Chanco is a name traditionally assigned to an Indian who is said to have warned a Jamestown colonist, Richard Pace, about an impending Powhatan attack in 1622. This article discusses how the Indian came to be known as Chanco.
The Indian's warning to Richard Pace is described in the London Company's official account of the 1622 attack, but the Indian is not named.He is described only as a converted Indian "belonging to one Perry":
The London Company was an English joint-stock company established in 1606 by royal charter by King James I with the purpose of establishing colonial settlements in North America.
That the slaughter had beene vniuersall, if God had not put it into the heart of an Indian belonging to one Perry, to disclose it, who liuing in the house of one Pace, was vrged by another Indian his Brother (who came the night before and lay with him) to kill Pace, (so commanded by their King as he declared) as hee would kill Perry: telling further that by such an houre in the morning a number would come from diuers places to finish the Execution, who failed not at the time: Perries Indian rose out of his bed and reueales it to Pace, that vsed him as a Sonne: And thus the rest of the Colony that had warning giuen them, by this meanes was saued. Such was (God bee thanked for it) the good fruit of an Infidel conuerted to Christianity; for though three hundred and more of ours died by many of these Pagan Infidels, yet thousands of ours were saued by the means of one of them alone which was made a Christian; Blessed be God for euer, whose mercy endureth for euer; Blessed bee God whose mercy is aboue his iustice, and farre aboue all his workes: who wrought this deliuerance whereby their soules escaped euen as a Bird out of the snare of the Fowler.
The account later makes reference to other Indians who warned settlers of the impending attack:
...it pleased God to vse some of them as instruments to saue many of their liues, whose soules they had formerly saued, as at Iames-Cittie, and other places, and the Pinnace trading in Pamounkey Riuer,all whose liues were saued by a conuerted Indian, disclosing the plot in an instant.
None of the Indians who gave warnings are named.
An Indian named Chauco is mentioned in a letter from the Council in Virginia to the Virginia Company of London, dated April 4, 1623:
May it please you to understande, yt since our laste Lre, there cam two Indians. to m[artins] Hunndred who accordinge to order were sent vp to James Cyttie, one of which (Chauco) who had lived much amongst the English, and by revealinge yt pl[ot] To divers vppon the day of Massacre, saued theire lives, was sent by the great Kinge, wth a messuage, the effect wherof was this, that blud inough had already been shedd one both sides, that many of his People were starued, by our takinge Away theire Corne and burninge theire howses, & that they desired, they might be suffred to plante at Pomunkie, and theire former Seates, wch yf they might Peaceablely do they would send home our People (beinge aboute twenty) whom they saued alive since the massacre, and would suffer us to plant quietly alsoe in all places, The other (called Comahum) an Actor in the Massacre at Martins Hundred, beinge a great man and not sent by the greate Kinge, Wee putt in Chaines, resolvinge to make such vse of him, as the tyme shall require.
Martin's Hundred was an early 17th-century plantation located along about ten miles (16 km) of the north shore of the James River in the Virginia Colony east of Jamestown in the southeastern portion of present-day James City County, Virginia. The Martin's Hundred site is described in detail in the eponymous book of Ivor Noel Hume first published in 1979.
In 1740, William Stith published his History of the first discovery and settlement of Virginia. According to a description of the book on the Library of Congress website, ""William Stith compiled this detailed factual history of Virginia by culling material from the Records of the Virginia Company, a manuscript archive that Jefferson later owned and used in his own work."The archive was subsequently acquired by the Library of Congress and is now available online
William Stith was an early American historian.
Stith evidently read the letter in which Chauco's peace mission is mentioned, and concluded that Chauco (misread by Stith as "Chanco") was the same person as the Indian who warned Richard Pace. This identification is explicitly made by Stith in the following passage:
"I find ... [Opechancanough], early the next Year, sending Chanco, Pace's Christian Convert, who discovered the Indian conspiracy, to assure Sir Francis Wyatt, that if he would send ten or twelve men, he would give up the rest of the English prisoners, that were in his Possession..."
Whether Stith's identification was correct or mistaken, remains undetermined. In Pocahontas's People, Helen C. Rountree argues that Chauco and the Pace's Paines Indian have probably been wrongly conflated.
Whatever the truth, the name "Chanco" has by now been firmly established in folklore as the name of "the Indian who saved Jamestown," and seems unlikely ever to be dislodged.
The Jamestown settlement in the Colony of Virginia was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. It was located on the northeast bank of the James (Powhatan) River about 2.5 mi (4 km) southwest of the center of modern Williamsburg. It was established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 4, 1607 O.S.;(May 14, 1607 N.S.), and was considered permanent after a brief abandonment in 1610. It followed several failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke, established in 1585 on Roanoke Island. Jamestown served as the colonial capital from 1616 until 1699.
Pocahontas was a Native American woman notable for her association with the colonial settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. She was the daughter of Powhatan, the paramount chief of a network of tributary tribes in the Tsenacommacah, encompassing the Tidewater region of Virginia. She saved the life of Colonist John Smith in 1607, who was being held captive by her tribe, by placing her head upon Smith's when her father raised his war club to execute him.
The Powhatan people may refer to any of the Indigenous Algonquian people that are traditionally from eastern Virginia. All of the Powhatan groups descend from the Powhatan Confederacy. In some instances, The Powhatan may refer to one of the leaders of the people. This is most commonly the case in historical writings by the English. The Powhatans have also been known as Virginia Algonquians, as the Powhatan language is an eastern-Algonquian language, also known as Virginia Algonquian. It is estimated that there were about 14,000–21,000 Powhatan people in eastern Virginia, when the English colonized Jamestown in 1607.
Opechancanough or Opchanacanough (1554–1646) was a tribal chief within the Powhatan Confederacy of what is now Virginia in the United States, and its paramount chief from sometime after 1618 until his death in 1646. His name meant "He whose Soul is White" in the Algonquian Powhatan language. He was the younger brother of Chief Powhatan, who had organized and dominated the Powhatan Confederacy.
Powhatan attack of 1622 popularly known as the Jamestown massacre took place in the English Colony of Virginia, in what is now the United States, on Friday, 22 March 1622. John Smith, though he had not been in Virginia since 1609 and was not an eyewitness, related in his History of Virginia that braves of the Powhatan "came unarmed into our houses with deer, turkeys, fish, fruits, and other provisions to sell us". The Powhatan grabbed any tools or weapons available and killed all the English settlers they found, including men, women, and children of all ages. Chief Opechancanough led the Powhatan Confederacy in a coordinated series of surprise attacks; they killed 347 people, a quarter of the population of the Virginia colony.
The Pamunkey Native American Tribe is one of 11 Virginia Indian tribes recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the state's first federally recognized tribe, receiving its status in January 2016. Six other Virginia tribes, the Chickahominy, the Eastern Chickahominy, the Upper Mattaponi, the Rappahannock, the Monacan, and the Nansemond, were similarly recognized through the passage of the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2017 on January 12, 2018. The historical tribe was part of the Powhatan paramountcy, made up of Algonquian-speaking tribes. The Powhatan paramount chiefdom was made up of over 30 tribes, estimated to total about 10,000–15,000 people at the time the English arrived in 1607. The Pamunkey tribe made up about one-tenth to one-fifteenth of the total, as they numbered about 1,000 persons in 1607.
The Native American tribes in Virginia are the indigenous tribes who currently live or have historically lived in what is now the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States of America.
James City was one of four incorporations established in the Virginia Colony in 1619 by the proprietor, the Virginia Company. The plantations and developments were divided into four "incorporations" or "citties" [sic], as they were called. These were Charles City, Elizabeth City, Henrico City, and James City. James City included the seat of government for the colony at Jamestown. Each of the four "citties" [sic] extended across the James River, the main conduit of transportation of the era.
Captain Raleigh Croshaw (c.1584-1624) was an Ancient planter and a representative in the House of Burgesses for Elizabeth City County in the Colony and Dominion of Virginia.
The Anglo–Powhatan Wars were three wars fought between settlers of the Virginia Colony and Algonquin Indians of the Powhatan Confederacy in the early seventeenth century. The first war started in 1610 and ended in a peace settlement in 1614. The second war lasted from 1622 to 1626. The third war lasted from 1644 until 1646 and ended when Opechancanough was captured and killed. That war resulted in a defined boundary between the Indians and colonial lands that could only be crossed for official business with a special pass. This situation lasted until 1677 and the Treaty of Middle Plantation which established Indian reservations following Bacon's Rebellion.
Don Luís de Velasco, also known as Paquiquino, was a Native American, possibly of the Kiskiack or Paspahegh tribe, from Tidewater, Virginia. In 1561 he was taken by a Spanish expedition. He traveled with them ultimately to Spain, Cuba and Mexico, where he was baptized as Don Luís de Velasco and educated. Don Luís returned to Virginia in 1571 as guide and interpreter for a party of Jesuit missionaries. He is believed to have taken part in a later massacre of the Jesuits at this site, when the region was struggling with famine.
James Davis was an English ship captain and author. He was part of the expedition of the Virginia Company of Plymouth which established the short-lived Popham Colony, also called "Northern Virginia."
Henry Spelman (1595–1623) was an English adventurer, soldier, and author, the son of Erasmus Spelman and nephew to Sir Henry Spelman of Congham (1562–1641). The younger Henry Spelman was born in 1595 and left his home in Norfolk, England at age 14 to sail to Virginia Colony aboard the ship Unity, as a part of the Third Supply to the Jamestown Colony in 1609. He is remembered for being an early interpreter for the people of Jamestown as well as writing the Relation of Virginia, documenting the first permanent English settlement in North America at Jamestown, Virginia, and particularly the lifestyles of the Native Americans of the Powhatan Confederacy led by Chief Powhatan.
Jamestown was the first settlement of the Virginia Colony, founded in 1607, and served as capital of Virginia until 1690, when the seat of government was moved to Williamsburg. This article covers the history of the fort and town at Jamestown proper, as well as colony-wide trends resulting from and affecting the town during the time period in which it was capital.
Richard Pace was an early settler and Ancient Planter of Colonial Jamestown, Virginia. According to a 1622 account published by the London Company, Richard Pace played a key role in warning the Jamestown colony of an impending Powahatan raid on the colony.
Captain Ralph Hamor was one of the original colonists to settle in Virginia, and author of A True Discourse of the Present State of Virginia, which he wrote when he returned to London in 1615. Spellings of his first and last name vary and alternate spellings include "Raphe", "Hamer", and "Haman".
Debedeavon was the chief ruler of the American Accawmacke Indian negro nation that was inhabiting the Eastern Shore of Virginia upon the first arrival of English colonists in 1608. His title was recorded as "Ye Emperor of Ye Easterne Shore and King of Ye Great Nussawattocks," and he was also known familiarly as "the Laughing King". He also seems to be the same figure who was known variously in English records as Esmy Shichans, Tobot Deabot, and Okiawampe.
William Powell, was an early Virginia colonist, landowner, militia officer and member of the first Virginia House of Burgesses in 1619. He was one of the two representatives of James City County, Virginia.
The Cecily Jordan v. Greville Pooley dispute was the first known prosecution for breach of promise in colonial America and the first in which the defendant was a woman. This case was tried in the chambers of the Virginia Company, and never went to a civil court, for the plaintiff withdrew his complaint. The first successful case was Stetch V Parker in 1639.
The Swann's Point Plantation Site is an archaeological site near the James River in Surry County, Virginia. The Swann's Point area, located west of the mouth of Gray Creek, has a rich historic of precolonial Native American occupation, as well as significant early colonial settlements. It was first granted to Richard Pace, whose warning famously saved the Jamestown Colony during the Indian Massacre of 1622. The Paces abandoned their settlement in 1624.