How Did Pocahontas Became a Legendary Figure?
Pocahontas (born Matoaka, known as Amonute, c. 1596–1617) was a Native American notable for her association with the colonial settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. Pocahontas was the daughter of Powhatan, the paramount chief of a network of tributary tribal nations in the Tsenacommacah, encompassing the Tidewater region of Virginia.
Pocahontas became a legendary figure by saving the life of Captain John Smith, leader of the American settlers of Jamestown, Virginia. Smith was captured by a Red Indian tribe and condemned to death. But as he was stretched out on the sacrificial stone, Pocahontas, the little daughter of Chief Powhatan, threw herself on his body and pleaded successfully for his life.
In April 1613, when she was still only about 18, Pocahontas was kidnapped by a settler called Samuel Argall, became a Christian and was baptized with the name of Rebecca. She helped to bring about peace between the settlers and the Indians and married one of the colonists, John Rolfe, and in January 1615, bore their son, Thomas Rolfe.
In 1616 the governor of the colony, Sir Thomas Dale, took Pocahontas and her husband to London to advertise the London Company of Virginia. She was much admired, invited to many balls and parties, and was presented at court.
Pocahontas died during the return journey and was buried at Gravesend of unknown causes. She was buried in a church in Gravesend in the United Kingdom, but the exact location of her grave is unknown. Her son Thomas later settled in Virginia.
Numerous places, landmarks, and products in the United States have been named after Pocahontas. Her story has been romanticized over the years, and she is a subject of art, literature, and film. Her descendants, through her son Thomas, include members of the First Families of Virginia, First Lady Edith Wilson, American Western actor Glenn Strange, and astronomer Percival Lowell.