In 1608, Captain John Smith, one of the leaders of the English settlement at Jamestown in Virginia, was captured by Indians. According to a book Smith wrote in later years, he was about to be clubbed to death when Pocahontas, “the king’s dearest daughter…got his head in her arms and laid her own upon his to save him from death.”
No one knows for sure if Smith’s story is true. Yet there is no doubt that Pocahontas was a young princess of the Powhatan tribe who befriended the settlers, helped them in many ways, and convinced her father, the chief, to give the foreigners food during the harsh winter.
Relations between the Indians and the settlers were not good, however. In 1613, Pocahontas was taken hostage by the settlers. During her stay in the colony, Pocahontas learned English and became a Christian. Her marriage to John Rolfe, a tobacco planter, resulted in an eight year truce between Indians and settlers.
In 1616, Pocahontas traveled to England with her husband. She was treated like royalty by the English, who found her charming and beautiful. But before she could return to Virginia in 1617, she was taken ill and died at the age of 22.
Pocahontas’ real name as Matoaka. “Pocahontas” was a nickname meaning “the playful one.” After she was married, Pocahontas was known as Lady Rebecca Rolfe.