Pocahontas was born circa 1596 as the daughter of Powhatan, the paramount chief of a network of tribes in the Tidewater region of Virginia. She was credited with saving the life of a Colonist John Smith. She was captured in 1613 and converted to Christianity during her captivity. She took the name Rebecca, and she eventually decided to remain with the Colonists. She married John Rolfe the following year and gave birth to their only child – Thomas Rolfe – in January 1615.
In 1616, Pocahontas and her family travelled to London to be presented to society as a “civilised savage.” She arrived as a celebrity, but tragically, she died in Gravesend on the return journey. Long after her death, her story was romanticised in art and film.
Pocahontas and the English Boys: Caught between Cultures in Early Virginia by Karen Ordahl Kupperman tells the story of Pocahontas and three English boys. The English boys lived with the Natives from a young age, spoke their language and travelled between cultures as Pocahontas did. I must admit I was quite uneducated about Pocahontas’ times and circumstances, and I was glad to learn more about it. Even though the three English boys are not quite a fit subject for a site like mine, I found their stories quite interesting and well-told.