What was Pocahontass real name
Pocahontas: Between Myth and Reality
Pocahontas is probably the best known Indian next to Karl May's "Winnetou". Her real story, however, is different from what is described in fairy tale books and films.
Everyone knows the Walt Disney films of princesses from all over the world. Mulan, Cinderella and Arielle are characters loved by children and adults alike.
The Indian Pocahontas is also one of these famous Disney princesses. And their character is based on a real person. But their story was very different from what is shown in the film. The Disney classic "Pocahontas" takes up the original setting and the ethnicity of the characters, but everything else is largely fictitious.
Pocahontas was actually an Indian, that's right. She was the daughter of Chief Wahunsonacock, also known as Powhatan, and one of his wives.
But Pocahontas was not her real name. Her name was Amonute and she also had the more private name Matoaka. The well-known name Pocahontas was her nickname, which means something like "the playful one" or "the one who messes everything up".
Love with John Smith is pure invention
Little is known of her life before she met the pioneers from Europe. It is only said that she was her father's favorite daughter.
John Smith, also embodied in the Disney film, is an English captain who was in love with Pocahontas. In truth, he was a mercenary and adventurer known as one of the founders of Jamestown on Chesapeake Bay, one of the first permanent English settlements in North America.
According to a report by John Smith, Pocahontas personally intervened to save him from death by getting in the way of her father. At least that is what the film really does - although there is some dispute about whether it was actually a real salvation or whether John Smith misinterpreted a ritual ceremony.
The tender romance that is ascribed to the two is fictitious. She was only about eleven or twelve years old at the time.
Pocahontas believed that a peaceful cultural exchange between her people and the whites of Europe must be possible, while her father and many others of her tribe were of exactly the opposite opinion.
That is why, if the story was true, she had probably saved John Smith, with whom she had not been in contact before. She served as translator and ambassador in peaceful exchanges.
Pocahontas married when she was 16 years old
After saving him from death, Pocahontas' father released the prisoner. He was accepted into the tribe as a "friend" of the Indians. Back in his settlement, he was named council president of Jamestown in 1609. After being seriously injured with gunpowder, he returned to England by ship.
The settlement on Chesapeake Bay was soon severely decimated by famine. The following year, at age 16, Pocahontas was married to a man named Kocoum.
Nothing is known about the Indian except that he allegedly died within the next three years. Some claim that she gave birth to a child while she was with him. However, nothing more is known about this.
Jamestown had recovered by 1612 when another captain, Samuel Argall, brought reinforcements to the settlement and searched for food among the surrounding tribes of the Potomac River.
At that time, Pocahontas also visited these tribes. Argall came up with the idea of using them as leverage against Powhatan, who was holding eight British prisoners at the time.
With the help of a tribal chief and his wife, he got Pocahontas to get on his ship and take him to Jamestown.
Hostage taking was romanticized
There she was treated like a guest and she was assured that her stay would contribute to friendship and trust between the settlers and the Indians.
Many critics accuse the Disney film of romanticizing the kidnapping of a young girl in order to put the oppression of the Indians by the settlers in a better light.
During the following year as a prisoner of Argall, theologian and trainee lawyer Alexander Whitaker, a Calvinist, saw to it that she was instructed in the Christian faith.
She also met 28-year-old John Rolfe, who had lived in the settlement with his wife. His child had died before the long voyage to America and his wife had died a short time after their arrival in Jamestown. He was a farmer and the first colonist to grow tobacco, which greatly enhanced the welfare of the settlement.
Falling in love with Pocahontas, Rolfe asked Governor Sir Thomas Dale, with whom she was staying in Jamestown during the time, for her hand. He used the opportunity to connect the settlers with the Indians more closely and allowed marriage.
Second marriage to John Rolfe
Pocahontas' father also agreed to the engagement and sent two of his sons as witnesses and their uncle as bride and groom. Since she had been instructed in the Christian faith, she had also been baptized - under the name Rebecca. On April 5, 1614, she married John Rolfe.
When Sir Thomas Dale sailed back to England in 1616, he took Pocahontas, her husband and their child Thomas with him.
In June of the same year the trip ended at Plymouth. In the foreign country Pocahontas was admired with great curiosity, the Bishop of London even invited her to dinner.
She was seen as the "Indian princess", the "noble savage" and even brought before the king and his court during her time in England. However, she soon fell ill and the family moved to Brentford, ensuring a better recovery.
John Smith, who survived the injury and returned safely to his homeland, visited her a few months before sailing back to New England.
According to his recording, he described Pocahontas as "unhappy" for turning away and hiding her face. Allegedly she also said that she wanted to call him father, just as he had addressed her with that word when he came into contact with the Indians as a stranger.
She never returned home
In November 1616, Pocahontas was to return to America with her husband and son. Samuel Argall had been appointed Deputy Governor of Virginia. In the same winter a picture of her in court costume was made.
At the time, she was already sick. Argall's ship set sail from London in mid-March 1617. The last time it was to take food and fresh water before the long drive to America, it stopped at Gravesend.
There Pocahontas was brought ashore again, either by this time she was already dead or was lying on her deathbed. She likely died of tuberculosis, pneumonia, or smallpox. Pocahontas was only 22 years old.
She was buried in St. George's Church and there is a short entry for her in the grave book. "March 21st - Rebecca Rolfe, wife of Mr. John Rolfe. A native lady from Virginia, she was buried under the pulpit" - this is the approximate translation.
Since the church has now burned down, the exact location of her grave is unknown.
Her father died soon afterwards, and her husband took a third wife. Through her son Thomas, Pocahontas has several famous descendants, including former First Lady Nancy Reagan, actors Glenn Strange and George W. Bush.
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