Pocahontas: A Legendary Woman

By: Macy Lee Cansler

Birth - Death: Her Full on Legacy

In 1596, a baby girl named Amonute was born. She was given a secret name, Matoaka, given to her by her father. Her father was the powerful tribe leader of the people of Werowocomoco, and had many wives, at least one hundred children, and plenty of grandchildren. Amonute lived in her mom's village and was known as Pocahontas. It is debated what her name means. Some say it means naughty or spoiled, others say that it means playful. She loved running around, turning cartwheels, and helping other women with their work. Her clothing was deerskin clothing and she lived in a yehaking, a house made of reeds, saplings, and tree bark. Every morning she bathed in the river, then she would help the women with anything she could help with.

When she was ten, she moved back to her father's village and started to do more hardcore jobs such as cleaning and tanning deer hides, canoeing, and gathering reeds to make mats. She helped cook and prepare foods, roasted meat, and helped her step-mothers with their chores as well. She met John Smith in December of 1607. Smith was an English settler that had come to Virginia. He was captured by Powhatan warriors and was brought to Powhatan, who was dressed in many deerskins and wore jewelry made of shells, copper, and pearls. The village gave him a feast then laid his head between two rocks and prepared to murder him. It is unknown why Powhatan did this, but it is theorized that he was trying to show he had power over the English men. Pocahontas loved him and laid her hand under his head, laid her own head on his, pleaded to her father saying, " I won't! I love him, Father. Look around you. This is where the path of hatred has brought us. This is the path I choose, Father. What will yours be?"

Pocahontas later became better friends with John and bribed him to let prisoners from her tribe free. Pocahontas, with the help of tribe mates, gave food to the people of Jamestown during the winter. John Smith left for another voyage in 1609 and Pocahontas was told that he was dead. She stopped coming to Jamestown after that.

About four years later she was found near an English town and became a prisoner. Powhatan found out and tried to bribe the English, but they refused and Powhatan left her with the English. She started to dress like the English, live like them, and got baptized with her English name Rebecca. She met John Rolfe and married him in April 1614. The next year Pocahontas gave birth to her son Thomas. In 1616 she traveled with her family on a ship to England. They were joined by some of the Powhatan people. They landed in June and were taken through London in a carriage. She went to a party on one occasion and met the king of England. On the journey back to Virginia, she became deathly ill and died on that journey.

People in Her Life

Her Journey From Tribe Princess to English Woman is Inspiring

How She Impacted the World

Pocahontas represented her tribe to the English men before she was a teenager. She showed how people can change drastically. She survived English jail at a very young age, saved a man over ten years older than her, became a political figure, and met the King of England himself. It's hard to imagine what it would be like for my parents to give up on m and leave me with a bunch of strangers. She brought peace to Werowocomoco between her tribe and the English. Through everything that happened to her she still had faith. One of the most inspiring parts is that when she did this she was a kid. She left her legacy behind for all generations to come. Her death came very early at age twenty-two and did more than most fifty years olds. Not much education was ever offered to her and yet look at what she pulled off.

Rebecca Pocahontas Amonute Matoaka Rolfe

Originally from Werowocomoco, VI, Pocahontas (aka Rebecca) lives in London and is about to sail back to Virginia at age twenty-two with her child, Thomas, and her husband John Rolfe. Very tanned but is still pretty. Her father was the powerful tribe leader of the Powhatan.