loud speaker

Parents and Teachers: In light of the COVID-19 crisis, and the many disruptions it has caused or will cause to our kids' education, I am offering subscriptions to (the upgraded site) MrN365.com at 50% off the normal price through JUNE. Please note the site you are on, mrnussbaum.com, is and always will be FREE! Use the coupon code "mayjune" when you register for mrn365.com. YOU DO NOT NEED TO REGISTER OR PAY TO USE THIS SITE

arrow up
Home > History > Pocahontas Biography

Pocahontas Biography

This is a biography about the Powhatan princess Pocahontas

Pochaontas Statue

Pocahontas Statue

Introduction

Pocahontas was born in 1595 in Werowocomoco (Eastern Virginia) to the powerful tribal leader Powhatan. She was one of as many as one hundred children. Pocahontas, however, was said to be Powhatan's favorite. Powhatan was the chief of the Algonquian Indians in the Virginia area. Pocahontas's real name was Matoaka.

Helping the Jamestown Colonists

John In April of 1607 the first group of English settlers arrived in Virginia and founded the colony of Jamestown. Life was difficult for the settlers. Pocahontas watched as the settlers struggled to find food, build shelter, and survive. As winter set in Pocahontas made several visits to Jamestown bringing the colonists much needed supplies.

Friendship with John Smith

During her visits to Jamestown she met Captain John Smith whom she taught the Powhatan's language and tradition. Pocahontas took an immediate liking to Captain Smith, and some accounts claim that she saved him from execution. Other accounts assert that Smith was captured by the Algonquian Indians and was to be executed, or, that a false execution was a ceremony to adopt him into the tribe. The Powhatans admired John Smith and believed him to be a powerful magician. Pocahontas went back and forth delivering messages from her father and keeping trade between the Indians and the settlers open. Powhatan, however, eventually demanded that the settlers bring him guns in exchange for food and supplies, but John Smith refused. Slowly, relations between the two groups broke down. The Jamestown settlement continued to suffer from corruption, laziness, disease, and poor management. In October of 1609, John Smith was badly injured by a gunpowder explosion. After his injury, and repeated attempts by the Indians and the settlers to kill him, John Smith returned to England. After his departure, and several changes in leadership, the Powahatan Indians moved in on the settlers.

Kidnapped!

Powhatan ordered several settlers to be killed and Pocahontas was sent to live with the Patawomeke tribe. In response, Captain Samuel Argall devised a scheme to kidnap Pocahontas. With the help of Japizaws and his wife, and two Patawomeke Indians, Argall lured Pocahontas onto a ship headed for Jamestown. The ship promptly set sail and Pocahontas was a captive. During her capture she was treated well and learned of Christianity. She was baptized in 1614, at which time she renounced her previous Gods. While in captivity, Pocahontas met colonist and tobacco developer John Rolfe. They were married in 1615. Soon after, Pocahontas gave birth to a son, Thomas.

Life in England

Pocahontas traveled to London in 1616 with her husband and son, where she soon became the center of attention. She met with the king and queen and went to banquets and dances all over England. While in England she was reunited with John Smith whom she believed was dead.

Baptism of Pocahontas
The Baptism of Pocahontas

Death at an Early Age

While in England Pocahontas contracted smallpox and died in March of 1617 at the age of 21. She was buried in the chapel of the parish church in Gravesend, England. John Smith wrote that Pocahontas was "the instrument to pursurve this colonie from death, famine, and utter confusion."

Captain John Smith

Jamestown Colony Articles and Activities

13 Colonies People and Founders

UPGRADE TO MRN365.COM

Upgrade to MrN 365 to access our entire library of incredible educational resources and teacher tools in an ad-free environment. If you like MrNussbaum.com, you will LOVE MrN 365!

Learn More