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Pocahontas, later known as Rebecca Rolfe, was a native American Princess born around 1595 in Werowocomoco, Virginia. She is notable for saving John Smith and being married to John Rolfe, which permanently linked her to America’s colonial heritage.
See the fact file below for more information on the Pocahontas or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Pocahontas worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Matoaka was Pocahontas’s birth name and she later went by the name Amonute. She had a peaceful and happy childhood and earned the nickname Pocahontas, which means “playful one”.
- Pocahontas’s father was a chief of the Powhatan tribal nation, a large confederation of Native American tribes that populated much of eastern Virginia.
- Pocahontas’ childhood wasn’t different to that of most Native American girls despite being the chief’s daughter. She still learned how to make a fire, cook, and hunt for food such as berries and nuts in the woods.
- The first English settlers arrived in Jamestown on an island at the edge of Powhatan lands in May 1607. The relationship between the Powhatan people and the strangers was tense.
- They usually traded with strangers and sometimes they fought.
POCAHONTAS AND JOHN SMITH
- That winter, the captain of the Jamestown settlement, John Smith, was kidnapped by Pocahontas’ brother.
- According to Smith, his head was placed underneath 2 stones and someone was ready to smash his head and kill him. But as the warrior was about to strike, Pocahontas rushed to Smith’s side and put her head on him, preventing the strike. Chief Powhatan then agreed to let Captain Smith go.
- After Pocahontas saved John Smith, the relation between the Powhatan and the settlers improved. They traded with each other and Pocahontas often visited the Jamestown fort to talk to John Smith.
- In 1609, severe hunger, drought, and disease destroyed the colonists.
- They became more reliant on the Powhatan to survive.
- They threatened to burn Powhatan towns for food, so Chief Powhatan tried to bargain with Captain Smith.
- When agreements failed, the chief planned to ambush and kill Smith.
- However, Pocahontas informed Smith of her father’s plans and saved his life twice.
- Later, Smith was harmed and retreated to England, though Pocahontas and her father were informed that he died.
- It is believed that Pocahontas married an Indian named Kocoum in 1610.
- In 1613, Pocahontas was abducted by English Captain Samuel Argall.
- Argall told the chief that he would return Pocahontas if they freed some of the English prisoners being taken by the Powhatan, returned stolen weaponry and gave the colonists food.
- The negotiations between the two parties took a long time. Her father only gave half the ransom and left her imprisoned.
- While being held captive, Pocahontas met John Rolfe, a tobacco farmer, and later fell in love. Even after the chief paid the ransom, she chose to live with the English.
- Pocahontas was baptized a Christian and was given the name “Rebecca”.
- On April 5, 1614, she wedded John Rolfe at the church in Jamestown.
- About one year later, she gave birth to their son, Thomas.
- It is uncertain what happened to Pocahontas’ first husband, but divorce was granted in Powhatan culture.
- Their marriage was considered an important step in restoring positive relations between the colonists and the Indians.
LIFE IN ENGLAND
- In 1616, a few years after getting married, Pocahontas and John Rolfe sailed to London.
- While in London, Pocahontas was treated like a princess and referred to as “Lady Rebecca Wolfe”. She went to various plays and balls and was even introduced to the royal family.
- Pocahontas was able to meet King James I of England and even John Smith, whom she had believed was dead.
- Pocahontas reportedly scolded Smith for his treatment of Chief Powhatan and her people.
- The Virginia Company ordered a portrait of Matoaka wearing fancy garments with an engraved tag that aforesaid, “Matoaka, alias Rebecca, daughter of the most powerful prince of the Powhatan Empire of Virginia”. It is the sole image drawn of her in person.
DEATH AND LEGACY
- In March 1617, Pocahontas and her family set sail back to Virginia, but she soon became very sick and was taken ashore at Gravesend, England.
- Unfortunately, she died in March 1617 in Gravesend, England, from an unknown disease.
- Rolfe sailed back to Virginia, having left his also-ailing son, Thomas, with relatives in England. He returned around 20 years later to claim inheritance from his father and grandfather, and became the wealthiest tobacco farmer in the New World.
- Chief Powhatan died about a year later and connections between the Powhatan and Virginia colonists declined swiftly.
- Pocahontas lived a brief yet significant life.
- She became an instrument to maintain relations between her tribe and the Jamestown colonists. She was the first Powhatan Indian to convert to Christianity, and left an indelible impression on colonial America.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Pocahontas across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Pocahontas worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Pocahontas, later known as Rebecca Rolfe, who was a native American Princess born around 1595 in Werowocomoco, Virginia. She is notable for saving John Smith and being married to John Rolfe, which permanently linked her to America’s colonial heritage.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Pocahontas Facts
- Getting to Know Pocahontas
- Her Names
- Timeline of Pocahontas
- Truth or Lie?
- Similar but Unique
- Expectation v Reality
- Boys in Her Life
- Pocahontas’ Legacy
- Puzzle Time
- My Life as Pocahontas
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Link will appear as Pocahontas Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 16, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.