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10 Facts You Probably Never Learned About Pocahontas

6) She Met Her Second Husband While Being Held Prisoner

Pocahontas met her second husband while being held prisoner, a widower named John Rolfe (the same man who introduced tobacco to Virginia), and the two were married in 1614. During this year, she was converted to Christianity and took the the name Rebecca.

1840 depiction of Pocahontas' baptism

1840 painting of the baptism of Pocahontas. Via/ Wiki Commons

7) She Was An Example

Held up as a symbol of what Christianity could do for the “saving” of the American Indians, Rebecca Rolfe, as she was then known, was sent to England as proof of the methods of the Virginia Company in what could be compared to a publicity stunt by today’s standards – done in order to attract new investments.

8) We Don’t Actually Know How She Felt

Pocahontas arrived in England 1616 and her opinions of being put on display for the English are not exactly known since no writing of her own exists today, nor did any of her contemporary biographers bother to interview her or even try to guess her opinions.

marriage of Pocahontas and John Rolfe as depicted more than 250 years after the fact

Marriage of Pocahontas and John Rolfe as depicted more than 250 years after the fact. Via/ Library of Congress

9) She Died On Her Way Back Home

She died en route back to the U.S. on March 21, 1617 -possibly of tuberculosis- and her gravesite (under a church) was destroyed by fire ten years later.

10) She is a Part of Sacred Oral Tradition

Pocahontas is mentioned many times in the sacred Mattaponi oral tradition which has been transferred by word of mouth throughout the centuries. Mattaponi sacred oral text paints Pocahontas as deeply depressed at the time of her capture and subsequent marriage to Rolfe.

While her relationship with the English no doubt helped secure a more positive relationship between the English of the Jamestown settlement and the Tsenacommacah, her involvement with Captain John Smith is dubious as best. And, her year as a prisoner potentially puts her actions after that point under scrutiny for what they might been: coerced by the English men who controlled her fate.

If you enjoyed this then click the “Next Page” button for 8 strange historical facts they never teach in school!

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