea makes people in white American culture feel good about our history.
In real life, Pocahontas was a member of the Pamunkey tribe in Virginia. How do the Pamunkey and other native people tell her story today? In general, until recently, Pocahontas has not been a popular figure among Native Americans.
When I was working on the book and I called the Virginia Council on Indians, for example, I got reactions of groans because they were just so tired.
Native Americans for so many years have been so tired of enthusiastic white people loving to love Pocahontas, and patting themselves on the back because they love Pocahontas, when in fact what they were really loving was the story of an Indian who virtually worshipped white culture.
They were tired of it, and they didn't believe it. After almost a year of captivity, Dale brought armed men and Pocahontas into Powhatan's territory to obtain her entire ransom. Attacked by the Indians, the Englishmen burned many houses, destroyed villages, and killed several Indian men.
Pocahontas was finally sent ashore where she was reunited with two of her brothers, whom she told that she was treated well and that she was in love with the Englishman John Rolfe and wanted to marry him. Powhatan gave his consent to this , and the Englishmen departed, delighted at the prospect of the "peace-making" marriage, although they didn't receive the full ransom. John Rolfe was a very religious man who agonized for many weeks over the decision to marry a "strange wife," a heathen Indian.
He finally decided to marry Pocahontas after she had been converted to Christianity, "for the good of the plantation, the honor of our country, for the glory of God, for mine own salvation A general peace and a spirit of goodwill between the English and the Indians resulted from this marriage.
Sir Thomas Dale made an important voyage back to London in the spring of His purpose was to seek further financial support for the Virginia Company and, to insure spectacular publicity, he brought with him about a dozen Algonquian Indians, including Pocahontas.
Her husband and their young son, Thomas, accompanied her. The arrival of Pocahontas in London was well publicized. She was presented to King James I, the royal family, and the rest of the best of London society. Also in London at this time was Captain John Smith, the old friend she had not seen for eight years and whom she believed was dead. According to Smith at their meeting, she was at first too overcome with emotion to speak. After composing herself, Pocahontas talked of old times. At one point she addressed him as "father," and when he objected, she defiantly replied: I tell you I will, and you shall call mee childe, and so I will be for ever and ever your Countrieman.
After seven months Rolfe decided to return his family to Virginia, In March they set sail. It was soon apparent, however, that Pocahontas would not survive the voyage home. However, she became ill while in the village at Gravesend.
Pocahantas had developed a case of smallpox, an infectious and dangerous disease caused by a virus and leading to high fever. Pocahantas died from the disease and was buried in Gravesend Church. Her only child, Thomas Rolfe, was educated in England, and later returned to Virginia. Pocahantas was one of the first women to play an important role in what became the United States. Her friendship with the English settlers helped ensure the success of Jamestown, which became the first permanent English settlement in America.
The Double Life of Pocahontas. The Life and the Legend. Da Capo Press, Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. Retrieved September 10, from Encyclopedia. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.
Her marriage to an English settler brought 8 years of peace between the Indians and the British. The real name of Pocahontas was Matoaka. As a child, she was called Pocahontas, meaning "playful one, " and the name stuck. Her father was Powhatan, chief of a confederation of Algonquian tribes that bore his name. In English colonists sent by the Virginia Company founded Jamestown. Pocahontas often played at the fort. In , according to a story of debated authenticity, she saved the life of Capt.
John Smith , who had been captured by Powhatan's warriors and was to be clubbed to death. The salvation of John Smith was the salvation of Jamestown colony. Relations between the Native Americans and the colonists were not smooth in Virginia, however. In , while Pocahontas was visiting the village of the Potomac Indians, Capt.
Samuel Argall of the vessel Treasurer took her prisoner as security for Englishmen in Indian hands and for tools and supplies which the Indians had stolen. She was taken to Jamestown as a hostage. There she was treated with courtesy by the governor, Sir Thomas Dale, who was touched by her gentility and intelligence.
After instruction in the Christian religion, she was baptized and took the name Rebecca. John Rolfe , a gentleman at Jamestown, fell in love with her and asked Dale for permission to marry her. Dale readily agreed in order to win the friendship of the Indians, although Pocahontas may have been married earlier to a chief named Kocoum. Powhatan also consented, and the marriage took place in Jamestown in June in the Anglican church.
Both Native Americans and Englishmen apparently considered this a bond between them, and it brought 8 years of peaceful relations in Virginia. In the Virginia Company wished Pocahontas to visit England, thinking that it would aid the company in securing investments from British financiers. Pocahontas was received as a princess, entertained by the bishop of London, and presented to King James I and Queen Anne. Early in Pocahontas and her party prepared to return to Virginia, but at Gravesend she developed a case of smallpox and died.
She was buried in the chancel of Gravesend Church. Her only child, Thomas Rolfe, was educated in England, and he returned to Virginia to leave many descendants bearing the name Rolfe. Other interesting works are John G. Murray, Pocahontas and Pushmataha Barbour's Pocahontas and Her World is essentially a history of the early years of Virginia and written from the Indian point of view. Her connection to the Europeans arose in the context of Native American foreign relations.
In the autumn of , when the newly arrived colonists at Jamestown were starving, the Powhatan chief sent corn to help them.
The Powhatans viewed the English as potentially powerful allies although Capt. John Smith and the other colonists felt so powerless that they considered all native peoples as threatening. In December Smith was captured during an exploratory expedition. Smith and the other Virginians interpreted this as a spontaneous demonstration of love probably divinely inspired while recent historians see it as part of a cultural drama of power and an offer of alliance.
Samuel Argall, a member of the Virginia council, led a raid against the Powhatans and captured Pocahonatas. John Rolfe , a prosperous tobacco planter, fell in love with the young Indian woman and asked permission from Gov. Sir Thomas Dale to marry her. Their union occurred during a time of few white women in Virginia. It also served as an attempt to improve relations between the whites and native peoples. In Rolfe and Pocahontas traveled to England on a voyage to encourage future colonization of Virginia.
The following spring, as they were preparing to return to North America , Pocahontas became ill, probably from pneumonia, and died at the approximate age of twenty-two. Her death, and that of her father, led to a deterioration of relations that resulted in war and the destruction of the Powhatan people.
The Life and the Legend New York: Pocahontas, meaning "playful one" her real name was said to be Matoaka , used to visit the English in Virginia at Jamestown. According to the famous story, she saved the life of the captured Capt. John Smith just as he was about to have his head smashed at the direction of Powhatan.
In , Pocahontas was captured by Capt. Samuel Argall, taken to Jamestown, and held as a hostage for English prisoners then in the hands of her father. At Jamestown she was converted to Christianity and baptized as Rebecca. The union brought peace with the Native Americans for eight years. With her husband and several other Native Americans , Pocahontas went to England in There she was received as a princess and presented to the king and queen. She started back to America in but was taken ill and died at Gravesend, where she was buried.
Pocahontas bore one son, Thomas Rolfe, who was educated in England, went to Virginia, and gained considerable wealth. Barbour, Pocahontas and Her World ; G.
According to an English colonist, John Smith, Pocahontas rescued him from death at the hands of her father. In she was seized as a hostage by the English and she later married another colonist, John Rolfe. In she and her husband visited England , where she died. Pocahontas — Native American princess and early colonial heroine.
According to legend, she saved the life of John Smith , leader of the Jamestown colonists, when he was about to be killed by her father, Powhatan. Captured by the colonists in , she adopted their customs and in married John Rolfe. She died during a visit to England. It's and spirited Powhatan maiden Pocahontas and British settler Captain John Smith strike an unlikely but doomed romance in Disney's 33rd animated feature, its first based on the life of a historical figure.
Lovely Poca, a virtual post-adolescent Native American superbabe, introduces the roguish captain spoken and sung by Gibson to the wonders of unspoiled nature and serves as peacemaker in the clash of European and Native American cultures. Disney puts its spin on history but maintains cultural sensitivity: Just don't tell the kids the real Pocahontas married someone else, moved to England, and died of smallpox at Stunningly animated, but its mediocre soundtrack and decidedly somber tone leave it lacking in typical Disney majesty and charm.
Premiered at New York 's Central Park , for the usual theatre crowd of , or so. Mike Gabriel, Eric Goldberg; W: Alan Menken , Stephen Schwartz ; V: John, Gordon Tootoosis, Frank Welker. Score; Golden Globes ' Pocahontas was a Native American friend of the settlers at Jamestown, Virginia. She is well remembered for helping the settlers in many ways. It is believed that Pocahontas was born around in the area of present-day Virginia.
She was the daughter of Chief Powhatan, or Wahunsenacah, the chief of the Powhatan people.
Pocahontas (ca. ) was the daughter of a Native American chief in Virginia at the time of its colonization by the British. Her marriage to an English settler brought 8 years of peace between the Indians and the British.
Paper Masters Custom Research Papers on Pocahontas. Paper Masters writes custom research papers on Pocahontas and discuss what the truth about her life is, and myths.
Pocahontas was an Indian princess, the daughter of Powhatan, the powerful chief of the Algonquian Indians in the Tidewater region of Virginia. She was born around to one of Powhatan's many wives.4/4(1). Research Papers words ( pages) Pocahontas Essay - Pocahontas Introduction  Disney’s Pocahontas has understandably received a lot of flak about the historically inaccurate story that is told about the legendary Pocahontas and Captain John Smith.
Biography: Growing Up Pocahontas was born the daughter of the chief of the Powhatan people. Historians estimate that she was born around the year Her father was more than just the chief of a small tribe, he was chief a large confederation of Native American tribes that populated much of . Pocahontas was a Native American princess, and a peacemaker. She was famous for her connection with the colonial settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. Also for saving a life of English captain John Smith. Pocahontas was born on in what is now eastern Virginia.