INTRODUCTION
pocahontasreallife.jpgAs Pocahontas once said, "Sometimes the right path is not the easiest." Known as one of the most influential Native American in history Pocahontas helped bring peace to settlers and other Native Americans. She lived a peaceful life in her father’s village learning all she would need to function when the English arrived. She formed bonds quickly with the English and was seen as a trustworthy companion. As time went by Pocahontas helped the English and her people find neutral ground to ensure conflict did not arise. She brought many surprises to those around her but it was all cut short when she died of smallpox.



PERSONAL BACKGROUND
Pocahontas was born sometime in 1595 though the exact date was unknown. Her real name was Matoaka or Amonute in less formal settings. Pocahontas was merely a nickname given to her by her father, which stood for “playful one”(Stebbins). Pocahontas was the youngest and favorite daughter of Chief Powhatan and although she had countless older siblings none of them are on record (Morenus). When Pocahontas was young she was sent to her mothers village until a reasonable age along with some of her older siblings to later return to her fathers capital. Pocahontas’ mother died when she was sill young leaving her in her fathers care. She learned all the basic knowledge every women in the tribe must know such as plant classification and preparation to responsibilities she will need to preform for her father. She was around ten when the English first arrived though she did not make contact until she was twelve. Her first encounter was when she saved John Smith from execution. She got close to the English and they became friends. She was good pocahontas converts to christianity lol.jpgfriends with John Smith but friends was all they were. Pocahontas was married once before in 1610 to a warrior named Kokum who died due to an unknown cause. Pocahontas continued to act as the mediator between her people and the English though problems did emerge. At one point Pocahontas was taken captive aboard a merchants ship to be used as a bargaining tool in order to get supplies fro her father (Bulla). Though she was held captive Pocahontas took the opportunity to learn English and Christianity. While still captive Pocahontas was baptized under the name Rebecca. While aboard she met an English farmer by
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the name of John Rolfe. They were both taken with one another very quickly and spent most of their time together. when she was finally allowed to leave she told her father she would remain with the English (Crazyhorse). She later married John Rolf on April 5,1614 bringing about a time of peace many only dreamed of. Pocahontas lived with John in England and gave birth to her son Thomas Rolf in 1615. Pocahontas was very well liked among the English and caught the eyes of the king and queen who invited her to London. On her way home she grew ill very rapidly leading the crew to pull into a port for medical attention (Morenus). Pocahontas died of smallpox in march 1617 in Gravesend, United Kingdom. With her death came the deterioration of relations between the Native Americans and the English (Stebbins).



PERSONALITY TRAITS
With the way Matoaka expressed her playful nature it was indeed no surprise when her father gave her the nickname Pocahontas. Pocahontas displayed her frolicsome nature openly and often showed signs of innocence. These notions vanished when she showed her mischievous nature (stebbins). She was often thought of as a naughty child because of it. Though this may be because she tended to pull tricks on the villagers of her hometown. Pocahontas was a stubborn little girl and all the villages knew that well. She was headstrong but reasonable when considering her views (Morenus). This made it so that she was open minded and could adapt to different ways of thinking. Pocahontas may have been headstrong but she was a gentle soul who honestly cared about people and how to help them (Crazyhourse). It was this caring nature that led her to want to help the settlers when they first arrived. She was determined to help them survive in her land even when they were merely strangers. She was very sympathetic with the settlers and spent much time teaching them how to stay safe (Morenus). Pocahontas was trusting of them and grew close to them quickly. Pocahontas grew attached to them and saw them as close friends. Pocahontas was determined to help both her people and her new friends get along (Stebbins).


OBSTACLES
Pocahontas faced many challenges throughout her life. Just because she was the chiefs youngest daughter did not mean that she was coddled. She had her responsibilities as a woman to that she often fought against (Stebbins). When she first met the colonists it was when she was defending an Englishman from being executed making it seem as if her people were savages (Morenus). The settlers accepted her because she accepted them warmly while the rest of her people were somewhat wary (Crazyhourse). At the beginning relations were a bit tense because of the scenario with John Smith but over time they began to get along. Powhatan and his people would help the English by sharing some of their crops to ensure the settlers were properly fed (Stebbins). This changed when a drought made it difficult for the Native Americans to feed themselves. Unfortunately the food that the Native Americans were providing was what was keeping them from starving (Morenus). Powhatan told the English that they could no longer provide food but this led to arguments and fights. The English began to attack villages taking food and killing villagers in the process. Pocahontas began to talk to both her father and the English to try and appease them. Though this did not bode well because Pocahontas was later taken hostage by the English to be used as a bartering tool to get supplies quickly (Woodward). In the end she decided to stay with the English but when her time came she took all hope for peace with her (Stebbins).



HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE
Pocahontas stood for many things but overall she represented pocahontas saves john smith jooyyy.jpg
peace between Native Americans and English. Pocahontas first made a sudden appearance when she saved John Smith from execution. From that single act it paved a road of trust between her and the English (Bulla). This trust allowed her to get closer to the English fairly easily. Pocahontas would visit them often and spend time with them. From there she would give them advice on how to proceed when exploring the land (Morenus). She helps to show them the way to use the land to its fullest potential rather than waste time. She helped to convince her father to provide the English with food when they first arrived when they were still unsure of their abilities to survive on their own. As time passed the English became accustomed to the land and were able to fend for themselves (Stebbins). Though they still relied partly on Powhatan’s people to provide them with food every now and then. Though there were rough spots when they would disagree Pocahontas manage to sooth them so that they could talk about their problems (Crazyhorse). Her peaceful thoughts often led them from violence to negotiations. Though when a drought hits the villagers it made it hard for them to produce enough food for them selves let alone the settlers. This led to food shortages with the English making it harder for them to survive. The food shortages led to acts of violence in the form of raids leaving Native Americans injured or without a place to live (Stebbins). As time passed the drought receded leaving feelings of bitterness with both sides over the things that happened. Powhatan and his people excluding Pocahontas felt that the English could no longer be trusted after what they did. The English in turn thought that the Native Americans could have done more to help them rather than what little they did during their hard times (Crazyhorse). Pocahontas spoke with both the English and her people and helped as a mediator when they were dissatisfied with what the other was saying. As time passed relations got relatively better. For some time Pocahontas was held as a bargaining tool to get more out of a deal with Powhatan but in the process she got closer to John Rolfe who was aboard the ship (Woodward). She fell in love with him and later converted to Christianity changing her name to Rebecca. She later married John Rolfe ushering an era of peace never before seen by her people and the English. Pocahontas was a well-liked individual among the English but it all took a turn for the worst when she died on her way back to Virginia. The day Pocahontas died is the day relations plummeted. With her death, hope for peace was lost (Stebbins).


SOURCES


Bulla, Clyde Robert. " Pocahontas and the Strangers. " Scholastic. Web. 10 December 2014.


Crazyhorse, Roy. "the Pocahontas Myth." Powhatan Renape Nation. web. 15 September 2014.
http://www.powhatan.org/pocc.html


Morenus, David. "The Real Pocahontas". Morenus. Web. 15 october. 2014
http://pocahontas.morenus.org/

Rountree, Helen C. "Pocahontas (d.1617)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Web.

Stebbins, Sarah J. "Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend." Historic Jamestown. Web.6 November 2014

Woodward, Grace Steele. "Pocahontas" Virtual Jamestown. Web. 19 November 2014.