Valentines Day is celebrated all over the world on 14th February. This day is associated with love. And when we are talking about love, how can we afford to forget about two of the greatest lovers- Pocahontas and John Smith.
Pocahontas , an Indian Princess was the daughter of Powhatan. 'Pocahontas' was a childhood nickname referring to her frolicsome nature; in the Powhatan language it meant "little wanton". Her father Powhatan was the powerful chief of the Algonquian Indians in the Tidewater region of Virginia.
It was in April/May 1607 when the English colonists arrived in Virginia and began building settlements. It was then that Pocahontas for the first time in her life saw Englishmen. Among them all, she found John Smith, one of the leading colonists, most attractive and developed a liking for him. The first meeting of Pocahontas and John Smith is a legendary story. It is believed that John Smith was leading an expedition in December 1607 when a group of Powhatan hunters took him captive and brought him to Werowocomoco, one of the chief villages of the Powhatan Empire. Smith was taken to the official residence of Powhattan and he was tortured. It was Pocahontas who saved his life from the attack of the Indians. Smith was laid across a stone and was about to be executed, when Pocahontas threw herself across his body. Pocahontas then helped Smith to stand on his feet and Powhattan adopted Smith as his son. This incident helped Pocahontas and Smith to become friends with each other.
Pocahontas, after this incident, made frequent visits to the Jamestown and passed on to the Englishmen messages of her father.
In 1608, Pocahontas is said to have saved Smith a second time. Smith and some other colonists were invited to Werowocomoco by Chief Powhatan on friendly terms, but Pocahontas came to the hut where the English were staying and warned them that Powhatan was planning to kill them. Due to this warning, the English stayed on their guard, and the attack never came.
In October 1609, after getting badly injured due to gunpowder explosion, John Smith returned to England. When Pocahontas made a visit to the fort, she was informed that Smith was dead.
In March 1613, an Englishman, Captain Samuel Argall kidnapped Pocahontas and informed Powhatan that he would not release her, until Powhatan released the English prisoners along with various weapons and tools that he had confiscated earlier. Argall, arrived in Jamestown in April 1613.
In December 1613 Captain Argall sailed up the Potomac River to a far Indian village to trade Pocahontas with the Indians. He traded a copper kettle for Pocahontas. The colonists hoped that Powhatan would trade the Indian prisoners and the guns he had taken for Pocahontas. Powhatan sent back many prisoners and promised friendship and corn, but he did not send back the guns. Captain Argall felt that by not sending the guns, Powhatan had sent only a part of the ransom. He did not send Pocahontas back to her father because of this.
Even though she was held hostage, Pocahontas was free to go from house to house. Pocahontas settled down in Henricus. She was given a warm room, pretty clothes, and food to eat. It is here that Pocahontas fell in love with John Rolfe, an Englishman. In April they were married. Pocahontas converted to Christianity. She went by the name of Rebecca Rolfe, living an English life.
For the next eight years the white men and the Indians were at peace. Pocahontas and John were very happy. They had a baby and named him Thomas. Rolfe invented new ways of planting and curing tobacco. He planned to send the tobacco to the Old World. In 1616 John and Pocahontas sailed to England to talk to King James about the sale of tobacco in England.
In early 1617, Pocahontas made a visit to London, where he met his friend John Smith after eight long years and was shocked to see him alive. She is said to have been greatly grieved at not being able to marry her first love. It was their last meeting.
It is said that overcome by emotion and recollections, while on a return voyage to Virginia, she died of a broken heart shortly afterwards in March on board.