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The Real Pocahontas
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Have you seen the animated film "Pocahontas"? It tells the story of the daughter of Powhatan, the most powerful Indian chief of coastal Virginia in the early 1600s. Even today, the story of Pocahontas fascinates people.
Pocahontas was only about 10 years old when her world changed forever. English settlers arrived from far across the ocean and created a settlement at Jamestown, Virginia.
These new English settlers looked and acted very differently from Powhatan's tribe.
Some of Pocahontas's people were afraid or even hateful of the newcomers. But the chief's daughter had a curious mind and a friendly manner. She wanted to know more about these newcomers.
"Pocahontas - ©Disney"
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Pocahontas got to know and make friends with the new colonists. Her warm nature and natural curiosity led the English to like and trust her, as well.
One of the colonists, Captain John Smith, said that her appearance, intelligence, and friendly personality "much exceedeth any of the rest of Powhatan's people."
But not all of Powhatan's people were so curious and friendly.
In December 1607, Captain Smith was captured and held at Chief Powhatan's capitol, Werowocomoco.
Smith later reported that Pocahontas heroically saved his life by throwing herself between him and his executioners and convincing her father to free him.
Many historians question whether this story is actually true.
Smith's account of the rescue was not published until 1624, many years later.
Can you think of any other stories from history that most people believe never happened? What about the story of George Washington and the cherry tree?
Captain Smith was later adopted as an honorary "son" by Powhatan.
But that was not the only time that Pocahontas would risk her life and the favor of her tribe to protect her new English friends.
A Child of Peace - "A Child Keeps the Peace Between Nations"
The Princess Prisoner - "Living in a New World"
Pocahontas Profile - "Pocahontas Was One of the First Peacekeepers in the New World"
Source:Library of Congress