Pocahontas Essay, Research Paper
The story of Pocahontas happened the same time as the founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in the New World. Her story begins with her first visit to the colony as a child of ten or eleven. The event that captured her fame, was her rescue of Captain John Smith from murder at the hands of her father. She almost single handily saved the Jamestown colonists from starvation and massacre. Pocahontas? final act of devotion to the colonists was when she was arranged a visit to London by the Virginia Company. This established the Jamestown colony, not only as a gesture of appreciation to Pocahontas, but also as a means of stimulating further interest in the New World colonization. She never saw her homeland again after that.
Pocahontas was an Indian princess, daughter of Powhatan, the powerful chief of the Algonquian Indians in the Tidewater region of Virginia. She was born around 1595. Her real name was Matoaca, though she is better known as Pocahontas, which means ?Little Mischief?. She probably saw white men for the first time in May 1607 when Englishmen landed at Jamestown. The one she found most likable was Captain John Smith. Smith was leading an expedition in December 1607 when he was taken prisoner by some Indians. He was taken to Chief Powhatan and later forced to stretch out on two large, flat stones ready to be executed. Suddenly, Pocahontas rushed in and took Smith?s head in her arms and laid her own upon his to save his life. Powhatan and Smith eventually became friends and adopted Smith as his son, or subordinate chief.
Pocahontas was a frequent visitor to Jamestown a, delivering messages from her father and accompanied Indian bringing food and furs to trade for hatchets and trinkets. She admired Smith very much and would talk with him during her visits. Unfortunately, relations with the Powhatans worsened. Even though she had been allowed to come and ho as she pleased, Pocahontas? visits to the fort became much less frequent. In October 1609, Smith was badly injured by a gun powder explosion and was forced to return to England. When Pocahontas made her next visit to the fort, she was told that her beloved Smith was dead.
In 1613, at the instigation of Captain Samual Argall, Pocahontas was kidnapped with the help of Japazaws. The plan was to hold her for ransom. Argall sent word to Powhaten that he would return his daughter only when the chief returned the British soldiers being held by her father. After some time Powhatan sent part of the ransom and asked that they treat his daughter well. Argall returned to Jamestown with Pocahontas, where she was given relative freedom within the settlement. It was there that she began her education in Christian Faith, and that she met John Rolfe in July 1613. One year later John Rolfe declared his love for Pocahontas and his desire to marry her. Sometime prior to her wedding on April 5, 1614, she was baptized and given the name ?Lady Rebecca Rolfe.?
In the spring of 1616, Rolfe, his wife, and their young son, Thomas, left for England where the Virginia Company was anxious to use her to attract investors for their New World ventures. Pocahontas became a huge sensation and was presented at the court of King James I and to English society. At one social gathering she was reunited with John Smith after not seeing him for nearly eight years. She was very shocked to see that he was alive after all those years.
In March 1617, Rolfe decided to return his family to Virginia. It was soon aparent, however, that Pocahontas wouldn?t survive the trip home. She became terribly ill. Pocahontas ws taken ashore and comforted her husband and child wither her last few dying words: ?All must die. ?Tis enough that the child livith.? She died at the age of 21 and buried in a churchyard at Gravesend, England.