Born around 1596, Pocahontas was the daughter of Wahunsenaca (also known as Powhatan ), the powerful chief of the Powhatans, a Native American group that inhabited the Chesapeake Bay region. Little is known about her mother.
The Powhatan Indian lands encompassed all of the tidewater Virginia area, from the south side of the James River north to the Potomac River, and parts of the Eastern Shore, an area they called Tsenacommacah. Its span was approximately 100 miles by 100 miles.
The Powhatan Indians were a group of Eastern Woodland Indians who occupied the coastal plain of Virginia. They were sometimes referred to as Algonquians because of the Algonquian language they spoke and because of their common culture. Some words we use today, such as moccasin and tomahawk, came from this language.
Many of the Powhatan tribes no longer existed by 1722. The Rappahannocks lost their reservation shortly after 1700; the Chickahominies lost their reservation in 1718; and the Nansemonds sold their reservation in 1792. The Pamunkey and Mattaponi reservations are two of the oldest in the nation.
The term “princess” was often mistakenly applied to the daughters of tribal chiefs or other community leaders by early American colonists who mistakenly believed that Indigenous people shared the European system of royalty.
The only life portrait of Pocahontas (1595–1617) and the only credible image of her, was engraved by Simon Van de Passe in 1616 while she was in England, and was published in John Smith’s Generall Historie of Virginia in 1624. Then Pocahontas warned Smith of another plot to kill him.
Treaty of 1646 In October 1646 the General Assembly of Virginia signed a peace treaty with Necotowance, King of the Indians, which brought the Third Anglo- Powhatan War to an end. In the treaty, the tribes of the Confederacy became tributaries to the King of England, paying a yearly tribute to the Virginia governor.
The Powhatans lost their political independence after being defeated by the English in the 1644-46 Anglo- Powhatan War. Powhatans continued to live in the Virginia coastal plain as they had done for centuries, but after the war, their chiefs ruled under the authority of the English royal governor.
Despite all these odds, however, the Powhatan have survived. Today there are eight Powhatan Indian-descended tribes recognized by the State of Virginia. These tribes are still working to obtain Federal recognition. Another band called the Powhatan Renape to have official headquarters in New Jersey.
The impacts the War of 1812 had on tribes were simply devastating. Losing Indian lands resulted in a loss of cultural identity, as tribes relied on their homelands as the place of ancestral burial locations and sacred sites where religious ceremonies were performed.
At the time English colonists arrived in the spring of 1607, coastal Virginia was inhabited by the Powhatan Indians, an Algonquian-speaking people.
In 1607, 104 English men and boys arrived in North America to start a settlement. On May 13 they picked Jamestown, Virginia for their settlement, which was named after their King, James I.
The winter of 1609–10, commonly known as the Starving Time, took a heavy toll. Of the 500 colonists living in Jamestown in the autumn, fewer than one- fifth were still alive by March 1610.
Wahunsenacawh, commonly known as Chief Powhatan of the Powhatan people, was the supreme ruler of most of the indigenous tribes in the Chesapeake Bay region in 1607.