Pocahontas (Lady Rebecca) - Powhatan Confederacy of Tribes

By Julia White
The Powhatan Confederacy was an especially cruel and bloodthirsty group of some 200 tribes in the Southeastern Virginia, Northern North Carolina coastal areas. Even though their chief had a different name, he was called Powhatan, and his daughter was Pocahontas. While a great deal is known about the father, nothing is known about her mother which has given birth to the theory that the mother was one of the "Lost Colony" who was taken in by Powhatan. It is true that Pocahontas looked different from her relatives, and it is also true that she adapted to English customs and the language very quickly -- she even enjoyed them.

Pocahontas was first seen by the English when she was 10 years old frolicking with 4 cabin boys from ships docked in the harbor. They were struck by her beauty, her free spirit and her athletic prowess. Shortly after this first sighting, she saved Capt. John Smith by begging her father for mercy. That was it - the extent of the connection between John Smith and Pocahontas!

At age 13, she saved the lives of 3 more Englishmen who had been captured by Powhatan, and when the English saw the influence she had over her father, Pocahontas was kidnapped and taken to Jamestown to use as a bargaining tool for kinder treatment from her savage father. It worked. However, Pocahontas liked the life in Jamestown; studied the English language; became a churchgoer and adopted Christianity; was baptized into the Church of England, and was given the English name of "Rebecca". At the age of 14, she married an English settler named John Rolfe, and shortly after that went to England with her husband.

While in London, she became the darling of King James and his Court, and was given the title "Lady Rebecca". She gave birth to one child, Thomas, and prepared to return to Virginia. However, she caught smallpox before her ship sailed and she died at Gravesend, England. She was only 22. She is buried there, and a statue in her honor has been erected there. Wayne Newton, the Powhatan/Cherokee performer, is currently attempting to negotiate with the English to have Pocahontas' remains returned to her homeland.


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