Pocahontas was “the most deare and wel-beloved” daughter of Powhatan, the powerful chief of the Algonquian Indians in the Tidewater region of Virginia. The man also known as Wahunsonacock was the supreme ruler of most of the tribes from north of the Mattaponi River, a tributary of the York River, to the lands south of the James River. Chief Powhatan was the highest authority the colonists faced when they landed in 1607.

Pocahontas was born around 1595 to one of Powhatan’s many wives. They named her Matoaka, though she is better known as Pocahontas, which means “Little Wanton,” a playful, frolicsome little girl.