*Includes pictures of historic art depicting Pocahontas and important people and places in her life.
*Discusses John Smith's accounts of Pocahontas, the Mattaponi Native Americans' oral histories of Pocahontas, and the sharp differences between them.
*Analyzes the legends surrounding Pocahontas and how her legacy was shaped.
*Includes a Bibliography for further reading.
*Includes a Table of Contents.
“So it is, that some ten years ago being in Virginia, and taken prisoner by the power of Powhatan their chief King, I received from this great Savage exceeding great courtesy, especially from his son Nantaquaus, the most manliest, comeliest, boldest spirit, I ever saw in a Savage, and his sister Pocahontas, the King’s most dear and well-beloved daughter, being but a child of twelve or thirteen years of age, whose compassionate pitiful heart, of my desperate estate, gave me much cause to respect her.” – John Smith in a letter to Queen Anne, 1616
A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history’s most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors’ American Legends series, readers can get caught up to speed on the lives of America’s most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
The life of Pocahontas fulfills a specific role in American culture and history. Her short life came to symbolize the first encounters between English settlers and the local native tribes, and the meaning of her name, “little plaything” or “little wanton,” suggests that she was destined to be bandied about by the powers in her life. The men of the time simply assumed a young Native American girl did not deserve or even want respect.
She had other many names, however, some which would have never been known to people outside her tribe, let alone European colonists. What historians do know is Pocahontas was also known as Matoaka, she was born sometime in 1595, and she was the daughter of the paramount chief (mamanatowick) Powhatan, leader of an Algonquian-speaking native group. She grew up in Tsenacommacha, the “densely inhabited Land” of eastern Virginia, where English explorers and settlers under the leadership of Lord Newport yearned to find a passage to the “other sea”. The English settlers were also ready to play the role of the legendary Spanish conquistadors and hoping to find hidden gold in the region.
Nevertheless, generations of Americans and English have been taught that Pocahontas was part of a unique fairy tale, saving the life of explorer John Smith and later becoming his wife. While their relationship has been the subject of countless historical texts and even children’s books, it has no historical basis in fact. There is still even some doubt over whether she saved his life in the famous encounter that has ensured her name remains instantly recognizable nearly 400 years after her death.
American Legends: The Life of Pocahontas profiles the life and legacy of the famous Native American girl woman, including the known and unknown, while analyzing her lasting legacy. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about Pocahontas like you never have before, in no time at all.