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Pocahontas (c.1595 ? March 21, 1617) was a princess of the Powhatan Indians (an Algonquian tribe) whose life has formed the basis of highly romanticized legends.
Her real name was Matoaka: 'Pocahontas' was actually a childhood nickname referring to her frolicsome nature (her name means "little wanton" or "playful frolicsome girl" in Powhatan language). She was the daughter of Emperor Powhatan, a Native American chief who controlled almost all of the Tidewater region of Virginia (called Tenakomakah at the time).
Because Pocahontas never learned to write, everything now known about her was transmitted to later generations by others and the thoughts, feelings, and motives of the historical Pocahontas remain largely unknown.
Her story has become the source of much romantic myth-making in the centuries following her death, the Disney movie Pocahontas being one example.
Pocahontas is said to have stopped her father from executing colonialist John Smith in the year 1607. The truth of this story cannot be verified; Pocahontas was only thirteen years old at the time and could not have known Smith for long, as he had arrived from England that year. Smith did not speak the Powhatan language at that time, and may have misunderstood what was actually happening. Smith's account was long considered to be a fabrication, in part because he never mentioned the event in any of the sundry monographs about the colony that he published in the twenty years following his return. Some recent researchers assert that there is little reason to doubt his veracity, but the more romanticized popular versions of the story are unquestionably dubious.
Whatever really happened, a friendly relationship with Smith and the rest of the colony of Jamestown, Virginia was initiated, and Pocahontas would often come to the settlement and ......

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