She was born into a culture that had some knowledge of Europeans, and after settling on the outskirts of the territory controlled by her father, she was apparently drawn to these particular strangers. A number of the chroniclers of the Jamestown founding mention her by name and note her interactions with the English settlers. The Powhatan girl, who was reported to have saved John Smith from execution and to have enjoyed cartwheeling naked with the young boys of the Jamestown settlement, would as a young woman be kidnapped as a political pawn, converted to Christianity, married to a settler and taken to England as an example of the potential of the New World for cultural indoctrination. It was among members of her adopted nation that she took sick and died at age 22, as she attempted to return to her homeland. This study examines the historical evidence about Pocahontas and compares it to the mythology as recorded by artists and writers.
Author: William M.S. Rasmussen