Amerindians EXTRA – The story of Pocahontas

Pocahontas was born in 1595, in the Eastern part of what we now call the USA. In 1607, English explorers arrived, made a colony and named it Virginia (in the honor of Queen Elizabeth I, the “Virgin Queen”).

Pocahontas was a Native American. Native Americans hunted and farmed for food. They hunted deer, went fishing and grew crops in their fields. Pocahontas was like a princess as her father was the leader of the Powhatan tribe. He was a very important chief.

Pocahontas lived in a wooden “long house” which was built of wood and bark. Inside fire was burning in the middle of the floor. The long house was home to several families. A Native American village had several long houses which were surrounded by a fence.

The colonists built a fort and village called Jamestown.  The Native Americans welcomed them at first and Pocahontas learnt to speak English. The Powhatans traded with the English, and Pocahontas carried messages to them. The Native Americans showed the English how to hunt and grow crops.

The most famous, but not surely true story about Pocahontas was told by Captain John Smith, the leader of the colonists. According to Smith, he was taken prisoner by the Powhatan. As a Powhatan raised his war-club to execute Smith, Pocahontas ran there and begged for his life.

By 1613, the colonists and the Native Americans started fighting. The English kidnapped Pocahontas and held her hostage. They wanted to exchange her for English prisoners and guns taken by the Indians. While being a prisoner, Pocahontas became Christian and got a new name, Rebecca. She met a colonist called John Rolfe who married her some months later and they had a son called Thomas. Their marriage stopped the fights.

In 1616, Pocahontas went to England. They sailed over in a small, wooden ship, the “Treasurer”. Pocahontas was a great success in England, everyone wanted to meet her. She and  her family spent seven months travelling around. Unfortunately, Pocahontas never saw her home again. On the voyage back to Virginia she became ill, she caught smallpox. The ship turned back to England, but Pocahontas died. She was 22 years old.

 

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