Her name was Matoaka, but her nickname was Pocahontas. Her father Powhatan captured and, then, adopted John Smith as part of a peace alliance. She was an eleven year old child, daughter of a tribal Chief, when she met John Smith, who was twenty-seven. Pocahontas and John did not have a romantic relationship, as John Smith claimed many long years after her death, but she did teach him her native language and helped the English to survive. At sixteen, she was kidnapped by the English and held prisoner when relations with Tsenacommacah tribal nations became strained. She was “Christianized”, given the name “Rebecca” and, with her father’s blessing as a peace offering, was married to John Rolfe. The English brought her to England to encourage investment in the colonizing of North America, parading her as an English speaking Christianized peaceful “Indian”, a propped example of the good relations between colonizers and the indigenous people. She was many things, but her name was Matoaka.
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Pocahontas: Beyond the Myth
The story of Pocahontas has been passed down through the centuries. Her relationship with John Smith has been characterized as a romance that united two cultures and created lasting peace. However, the life of this American Indian princess was anything but a fairytale. Join us as we look beyond the fiction and reveal the real story of Pocahontas, a tale of kidnapping, conflict, starvation, ocean journeys, and the future of an entire civilization.