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The Real Pocahontas

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Historic portrait of the real Pocahontas in London, age 21 (pocahontas.morenus.org)

Historic portrait of the real Pocahontas in London, age 21 (pocahontas.morenus.org)

Pocahontas has always been my favourite Disney princess and is my favourite classic Disney animation, next to Lion King of course. When I found out that Pocahontas was not a fictional character, but in all actuality a figure in history, I was thrilled. At 9, I began doing research, looking for historical portraits and reading all I could about Pocahontas.

I had a Pocahontas doll, a few books (different versions of Pocahontas' stories) and I even wrote a play about her. I entitled it "The Truth about Pocahontas".

Pocahontas, John Smith, Grandmother Willow, Miko, Flit and Percy (Google Image)

Pocahontas, John Smith, Grandmother Willow, Miko, Flit and Percy (Google Image)

Movie and Soundtrack

The Disney Animation

The Disney animation feature is the basic love triangle story. A beautiful Algonquin princess promised to a village hero by her father... but her heart belongs to the forbidden White man, John Smith. Pocahontas just happens to be able to speak English fluently to be able to communicate with John Smith. How? Well, her Grandmother Willow, whose spirit speaks through a tree told her to listen with her heart. After all, that's how Pocahontas is able to paint with all the colours of the wind, right?

Now, it sounds cheesy, corny, mushy and even boring but is quite the contrary. I love this movie. I currently own it on DVD and I put it on just to keep me company sometimes while I'm writing late at night. This is a good movie and close to the Historical story... but not so much.

After all, while I understand that Disney was trying to get us kids to understand that Native Americans are in tuned with nature, I don't believe that Pocahontas had the ability to speak to animals. I'm sure the Heron and the Otter were her friends, but talking to them? I don't think so. Her "pet" raccoon, Miko and her "pet" hummingbird, Flit were a cute addition though. I'm not complaining. :) Oh and let's not forget Ratcliffe's spoilt, overly pampered dog, Percy.

Movie: "The New World"

Because this movie isn't an animation, it isn't as magical as the Disney movie but it's more realistic. It stars Actors Colin Farrel as John Smith and Q'orianka Kilcher as Pocahontas. The New World is "A drama about explorer John Smith and the clash between Native Americans and English settlers in the 17th century" (IMDb).

The first English settlers' ship (Google Image)

The first English settlers' ship (Google Image)

The History - Pocahontas sees the Englishmen

A Native American Princess was born in c. 1596 in the Algonquin tribe. Also known as the Powhatans, after her father and Chief, Powhatan. She was named Matowaca and nicknamed Pocahontas, meaning “Frolicsome child,” “mischievous child,” or “spoiled child.” In 1607, she spotted White men for the first time when the English men landed in the Port of Jamestown in present day Virginia.

Her brother, Nantaquas, also saw the Englishmen and ran right away to tell their father. Chief Powhatan heard of the Englishmen and they began planning a way to drive them out. Pocahontas, watched them build houses and find food for days. Then, the day of the great Powhatan feast came. Pocahontas stood waiting for the captured leader of the Englishmen to arrive.

Below is an excerpt from the historically-accurate script that I wrote my freshman year of High School to make it a more interesting presentation for my History class:

Chief Powhatan

Chief Powhatan

*They go to the feast. Powhatan is sitting on his throne. Capt. John Smith is placed in front of him.

Powhatan, to the tribe – Does anyone have any complaints against this man? Has he harmed us?

Old man – We have not given him consent to enter our territory, yet he and his men have built houses and taken our food. Soon they will be taking our very houses and killing us with their fire sticks.

Powhatan – does everyone feel this way?

All – Yes.

Powhatan – then it is settled then, he shall be killed.

Pocahontas, standing up – No! You can’t!

Powhatan – how dare you speak out of turn, Pocahontas?

Pocahontas – father, how could you kill him? He has done nothing to harm us.

Old man – nothing yet.

Powhatan, to guards – kill him.

Pocahontas – No! (Lays on John Smith just as the guards are about to club him).

Capt. John Smith (Google Image)

Capt. John Smith (Google Image)

Saving John Smith

Not willing to risk hurting his daughter, Chief Powhatan ordered that Smith was left unharmed. Pocahontas asked to take Smith for her own, claiming that he could be of assistance to the tribe. Because she was the princess, the law stated that her wishes be granted.

At first, Pocahontas could not understand John Smith’s language but they became fast friends. She gave him the name Nantaquod. The Englishmen were free to stay but things did not go smoothly for them.

One day, Smith told Pocahontas that the Englishmen were growing hungry because they did not know the Native ways of acquiring food. Pocahontas volunteered to assist them and Smith made a deal to bestow gifts upon the tribe in return.

Pocahontas brought them food and in return, the English King sent Powhatan a huge bed, a red silk cape, and a copper crown. However, Powhatan was not amused. A year later in 1609, Powhatan had enough.

Q'Orianka Kilcher as Rebecca Rolfe/Pocahontas (Google Image)

Q'Orianka Kilcher as Rebecca Rolfe/Pocahontas (Google Image)

Pocahontas becomes Rebecca

Pocahontas was told that John Smith was dead. A year later, she married an Indian private captain by the name of Kocoum and then in 1612, she was kidnapped by another Englishman, Capt. Samuel Argall.

Argall told Powhatan that he would bring back his daughter if and only if he released his men. Powhatan, being the stubborn man he was, refused. Therefore, Argall refused to return Pocahontas.

In 1613, Pocahontas was brought back to her home but was under the instruction of Sir Thomas Dale. She was introduced to John Rolfe, educated and then converted to Christianity. She was then Christened with the name Rebecca. Then Sir Thomas Dale, grew tired of waiting for Powhatan to release his men.

Pocahontas and her son Thomas (Google Image)

Pocahontas and her son Thomas (Google Image)

To England!

Dale commanded his army of 150 men to invade the Native American territory. He was determined to get his men back. When Dale's men invaded the Powhatan tribe, they were attacked and so they burned down houses and killed Native American men.

Then in 1614, Pocahontas married John Rolfe.

Powhatan sent word and a pearl necklace with one of his tribesmen to tell Pocahontas that he wouldn't be able to make it to her marriage ceremony. The tribesman was to go in his place.

In 1618, Pocahontas found out that she was with child. Her son was named Thomas Rolfe. John Rolfe informed Pocahontas that the whole royal family, including the King and Queen of England were eager to meet her. There was to be banquets held in her honour. She was to be taken to theatres and treated like a true princess. --This is seen in the Disney Animation Pocahontas II.

In England, Pocahontas was confronted by an unexpected fate...

virginiaplaces.org

virginiaplaces.org

Pocahontas' Death

Pocahontas ran into John Smith in England! She was shocked because she was convinced that he was dead. Pocahontas was upset and ran from him. She was so emotionally confused that she hid for hours, refusing to speak. Then, when she was finally able to, she went back to John Smith.

Smith was so happy to see her again but Pocahontas refused to talk to him and she refused to be referred to as Pocahontas. She told him that her name was Rebecca and walked away.

The year after that, Pocahontas became home sick and had to be taken back to Jamestown.

However, Pocahontas was too ill and on the journey home, she died.

Some say she died of tuberculosis, come say of smallpox and some say of pneumonia but no one knows for sure.

Pocahontas' son,Thomas, headed back to England and when he was 20 years old he became an important part of the colonies.

The Powhatan Village (historyfun.org)

The Powhatan Village (historyfun.org)

Jamestown Settlement ships (historyfun.org)

Jamestown Settlement ships (historyfun.org)

Historical Tourist Site

In Jamestown, Virgina, Pocahontas' history is still preserved. I had the honour to visit the Official Jamestown Settlement when I was 9 years old. It was fun and educational, every parent's dream (since the kids are having so much fun that they don't know they're learning).

The exhibits include the following (and much more):

  • The Powhatan Village
  • Films and Galleries
  • Jamestown Settlement Ships
  • James Fort
  • Riverfront Discovery Area

There are lots of "performances" by professionals who reenact the positions of Jamestown settlers, Native Americans, soldiers, pilgrims and many more. It's a great vacation to take, not to mention it's close to Williamsburg where you can go to Water County U.S.A. and Busch Gardens. So, for your next vacation, go to Jamestown, Virginia.

Princess and Warrior

I hope I've sparked your interest to learn more about this woman who was not only an Algonquin Princess, but a warrior. She fought for humanity while everyone else was against the Englishmen. That makes her a warrior. 

For more information on the Official Jamestown Settlement, visit:

http://www.historyisfun.org/ 

For more information about Pocahontas, visit:

Preservation Virginia

Comments

jasmine simson on November 12, 2012:

this is so awesome who thought of this website?

Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on September 24, 2012:

Great hub! Thanks for sharing us your knowledge about Pocahontas. I thought it was John Smith who became her husband. I enjoyed reading this well written article. Voted up and useful.

Moo cow on September 19, 2012:

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Cool on September 19, 2012:

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Nick Tozer on September 19, 2012:

Dallas u idiot ur stupid

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YOUR MAKING ME REAL ANGERY, HO JOON AND BRETT

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Moo cow on September 19, 2012:

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Banana on September 19, 2012:

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Coz I'm banana

Moo cow on September 19, 2012:

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Banana on September 19, 2012:

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Banana on September 19, 2012:

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Banana on September 19, 2012:

What are u on banana or whoever you are I'm banana

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Banana on September 19, 2012:

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The big girl on September 19, 2012:

Qoqowowoeoeororototoyoyououoioioaoaososododofofogogohohojojokokololopopo

Banana on September 19, 2012:

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Buggy person on September 19, 2012:

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Moo cow on September 19, 2012:

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Banana on September 19, 2012:

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Banana on September 19, 2012:

Thanks again I'm just so grateful

Banana on September 18, 2012:

Thank you for this information kaltopsyd, you have inspired me to learn much more about Pocahontas in the future. Great hub.

kaltopsyd (author) from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA on April 03, 2012:

Yes, she is. Thanks for your comment, Banana!

Banana on April 02, 2012:

Hey kaltopsyd,I think that you are absolutely right about Pocahontas she is a treasure

kaltopsyd (author) from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA on October 19, 2011:

Thank you for commenting, Nana. I'm a big fan of Pocahontas as well. Both in Disney and in History.

-K. Alto

Nana on October 17, 2011:

Thank you for these informations. I'm a big fan of Disney's Pocahontas and I became passionated by Pocahontas' History.

kaltopsyd (author) from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA on August 17, 2011:

Hello Erik.

Yes this was a long one. ^^ I'm glad you found it very interesting. I will check out that website. Thanks!

-K. Alto

Erik Walden on June 28, 2011:

Took me a while to read through it all, But that was very interesting!

Wanted to recommend a great read where the life of Pocahontas is featured, read it last year and found it absolutely amazing. She tells her own story, really engaging and informative. I believe it is on special for the month of July in conjunction with independence day celebrations.... see www.amazingpeopleclub.com and browse to the title “Amazing Americans”. Enjoy!

kaltopsyd (author) from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA on March 15, 2011:

Thank you meiandbryan! I'm glad you were fascinated! :D

meiandbryan on March 15, 2011:

awesome! I was fascinated... I'm also a disney princess fanatic, and I'm glad I have learned a lot from your blog.

kaltopsyd (author) from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA on July 15, 2010:

Thank you, Zannie. I'm glad I was able to help broaden your knowledge! =)

Zannie10 on July 15, 2010:

Very informative hub! I always wanted to learn more about Pocahontas so this was really helpful with that. Well done!

kaltopsyd (author) from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA on July 15, 2010:

Hi randslam! Did I say MOVIE theatres. I definitely meant live theatre. Oops! Thanks for that correction... and the compliment, I didn't overlook the compliment. :D

Thanks for commenting!

Rand Zacharias from Vernon, British Columbia on July 15, 2010:

Love the pictures that accompany this well-written narrative of an exceptional heroine.

One question though, did they have movie theatres in the time of Pocahontas? Perhaps, you meant live stage theatres that Pocahontas surely would have attended?

Not a criticism, just a possible oversight on this otherwise splendid historical tale that Disney didn't quite get right...but that's the movie business.

Thanks for showing how much more interesting the true history of the planet can be.

kaltopsyd (author) from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA on July 15, 2010:

Daddyjb, you're absolutely right about this being both European and American History. About my high school play, thanks--haha. I'm glad it wasn't "cheesy". Thank you for your insightful comment!

daddyjb from North Carolina on July 15, 2010:

With regards to the first comment, this story is both American and European history. In fact, you might call it even more European than American since it was the English who came to settle Jamestown and who in turn recorded their experience. Had the Europeans not come, we would certainly have a different history. History is not just stuff that happened, it's what people (often white males) say happened (which is then filtered through historians). History does not exist in a vacuum and it's always changing. Anyway, I think the question of whose history is whose, is interesting!

Thanks for the hub. I thought the selection from your high school play was delightful!

kaltopsyd (author) from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA on July 14, 2010:

Wow, thank you very much, dallas!

Dallas W Thompson from Bakersfield, CA on July 14, 2010:

Your professionalism, and depth of research has produced a learning experience. Thanks! Flag Up!

kaltopsyd (author) from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA on July 14, 2010:

Hello, Pete. Who WOULDN'T love Pocahontas? She seemed to have been a true treasure. I guess it definitely was the stress and whatnot that led to her ultimate death. Thank your for commenting!

Pete Sardino from Off Piste on July 14, 2010:

Well, so, then, what year was that? 1619? Must be a little later. I'll bet the stress and shock of the various lies, and what they led to, didn't do her health any good.

Our guide in 1972 rubbed her shiny copper nose on that statue and looked like he loved her too.

kaltopsyd (author) from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA on July 14, 2010:

Thank you very much, Shil! You're so kind!

Shil1978 on July 14, 2010:

A fascinating read Kim, thank you for sharing this wonderful hub. You've put in a lot of work on this and it shows!! Thanks for rekindling some wonderful memories :)

kaltopsyd (author) from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA on July 14, 2010:

Hi, marvalous! Writing this Hub brought back memories as well. I'm glad my happy memories can rub off on you. :)

Thanks Lady E for commenting. I hope you like The New World!

Elena from London, UK on July 14, 2010:

Very interesting Hub - I would like to see "The New World". Thanks for the review.

marvalousnj from Central Jersey USA on July 14, 2010:

You have rekindled memories of happy times and fun vacation. Williamsburg/Jamestown vacation to me was the best, mainly because of the history so accurately demonstrated. Thanks Kaltopsyd, now I want that vacation again. Good Hub.

kaltopsyd (author) from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA on July 14, 2010:

~Hi, Joni. I've come to the realization that all History is fascinating no matter how big or small. I love history and mythology but History/Social Studies was a subject I never liked in school. Strange.

~CM, so you like Pocahontas too, huh? Cool! It's good to hear from another Pocahontas fan and another person who has been to the Jamestown Settlement. I'll never forget that vacation.

~drbj, thank you for your kind compliments. I really appreciate it.

~Simone, I also thank you. I'm glad I was able to teach you something new. Yeah, and that play I wrote... I'm just an oddball that way. :)

Thank you all so much for commenting!

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on July 14, 2010:

What a pleasure it was to read that history- I did not know the details, and am quite happy to have been filled in on Pocahontas' past.

And that's so cool you even wrote a play on the subject in high school!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on July 14, 2010:

This is a fascinating story of Pocahontas/Rebecca, kal, and you have made it come alive with your well-written narrative. Thank you for your in-depth research and attention to detail.

CMCastro on July 14, 2010:

Kaltopsyd, you have touched my heart. Since the age of six,my Mom gave me a "golden book" called "Pocahontas".

Then, Thanksgiving week of that same year, Mom and Dad took my brothers and I to Williamsburg and Jamestown and I felt as if I was at home in Jamestown. I soaked up the information and she became one of my favorite heroes. A few years ago we had permission to dress up in costume for Halloween at work. I became Pocahontas- braids and all! My friend could not stop humming the theme from the Disney movie every time he saw me. Thanks for the hub.

Joni Douglas on July 14, 2010:

Great hub. American history may be small compared to Europe but it is fascinating. Thanks.