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March 1617 (aged 20–21)
Association with Jamestown colony, saving the life of John Smith, and as a Powhatan convert to Christianity
Pocahontas was a daughter of the Chief Powhatan, the ruler of the Powhatan empire, which consisted of some 28 tribes of the Tidewater region. Pocahontas was named Amonute at birth and went by the name Matoaka. The nickname Pocahontas means “playful one.”
Pocahontas was a young girl of age 10 or 11 when the first English settlers arrived in Jamestown colony in May 1607. Pocahontas interceded to save Smith’s life in December of that year, when Pocahontas’ brother kidnapped Smith. What is known is that Pocahontas became a friend of Smith. Pocahontas saved his life again, when the chief supposedly planned an ambush and Smith’s execution after failure in a trading party.
Pocahontas was kidnapped during the First Anglo-Powhatan War. During her imprisonment, Pocahontas met tobacco planter John Rolfe. Pocahontas married Rolfe in April 1614. In the spring of 1616 Pocahontas and her husband, sailed with the Virginia governor to England.
While preparing to return to America, Pocahontas fell ill, and was taken ashore at Gravesend, England. She died in the town of Gravesend at about age 21.
She is remembered as a courageous, strong woman who left an indelible impression on colonial America. Much of her life has been romanticized in movies and books.
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