November 15, 2001

The Princess Prisoner

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The English settlers at Jamestown, Virginia, called America “The New World.” But for Pocahontas it was the settlers who brought a new world of language, dress, and culture.

Pocahontas made some friends among the settlers, but when war broke out between the Powhatan Indians and the English colonists in 1613, Pocahantas was found visiting the Patawomeke tribe and was taken prisoner.

The English were certain that her father would ransom his daughter and settle the war. Do you know what happened?

 

Pocahontas in Europe

Her father refused to pay the ransom, and Pocahontas was held hostage by the English for a year.

But Pocahontas was well liked and respected by her captors, and she was well treated.

During that time, the colonists convinced Pocahontas to convert to Christianity, and she was baptized with the name “Rebecca.”

In April 1614, Pocahontas married colonist John Rolfe. The marriage helped end the war between the Powhatans and the settlers.

She was a symbol of peace and union between the two races.

The English also hoped that her conversion to Christianity would help persuade all her people to do the same. Do you know what Pocahontas did next?

In 1616, Pocahontas, now called Rebecca, John Rolfe, and their young son, Thomas, traveled to England and visited the court of King James I.

The English were interested in Pocahontas because she was from the New World and they hoped her visit would help raise money to convert more Indians to Christianity.

While in England Pocahontas was able to visit with Captain John Smith, whom she had not seen in seven years.

Just as she was getting ready to return to Virginia, she became seriously ill.

She died in March 1617 and was buried with honors in the Church of St. George in Gravesend, England.

Pocahontas’s friends and family in both “worlds” grieved.

Captain John Smith said she had saved the Jamestown colony from “death, famine and utter confusion.”

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Source:Library of Congress

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