The true story of Pocahontas is not one of romance, but is instead a tale of broken
spirit and broken trust.
Tidewater Virginia is defined by tidal rivers that flow from
the Chesapeake Bay into the interior of the state, most prominently the James River,
York River and the Potomac. The name of the seventeenth-century ruler of this entire
area was Wahunsonacock, his title, Powhatan. Under Powhatan's command were more than
thirty lesser chiefs each of whom governed a specific tribe. All paid homage and
taxes to their leader. Powhatan maintained homes and families within each tribe,
but his principal residence, located on the York River, was called Werowocomoco.
There he raised a daughter whom he named Matoaka or "Little Snow Feather." As a child,
she was given the nick-name of Pocahontas.
Pocahontas was exuberant, undisciplined
and full of life when the English arrived in 1607. . . untamed as the Virginia landscape
Laws Divine, Moral & Martial was a strict “Christian” code written by William
Strachey, secretary of the Virginia Company. These rules came complete with an elaborate
code of punishments for the slightest infraction. Strachey was shocked and disgusted
that a half-naked, 10-year-old girl was allowed to run and play with the boys of
her village. His response was to forever brand the child as unchaste by recording
in his history of 1612 the name Pocahontas as “wanton.” Chief Roy Crazy Horse, present-day
Chief of the Powhatan Renape Nation, translates the girl's nickname to mean simply
“naughty, spoiled child.”
Notable Virginia Women: Read more about Pocahontas
There was a bead of leaves and broken play There was a veil upon you, Pocahontas,
bride O Princess whose brown lap was virgin May And bridal flanks and eyes hid tawny