*Includes pictures and illustrations.
*Explains the controversies and debates over their relationship.
*Explains the literary evolution of their legacies.
*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
John Smith is one of the most common names in the English language and akin to the use of John Doe, but every Briton and American is familiar with the explorer and mercenary Captain John Smith, who helped found the first permanent British colony in the New World at Jamestown in 1607. From there, he went on to become the first Englishman to explore New England, and it was Smith who named the Chesapeake Bay. He wrote several accounts of his exploration and his time spent in the New World, becoming one of the first and most invaluable primary sources on European settlement in North America.
In America, John Smith is better known for his association with the Native American princess Pocahontas.Smith’s central role in the establishment of the British colonies has helped obscure the more controversial elements of his story, including his time as a mercenary in Turkey. Naturally, the conflicts between English settlers and the Native Americans were also glossed over for a long time. Today, historians have a much more mixed view of Smith’s career and legacy.
The life of Pocahontas fulfills a specific role in American culture and history. Her short life holds a bittersweet tragedy that is part of the mythology of Native America, especially the first encounters between English settlers and the local native tribes. 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.
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.
The Lives, Legends, and Legacies of Pocahontas & John Smith chronicles the life and travels of the English explorer, as well as the life and travails of the Native American princess. It also analyzes their reputations and legacies. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about Pocahontas and John Smith like never before.