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Pocahontas was an Indian Princess, daughter of the paramount leader of the Algonquian Indians Wahunsenaca. The Powhatan Chiefdom was a network of tribal Indian nations in Virginia with a population of 25,000. The homeland of the Powhatan Indians was Tsenacomoco. Pocahontas’s real name was Motoaka; Pocahontas was a nickname, which means “mischievous” or “playful”, later she was known under the name of Rebecca Rolfe. She is well remembered for saving the life of John Smith, Indian captive Englishman (Pocahontas).
Early Life and Marriage
Pocahontas was born around 1595. The identity of her mother is yet to be known because her further had several wives, and each of them gave him a child. Several historians have theorized that the mother died after childbirth. As a growing girl, she would wear little or no clothing; she was also bald-shaven with only a small section of the head left in the back where she was braided. Colonialists described her as a naked girl turning cartwheels with boys. However, as a woman, she had to learn many duties, which included house-building, cooking, firewood, and water collection among others (Stebbins, 2010).
In April 2014, Pocahontas married John Rolfe, a successful tobacco planter. Their marriage is the first recorded interracial marriage in the history of America. This marriage brought them one son, Thomas (Stebbins, 2010).
Saving of John Smith and other Settlers
Powhatan captured Captain John Smith in December while he was exploring the Chickahominy River. According to Smith, when he was about to be executed, Pocahontas placed her head on the top of his, effectively stopping the execution. From then on, she helped the settlers by providing them with food and tipping them on any incoming ambushes. She also negotiated on behalf of her father for the release of Powhatans captured by the English settlers. According to Smith, she was preserving the colony from famine, death, and confusion for several years (Pocahontas biography).
Pocahontas died at the tender age of 22 while on a visit to England, after falling ill.