Last updated

Pocahontas by Simon van de Passe (1616).png
Portrait engraving by Simon de Passe, 1616
Amonute (later known as Matoaka)

DiedMarch 1617 (aged 2021)
Resting place St George's Church, Gravesend
Other namesRebecca Rolfe
Known forAssociation with Jamestown colony, allegedly saving the life of John Smith, and as a Powhatan convert to Christianity
TitlePrincess Matoaka
(m. 1614)
Children Thomas Rolfe
Parent Wahunsenacawh/Chief Powhatan (father)

Pocahontas ( US: /ˌpkəˈhɒntəs/ , UK: /ˌpɒk-/ ; born Amonute, known as Matoaka, c. 1596 – March 1617) was a Native American woman, belonging to the Powhatan people, notable for her association with the colonial settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. She was the daughter of Powhatan, the paramount chief [1] of a network of tributary tribes in the Tsenacommacah, encompassing the Tidewater region of Virginia.


Pocahontas was captured and held for ransom by English colonists during hostilities in 1613. During her captivity, she was encouraged to convert to Christianity and was baptized under the name Rebecca. She married tobacco planter John Rolfe in April 1614 at the age of about 17 or 18, and she bore their son Thomas Rolfe in January 1615. [2]

In 1616, the Rolfes travelled to London where Pocahontas was presented to English society as an example of the "civilized savage" in hopes of stimulating investment in the Jamestown settlement. On this trip she may have met Squanto, a "Patuxet Native American" from New England. [3] She became something of a celebrity, was elegantly fêted, and attended a masque at Whitehall Palace. In 1617, the Rolfes set sail for Virginia; Pocahontas died at Gravesend of unknown causes, aged 20 or 21. She was buried in St George's Church, Gravesend, in England; her grave's exact location is unknown because the church was rebuilt after being destroyed by a fire. [2]

Numerous places, landmarks, and products in the United States have been named after Pocahontas. Her story has been romanticized over the years, many aspects of which are fictional. Many of the stories told about her by John Smith have been contested by her documented descendants. [4] She is a subject of art, literature, and film. Many famous people have claimed to be among her descendants through her son, including members of the First Families of Virginia, First Lady Edith Wilson, American Western actor Glenn Strange, and astronomer Percival Lowell. [5]

Early life

Pocahontas's birth year is unknown, but some historians estimate it to have been around 1596. [2] In A True Relation of Virginia (1608), Smith described meeting Pocahontas in the spring of 1608 when she was "a child of ten years old." [6] In a 1616 letter, he again described her as she was in 1608, but this time as "a child of twelve or thirteen years of age." [7]

Pocahontas was the daughter of Chief Powhatan, paramount chief of Tsenacommacah, an alliance of about 30 Algonquian-speaking groups and petty chiefdoms in Tidewater, Virginia. [8] Her mother's name and origin are unknown, but she was probably of lowly status. Henry Spelman of Jamestown had lived among the Powhatan as an interpreter, and he noted that, when one of the paramount chief's many wives gave birth, she was returned to her place of origin and supported there by the paramount chief until she found another husband. [9] However, little is known about Pocahontas's mother, and it has been theorized that she died in childbirth. [10] The Mattaponi Reservation people are descendants of the Powhatans, and their oral tradition claims that Pocahontas's mother was the first wife of Powhatan and that Pocahontas was named after her. [11]


According to colonist William Strachey, "Pocahontas" was a childhood nickname meaning "little wanton." [12] Some interpret the meaning as "playful one." [13] In his account, Strachey describes her as a child visiting the fort at Jamestown and playing with the young boys; she would "get the boys forth with her into the marketplace and make them wheel, falling on their hands, turning up their heels upwards, whom she would follow and wheel so herself, naked as she was, all the fort over." [14]

Historian William Stith claimed that "her real name, it seems, was originally Matoax, which the Native Americans carefully concealed from the English and changed it to Pocahontas, out of a superstitious fear, lest they, by the knowledge of her true name, should be enabled to do her some hurt." [15] According to anthropologist Helen C. Rountree, Pocahontas revealed her secret name to the colonists "only after she had taken another religious—baptismal—name" of Rebecca. [16]

Title and status

Pocahontas is frequently viewed as a princess in popular culture. In 1841, William Watson Waldron of Trinity College, Dublin published Pocahontas, American Princess: and Other Poems, calling her "the beloved and only surviving daughter of the king." [17] She was her father's "delight and darling", according to colonist Captain Ralph Hamor [18] but she was not in line to inherit a position as a weroance , sub-chief, or mamanatowick (paramount chief). Instead, Powhatan's brothers and sisters and his sisters' children all stood in line to succeed him. [19] In his A Map of Virginia, John Smith explained how matrilineal inheritance worked among the Powhatans:

His kingdom descendeth not to his sonnes nor children: but first to his brethren, whereof he hath three namely Opitchapan, Opechanncanough, and Catataugh; and after their decease to his sisters. First to the eldest sister, then to the rest: and after them to the heires male and female of the eldest sister; but never to the heires of the males.

Interactions with the colonists

John Smith

Pocahontas saves the life of John Smith in this chromolithograph, credited to the New England Chromo. Lith. Company around 1870. The scene is idealized; there are no mountains in Tidewater Virginia, for example, and the Powhatans lived in thatched houses rather than tipis. Pocahontas saving the life of Capt. John Smith - New England Chromo. Lith. Co. LCCN95507872.jpg
Pocahontas saves the life of John Smith in this chromolithograph, credited to the New England Chromo. Lith. Company around 1870. The scene is idealized; there are no mountains in Tidewater Virginia, for example, and the Powhatans lived in thatched houses rather than tipis.

Pocahontas is most famously linked to colonist Captain John Smith, who arrived in Virginia with 100 other settlers in April 1607 where they built a fort on a marshy peninsula on the James River. The colonists had numerous encounters over the next several months with the people of Tsenacommacah—some of them friendly, some hostile. A hunting party led by Powhatan's close relative Opechancanough then captured Smith in December 1607 while he was exploring on the Chickahominy River and brought him to Powhatan's capital at Werowocomoco. In his 1608 account, Smith describes a great feast followed by a long talk with Powhatan. He does not mention Pocahontas in relation to his capture, and claims that they first met some months later. [20] [21] Margaret Huber suggests that Powhatan was attempting to bring Smith and the other colonists under his own authority. He offered Smith rule of the town of Capahosic, which was close to his capital at Werowocomoco, as he hoped to keep Smith and his men "nearby and better under control." [22]

In 1616, Smith wrote a letter to Queen Anne of Denmark in anticipation of Pocahontas's visit to England. In this new account, his capture included the threat of his own death: "at the minute of my execution, she 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." [7] He expanded on this in his 1624 Generall Historie, published long after the death of Pocahontas. He explained that he was captured and taken to the paramount chief where "two great stones were brought before Powhatan: then as many as could layd hands on him [Smith], dragged him to them, and thereon laid his head, and being ready with their clubs, to beate out his braines, Pocahontas the Kings dearest daughter, when no intreaty could prevaile, got his head in her armes, and laid her owne upon his to save him from death." [23]

Karen Ordahl Kupperman suggests that Smith used such details to embroider his first account, thus producing a more dramatic second account of his encounter with Pocahontas as a heroine worthy of Queen Anne's audience. She argues that its later revision and publication was Smith's attempt to raise his own stock and reputation, as he had fallen from favor with the London Company which had funded the Jamestown enterprise. [24] Anthropologist Frederic W. Gleach suggests that Smith's second account was substantially accurate but represents his misunderstanding of a three-stage ritual intended to adopt him into the confederacy, [25] [26] but not all writers are convinced, some suggesting the absence of certain corroborating evidence. [4]

Early histories did establish that Pocahontas befriended Smith and the Jamestown colony. She often went to the settlement and played games with the boys there. [14] When the colonists were starving, "every once in four or five days, Pocahontas with her attendants brought him [Smith] so much provision that saved many of their lives that else for all this had starved with hunger." [27] As the colonists expanded their settlement, the Powhatans felt that their lands were threatened, and conflicts arose again. In late 1609, an injury from a gunpowder explosion forced Smith to return to England for medical care, and the colonists told the Powhatans that he was dead. Pocahontas believed that account and stopped visiting Jamestown, but she learned that he was living in England when she traveled there with her husband John Rolfe. [28]


The abduction of Pocahontas (1624) by Johann Theodor de Bry, depicting a full narrative. Starting in the lower left, Pocahontas (center) is deceived by weroance Iopassus, who holds a copper kettle as bait, and his wife, who pretends to cry. At center right, Pocahontas is put on the boat and feasted. In the background, the action moves from the Potomac to the York River, where negotiations fail to trade a hostage and the colonists attack and burn a Native village. Abduction of Pocahontas Engraving by Johann Theodore de Bry.jpg
The abduction of Pocahontas (1624) by Johann Theodor de Bry, depicting a full narrative. Starting in the lower left, Pocahontas (center) is deceived by weroance Iopassus, who holds a copper kettle as bait, and his wife, who pretends to cry. At center right, Pocahontas is put on the boat and feasted. In the background, the action moves from the Potomac to the York River, where negotiations fail to trade a hostage and the colonists attack and burn a Native village.

Pocahontas's capture occurred in the context of the First Anglo-Powhatan War, a conflict between the Jamestown settlers and the Natives which began late in the summer of 1609. [30] In the first years of war, the colonists took control of the James River, both at its mouth and at the falls. Captain Samuel Argall, in the meantime, pursued contacts with Native tribes in the northern portion of Powhatan's paramount chiefdom. The Patawomecks lived on the Potomac River and were not always loyal to Powhatan, and living with them was a young English interpreter named Henry Spelman. In March 1613, Argall learned that Pocahontas was visiting the Patawomeck village of Passapatanzy and living under the protection of the Weroance Iopassus (also known as Japazaws). [31]

With Spelman's help translating, Argall pressured Iopassus to assist in Pocahontas's capture by promising an alliance with the colonists against the Powhatans. [31] Iopassus, with the help of his wives, tricked Pocahontas into boarding Argall's ship and held her for ransom, demanding the release of colonial prisoners held by her father and the return of various stolen weapons and tools. [32] Powhatan returned the prisoners but failed to satisfy the colonists with the number of weapons and tools that he returned. A long standoff ensued, during which the colonists kept Pocahontas captive.[ citation needed ]

During the year-long wait, she was held at Henricus in Chesterfield County, Virginia. Little is known about her life there, although colonist Ralph Hamor wrote that she received "extraordinary courteous usage." [33] Linwood "Little Bear" Custalow refers to an oral tradition which claims that Pocahontas was raped; Helen Rountree counters that "other historians have disputed that such oral tradition survived and instead argue that any mistreatment of Pocahontas would have gone against the interests of the English in their negotiations with Powhatan. A truce had been called, the Indians still far outnumbered the English, and the colonists feared retaliation." [34] At this time, Henricus minister Alexander Whitaker taught Pocahontas about Christianity and helped her improve her English. Upon her baptism, she took the Christian name "Rebecca." [35]

In March 1614, the stand-off escalated to a violent confrontation between hundreds of colonists and Powhatan men on the Pamunkey River, and the colonists encountered a group of senior Native leaders at Powhatan's capital of Matchcot. The colonists allowed Pocahontas to talk to her tribe when Powhatan arrived, and she reportedly rebuked him for valuing her "less than old swords, pieces, or axes." She said that she preferred to live with the colonists "who loved her." [36]

Possible first marriage

Mattaponi tradition holds that Pocahontas's first husband was Kocoum, brother of the Patawomeck weroance Japazaws, and that Kocoum was killed by the colonists after his wife's capture in 1613. [37] Today's Patawomecks believe that Pocahontas and Kocoum had a daughter named Ka-Okee who was raised by the Patawomecks after her father's death and her mother's abduction. [38]

Kocoum's identity, location, and very existence have been widely debated among scholars for centuries; the only mention of a "Kocoum" in any English document is a brief statement written about 1616 by William Strachey in England that Pocahontas had been living married to a "private captaine called Kocoum" for two years. [39] She married John Rolfe in 1614, and no other records even hint at any previous husband, so some have suggested that Strachey was mistakenly referring to Rolfe himself, with the reference being later misunderstood as one of Powhatan's officers. [40]

Marriage to John Rolfe

John Gadsby Chapman, The Baptism of Pocahontas (1840). A copy is on display in the Rotunda of the US Capitol. Baptism of Pocahontas.jpg
John Gadsby Chapman, The Baptism of Pocahontas (1840). A copy is on display in the Rotunda of the US Capitol.

During her stay in Henricus, Pocahontas met John Rolfe. Rolfe's English-born wife Sarah Hacker and child Bermuda had died on the way to Virginia after the wreck of the ship Sea Venture on the Summer Isles, also known as Bermuda. Rolfe established the Virginia plantation Varina Farms where he cultivated a new strain of tobacco. He was a pious man and agonized over the potential moral repercussions of marrying a heathen, though in fact Pocahontas had accepted the Christian faith and taken the baptismal name Rebecca. In a long letter to the governor requesting permission to wed her, he expressed his love for Pocahontas and his belief that he would be saving her soul. He wrote that he was

motivated not by the unbridled desire of carnal affection, but for the good of this plantation, for the honor of our country, for the Glory of God, for my own salvation... namely Pocahontas, to whom my hearty and best thoughts are, and have been a long time so entangled, and enthralled in so intricate a labyrinth that I was even a-wearied to unwind myself thereout. [41]

The couple were married on April 5, 1614, by chaplain Richard Buck, probably at Jamestown. For two years, they lived at Varina Farms across the James River from Henricus. Their son Thomas was born in January 1615. [42]

Their marriage created a climate of peace between the Jamestown colonists and Powhatan's tribes; it endured for eight years as the "Peace of Pocahontas". [43] In 1615, Ralph Hamor wrote, "Since the wedding we have had friendly commerce and trade not only with Powhatan but also with his subjects round about us." [44] The marriage was controversial in the British court at the time because "a commoner" had "the audacity" to marry a "princess." [45] [46]


One goal of the Virginia Company of London was to convert Native Americans to Christianity, and the company saw an opportunity to promote further investment with the conversion of Pocahontas and her marriage to Rolfe, all of which also helped end the First Anglo-Powhatan War. The company decided to bring Pocahontas to England as a symbol of the tamed New World "savage" and the success of the Virginia colony, [47] and the Rolfes arrived at the port of Plymouth on June 12, 1616. [48] They journeyed to London by coach, accompanied by 11 other Powhatans including a holy man named Tomocomo. [49] John Smith was living in London at the time while Pocahontas was in Plymouth, and she learned that he was still alive. [50] Smith did not meet Pocahontas, but he wrote to Queen Anne of Denmark, the wife of King James, urging that Pocahontas be treated with respect as a royal visitor. He suggested that, if she were treated badly, her "present love to us and Christianity might turn to... scorn and fury", and England might lose the chance to "rightly have a Kingdom by her means." [7]

Pocahontas was entertained at various social gatherings. On January 5, 1617, she and Tomocomo were brought before the king at the old Banqueting House in the Palace of Whitehall at a performance of Ben Jonson's masque The Vision of Delight . According to Smith, King James was so unprepossessing that neither Pocahontas nor Tomocomo realized whom they had met until it was explained to them afterward. [50]

Pocahontas was not a princess in Powhatan culture, but the Virginia Company presented her as one to the English public because she was the daughter of an important chief. The inscription on a 1616 engraving of Pocahontas reads "MATOAKA ALS REBECCA FILIA POTENTISS : PRINC : POWHATANI IMP:VIRGINIÆ", meaning "Matoaka, alias Rebecca, daughter of the most powerful prince of the Powhatan Empire of Virginia." Many English at this time recognized Powhatan as the ruler of an empire, and presumably accorded to his daughter what they considered appropriate status. Smith's letter to Queen Anne refers to "Powhatan their chief King." [7] Cleric and travel writer Samuel Purchas recalled meeting Pocahontas in London, noting that she impressed those whom she met because she "carried her selfe as the daughter of a king." [51] When he met her again in London, Smith referred to her deferentially as a "King's daughter." [52]

Pocahontas was apparently treated well in London. At the masque, her seats were described as "well placed" [53] and, according to Purchas, London's Bishop John King "entertained her with festival state and pomp beyond what I have seen in his greate hospitalitie afforded to other ladies." [54]

Not all the English were so impressed, however. Helen C. Rountree claims that there is no contemporaneous evidence to suggest that Pocahontas was regarded in England "as anything like royalty," despite the writings of John Smith. Rather, she was considered to be something of a curiosity, according to Rountree, who suggests that she was merely "the Virginian woman" to most Englishmen. [19]

Pocahontas and Rolfe lived in the suburb of Brentford, Middlesex for some time, as well as at Rolfe's family home at Heacham, Norfolk. In early 1617, Smith met the couple at a social gathering and wrote that, when Pocahontas saw him, "without any words, she turned about, obscured her face, as not seeming well contented," and was left alone for two or three hours. Later, they spoke more; Smith's record of what she said to him is fragmentary and enigmatic. She reminded him of the "courtesies she had done," saying, "you did promise Powhatan what was yours would be his, and he the like to you." She then discomfited him by calling him "father," explaining that Smith had called Powhatan "father" when he was a stranger in Virginia, "and by the same reason so must I do you". Smith did not accept this form of address because, he wrote, Pocahontas outranked him as "a King's daughter." Pocahontas then said, "with a well-set countenance":

Were you not afraid to come into my father's country and caused fear in him and all his people (but me) and fear you here I should call you "father"? I tell you then I will, and you shall call me child, and so I will be for ever and ever your countryman. [50]

Finally, Pocahontas told Smith that she and her tribe had thought him dead, but her father had told Tomocomo to seek him "because your countrymen will lie much." [50]


Statue of Pocahontas outside St George's Church, Gravesend, Kent Pocahontas gravesend.jpg
Statue of Pocahontas outside St George's Church, Gravesend, Kent

In March 1617, Rolfe and Pocahontas boarded a ship to return to Virginia, but they had sailed only as far as Gravesend on the river Thames when Pocahontas became gravely ill. [55] She was taken ashore, where she died from unknown causes, aged approximately 21 and "much lamented." According to Rolfe, she declared that "all must die"; for her, it was enough that her child lived. [56] Speculated causes of her death include pneumonia, smallpox, tuberculosis, hemorrhagic dysentery ("the Bloody flux") and poisoning. [57] [58]

Pocahontas's funeral took place on March 21, 1617, in the parish of St George's Church, Gravesend. [59] Her grave is thought to be underneath the church's chancel, though that church was destroyed in a fire in 1727 and its exact site is unknown. [60] She is commemorated by a life-sized bronze statue in St. George's Churchyard, by the American sculptor William Ordway Partridge. [61]


Pocahontas and John Rolfe had a son, Thomas Rolfe, born in January 1615. [62] Thomas Rolfe and his wife, Jane Poythress, had a daughter, Jane Rolfe, [63] who was born in Varina, Henrico County, Virginia, on October 10, 1650. [64] Jane Rolfe married Robert Bolling of Prince George County, Virginia. Their son, John Bolling, was born in 1676. [64] John Bolling married Mary Kennon [64] and had six surviving children, each of whom married and had surviving children. [65]

In 1907, Pocahontas was the first Native American to be honored on a US stamp. [66] She was a member of the inaugural class of Virginia Women in History in 2000. [67] In July 2015, the Pamunkey Native tribe became the first federally recognized tribe in the state of Virginia; they are descendants of the Powhatan chiefdom of which Pocahontas was a member. [68]

Cultural representations

A 19th-century depiction Pocahontas 1883.jpg
A 19th-century depiction

After her death, increasingly fanciful and romanticized representations were produced about Pocahontas, in which she and Smith are frequently portrayed as romantically involved. Contemporaneous sources substantiate claims of their friendship but not romance. [43] The first claim of their romantic involvement was in John Davis' Travels in the United States of America (1803). [71]

As frequently depicted in advertisements and media, Pocahontas often exemplifies the Pocahontas Perplex. Introduced by historian Rayna Green, "The Pocahontas Perplex" is an exotic unattainable queen image of a Native woman and a self-sacrificial and attainable princess image. Also, Pewewardy supports Green's idea of the Native princess with Pocahontas being presented as more human than her Native peers.[ citation needed ]

"In Pocahontas, Indian [sic] characters such as Grandmother Willow, Meeko, and Flit belong to the Disney tradition of familiar animals. In so doing, they are rendered as cartoons, certainly less realistic than Pocahontas and John Smith; In this way, Indians remain marginal and invisible, thereby ironically being 'strangers in their own lands' - the shadow Indians. They fight desperately on the silver screen in defense of their asserted rights, but die trying to kill the white hero or save the Indian woman.’" [72]

Pocahontas Perplex

Pocahontas is frequently depicted in popular culture in a manner that exemplifies the Pocahontas Perplex. Green discusses the similar fetishization that Native and Asian women experience. Both groups are viewed as "exotic" and "submissive," which aids their dehumanization. [73] Also, Green touches on how Native women had to either "keep their exotic distance or die," which is associated with the widespread image of Pocahontas trying to sacrifice her life for John Smith. [73]




Films about Pocahontas include:




See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Smith (explorer)</span> English soldier, explorer, writer (1580–1631)

John Smith was an English soldier, explorer, colonial governor, Admiral of New England, and author. He played an important role in the establishment of the colony at Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in America, in the early 17th century. He was a leader of the Virginia Colony between September 1608 and August 1609, and he led an exploration along the rivers of Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay, during which he became the first English explorer to map the Chesapeake Bay area. Later, he explored and mapped the coast of New England. He was knighted for his services to Sigismund Báthory, Prince of Transylvania, and his friend Mózes Székely.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Rolfe</span> 17th-century English explorer

John Rolfe was one of the early English settlers of North America. He is credited with the first successful cultivation of tobacco as an export crop in the Colony of Virginia in 1611.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Powhatan</span> Indigenous Algonquian people that are traditionally from eastern Virginia

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 records from English colonial accounts. 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 English colonists established Jamestown in 1607.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Opechancanough</span> Powhatan Confederacy chief

Opechancanough was paramount chief of the Powhatan Confederacy in present-day Virginia from 1618 until his death. He had been a leader in the confederacy formed by his older brother Powhatan, from whom he inherited the paramountcy.

Sir Samuel Argall was an English adventurer and naval officer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Christopher Newport</span> English seaman, privateer (1561–1617)

Christopher Newport (1561–1617) was an English seaman and privateer. He is best known as the captain of the Susan Constant, the largest of three ships which carried settlers for the Virginia Company in 1607 on the way to found the settlement at Jamestown in the Virginia Colony, which became the first permanent English settlement in North America. He was also in overall command of the other two ships on that initial voyage, in order of their size, the Godspeed and the Discovery.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Powhatan (Native American leader)</span> Leader of the Powhatan

Powhatan, whose proper name was Wahunsenacawh, was the leader of the Powhatan, an alliance of Algonquian-speaking American Indians living in Tsenacommacah, in the Tidewater region of Virginia at the time when English settlers landed at Jamestown in 1607.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">First Families of Virginia</span> Families in Colonial Virginia (U.S.) who were socially prominent and wealthy

First Families of Virginia (FFV) were those families in Colonial Virginia who were socially prominent and wealthy, but not necessarily the earliest settlers. They descended from English colonists who primarily settled at Jamestown, Williamsburg, the Northern Neck and along the James River and other navigable waters in Virginia during the 17th century. These elite families generally married within their social class for many generations and, as a result, most surnames of First Families date to the colonial period.

Weroance is an Algonquian word meaning leader or commander among the Powhatan confederacy of the Virginia coast and Chesapeake Bay region. Weroances were under a paramount chief called Powhatan. The Powhatan Confederacy, encountered by the colonists of Jamestown and adjacent area of the Virginia Colony beginning in 1607, spoke an Algonquian language. Each tribe of the Powhatan Confederacy was led by its own weroance. Most foreign writers who have come across a weroance only did so on a special occasion. This is the case because a foreigner's presence was special. John Smith noted that there are few differences between weroances and their subjects.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thomas Gates (governor)</span> 16th/17th-century Governor of Jamestown, in the English colony of Virginia

Sir Thomas Gates (fl.?–1622), was the governor of Jamestown, in the English colony of Virginia. His predecessor, George Percy, through inept leadership, was responsible for the lives lost during the period called the Starving Time. The English-born Gates arrived to find a few surviving starving colonists commanded by Percy, and assumed command. Gates ruled with deputy governor Sir Thomas Dale. Their controlled, strict methods helped the early colonies survive. Sir Thomas was knighted in 1596 by Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex for gallantry at the Capture of Cadiz. His knighthood was later royally confirmed by Queen Elizabeth I.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Indian massacre of 1622</span> Assault by Virginia Indians on English plantations along the James River in the Colony of Virginia

The Indian massacre of 1622, popularly known as the Jamestown massacre, took place in the English Colony of Virginia, in what is now the United States, on 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 warriors of the Powhatan "came unarmed into our houses with deer, turkeys, fish, fruits, and other provisions to sell us". The Powhatan then grabbed any tools or weapons available and killed all the English settlers they found, including men, women, children of all ages. Chief Opechancanough led the Powhatan Confederacy in a coordinated series of surprise attacks, and they killed a total of 347 people, a quarter of the population of the Virginia colony.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pamunkey</span> Indigenous tribe

The Pamunkey Indian Tribe is one of 11 Virginia Indian tribal governments recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the state's first federally recognized tribe, receiving its status in January 2016. Six other Virginia tribal governments, 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 people were part of the Powhatan paramountcy, made up of Algonquian-speaking nations. The Powhatan paramount chiefdom was made up of over 30 nations, estimated to total about 10,000–15,000 people at the time the English arrived in 1607. The Pamunkey nation made up about one-tenth to one-fifteenth of the total, as they numbered about 1,000 persons in 1607.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tsenacommacah</span> Native homeland of the Powhatan people

Tsenacommacah is the name given by the Powhatan people to their native homeland, the area encompassing all of Tidewater Virginia and parts of the Eastern Shore. More precisely, its boundaries spanned 100 miles (160 km) by 100 miles (160 km) from near the south side of the mouth of the James River all the way north to the south end of the Potomac River and from the Eastern Shore west to about the Fall Line of the rivers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tomocomo</span>

Uttamatomakkin was a Powhatan holy man who accompanied Pocahontas when she was taken to London in 1616.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anglo-Powhatan Wars</span> 17th-century conflicts between Virginia colonists and Algonquian Indians

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 1609 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.

Necotowance was Werowance (chief) of the Pamunkey tribe and Paramount Chief of the Powhatan Confederacy after Opechancanough, from 1646 until his death sometime before 1655. Necotowance signed a treaty with the Colony of Virginia in 1646, at which time he was addressed by the English as "King of the Indians."

Patawomeck is a Native American tribe based in Stafford County, Virginia, along the Potomac River. Patawomeck is another spelling of Potomac.

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 colonial settlement in North America at Jamestown, Virginia, and particularly the lifestyles of the Native Americans of the Powhatan Confederacy led by Chief Powhatan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of Jamestown, Virginia (1607–1699)</span> Aspect of history of America

Jamestown, also Jamestowne, was the first settlement of the Virginia Colony, founded in 1607, and served as the capital of Virginia until 1699, 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 the colonial capital of Virginia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sedgeford Hall Portrait</span>

The "Sedgeford Hall Portrait", is an oil on canvas portrait in the American School by an unknown artist circa 1837. It depicts Pe-o-ka, wife of the Seminole chief, Osceola, and their son. It was once mistakenly believed by many to be a portrait painted from life of Pocahontas and her son, Thomas Rolfe.


  1. "A Guide to Writing about Virginia Indians and Virginia Indian History" (PDF). Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Council on Indians. January 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 24, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 Stebbins, Sarah J (August 2010). "Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend". National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  3. Rose, E.M. (2020). "Did Squanto meet Pocahontas, and What Might they have Discussed?". The Junto. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  4. 1 2 Price, pp. 243–244
  5. Shapiro, Laurie Gwen (June 22, 2014). "Pocahontas: Fantasy and Reality". Slate. The Slate Group. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  6. Smith, True Relation Archived September 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine , p. 93.
  7. 1 2 3 4 Smith. "John Smith's 1616 Letter to Queen Anne of Great Britain". Digital History. Retrieved January 22, 2009.
  8. Huber, Margaret Williamson (January 12, 2011)."Powhatan (d. 1618)" Encyclopedia Virginia Archived May 3, 2017, at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  9. Spelman, Relation. 1609.
  10. Stebbins, Sarah J (August 2010). "Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend". National Park Service. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  11. Linwood., Custalow (2007). The true story of Pocahontas : the other side of history. Daniel, Angela L. Golden, Colo.: Fulcrum Pub. ISBN   9781555916329. OCLC   560587311.
  12. Strachey, William (1849) [composed c. 1612]. The Historie of Travaile into Virginia Britannia. London: Hakluyt Society. p.  111 . Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  13. Rountree, Helen C. (November 3, 2010). "Cooking in Early Virginia Indian Society". Encyclopedia Virginia Archived May 3, 2017, at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved February 27, 2011.
  14. 1 2 Strachey, Historie, p. 65
  15. Stith, William (1865). "The History of the First Discovery and Settlement of Virginia". archive.org. p. 136. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  16. Rountree, Helen C. (November 3, 2010) "Uses of Personal Names by Early Virginia Indians". Encyclopedia Virginia Archived May 3, 2017, at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  17. Waldron, William Watson. Pocahontas, American Princess: and Other Poems (New York: Dean and Trevett, 1841), p. 8.
  18. Hamor, True Discourse. p. 802.
  19. 1 2 Rountree, Helen C. (January 25, 2011). "Pocahontas (d. 1617)". Encyclopedia Virginia Archived May 3, 2017, at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved February 24, 2011.
  20. Lemay, J. A. Leo. Did Pocahontas Save Captain John Smith? Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia Press, 1992, p. 25. See also Birchfield, 'Did Pocahontas' Archived June 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine .
  21. "Smith, A True Relation". Mith2.umd.edu. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  22. Huber, Margaret Williamson (January 12, 2010). "Powhatan (d. 1618)". Encyclopedia Virginia Archived May 3, 2017, at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  23. "Smith, Generall Historie, p. 49". Docsouth.unc.edu. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  24. Karen Ordahl Kupperman, The Jamestown Project, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007, 51–60, 125–6
  25. Gleach, Powhatan's World, pp. 118–121.
  26. Karen Ordahl Kupperman, Indians and English, pp. 114, 174.
  27. Smith, General History, p. 152.
  28. Smith, Generall Historie, 261.
  29. Early Images of Virginia Indians: Invented Scenes for Narratives. Archived December 22, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Virginia Historical Society. Archived February 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved February 27, 2011.
  30. Fausz, J. Frederick. "An 'Abundance of Blood Shed on Both Sides': England's First Indian War, 1609–1614". The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 98:1 (January 1990), pp. 3ff.
  31. 1 2 Rountree, Helen C. (December 8, 2010). "Pocahontas (d. 1617)". Encyclopedia Virginia Archived May 3, 2017, at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  32. Argall, Letter to Nicholas Hawes. p. 754; Rountree, Helen C. (December 8, 2010). "Pocahontas (d. 1617)". Encyclopedia Virginia Archived May 3, 2017, at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  33. Hamor, True Discourse, p. 804.
  34. Rountree, Helen C. (December 8, 2010). "Pocahontas (d. 1617)". Encyclopedia Virginia Archived May 3, 2017, at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved March 4, 2011.
  35. "Pocahontas", V28, Virginia Highway Historical Markers, accessed September 17, 2009
  36. Dale, Letter to 'D.M.', p. 843–844.
  37. Custalow, Dr. Linwood "Little Bear"; Daniel, Angela L. "Silver Star" (2007). The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History. Golden, Colorado: Fulcrum Publishing. pp. 43, 47, 51, 89. ISBN   9781555916329 . Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  38. Deyo, William "Night Owl" (September 5, 2009). "Our Patawomeck Ancestors" (PDF). Patawomeck Tides. 12 (1): 2–7. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 6, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
  39. Strachey, Historie, p. 54
  40. Warner, Charles Dudley (October 31, 2012) [first published 1881]. The Story of Pocahontas. Project Gutenberg . Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  41. Rolfe. Letter to Thomas Dale. p. 851.
  42. "John Rolfe". HISTORY.
  43. 1 2 "Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend – Historic Jamestowne Part of Colonial National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service)". NPS. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  44. Hamor. True Discourse. p. 809.
  45. Robert S. Tilton, Pocahontas: The Evolution of an American Narrative (Cambridge: CUP, 1994), p. 18
  46. PBS, Race – The Power of an Illusion > Race Timeline
  47. Price, Love and Hate. p. 163.
  48. "Biography: Pocahontas—Born, 1594—Died, 1617". The Family Magazine. New York: Redfield & Lindsay. 4: 90. 1837. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  49. Dale. Letter to Sir Ralph Winwood. p. 878.
  50. 1 2 3 4 Smith, General History. p. 261.
  51. Purchas, Hakluytus Posthumus. Vol. 19 p. 118.
  52. Smith, Generall Historie, p. 261.
  53. Qtd. in Herford and Simpson, eds. Ben Jonson, vol. 10, 568–569
  54. Purchas, Hakluytus Posthumus, Vol. 19, p. 118
  55. Price, Love and Hate. p. 182.
  56. Rolfe. Letter to Edwin Sandys. p. 71.
  57. Rountree, Helen. "Pocahontas (d. 1617)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (Feb 25, 2021). Web. September 6, 2021. Rountree considers hemorrhagic dysentery the most likely cause, as the ship's arrival in America was attended by an outbreak of the same.
  58. Dr. Linwood "Little Bear" Custalow and Angela L. Danieal "Silver Star", The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History
  59. Anon. "Entry in the Gravesend St. George composite parish register recording the burial of Princess Pocahontas on 21 March 1616/1617". Medway: City Ark Document Gallery. Medway Council. Retrieved September 17, 2009.
  60. "Pocahontas". St. George's, Gravesend. Archived from the original on February 13, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  61. "Virginia Indians Festival: reports and pictures". Archived from the original on March 14, 2009. Retrieved July 13, 2006.
  62. "John Rolfe". History.com. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  63. Yorktown, Mailing Address: P. O. Box 210; Us, VA 23690 Phone:856-1200 Contact. "Thomas Rolfe - Historic Jamestowne Part of Colonial National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service)". www.nps.gov.
  64. 1 2 3 John Frederick Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person, 4th ed., Vol. 3, pp. 23–36.
  65. Henrico County Deeds & Wills 1697–1704, p. 96
  66. "Postage Stamps – Postal Facts".
  67. "Virginia Women in History". Lva.virginia.gov. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  68. Heim, Joe (July 2, 2015). "A renowned Virginia Indian tribe finally wins federal recognition". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  69. "A First Lady's Princess Complex: Royalty, Racism & Edith Wilson's Pocahontas Blood". First Ladies. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  70. "Family Tree Shows Senator Jeanne Shaheen is Direct Descendant of Pocahontas – Indian Country Media Network". indiancountrymedianetwork.com.
  71. 1 2 Tilton. Pocahontas. pp. 35, 41.
  72. Pewewardy, Cornel (1997). "The Pocahontas Paradox: A Cautionary Tale for Educators". Journal of Navajo Education. Fall/Winter 1996/97.
  73. 1 2 Green, Rayna (1975). "The Pocahontas Perplex: The Image of Indian Women in American Culture". The Massachusetts Review. The Massachusetts Review, Inc. 16 (4): 710. JSTOR   25088595.
  74. Clarence, Reginald (1909). "The Stage" Cyclopaedia: A Bibliography of Plays. New York: Burt Franklin. p. 42.
  75. Gänzl, Kurt (1986). The British musical theatre. Basingstoke: Macmillan. ISBN   0-333-39839-4. OCLC   59021270.
  76. Haimann, Alexander T. "Jamestown Exposition Issue". Arago: People, postage & the post. National Postal Museum online.
  77. "The New World". IMDb. January 20, 2005. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  78. Kevin Porter (November 2016). "Thanksgiving Day Film: 'Pocahontas: Dove of Peace' Reveals Christian Life of 'Emissary Between 2 Nations'". The Christian Post .
  79. "St. George's Church website (accessed 16 June 2017)". Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  80. "(4487) Pocahontas". (4487) Pocahontas In: Dictionary of Minor Planet Names. Springer. 2003. p. 386. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-29925-7_4430. ISBN   978-3-540-29925-7.


Further reading