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The Story of the Real Pocahontas

Updated July 24, 2020 241.7k views13 items

The real Pocahontas was nothing like the Pocahontas depicted in popular culture. The history of Pocahontas has been riddled with dramatizations, oversimplifications, and outright lies from the very beginning - and all of that dishonesty only adds to the tragedy that is Pocahontas’s true life story.


The truth about Pocahontas is infinitely sadder than the bright and cheery, wind-color-painting version presented in popular culture. Her interactions with English settlers were instead the sort of violent and prejudiced interactions that we’ve come to expect from that era. Pocahontas herself is still an inspiring and important historical figure, but her actual life story is not a feel-good tale about the common threads between people of different backgrounds. Instead, it’s the exact opposite.

  • John Smith Only Linked Himself To Pocahontas After She Became A Minor Celebrity

    John Smith didn’t write about his rescue by, or romance with, Pocahontas until more than 15 years after it supposedly happened. What’s more, Smith wrote plenty during and about the time period when his adventures with Pocahontas were said to have occurred, but failed to mention her at all. In fact, when Smith did finally write about her, she had already become a celebrity in England, thanks to her marriage to a different Englishman and her subsequent cross-ocean visit, which makes it pretty likely that Smith just crafted a lie to try to cash in on her fame.

  • Pocahontas Was Tatted Up And Had A Wicked Fashion Sense

    When she hit adulthood at the frighteningly young age of 14, Pocahontas began to turn her eyes toward marriage. During her courting days, she was known to rock a fashionable and alluring one-strapped deerskin dress, which was a real hit with the fellas. She also began to cover her skin in traditional tattoos, making her look like quite the badass. Eventually, Pocahontas would journey to Europe, where she adapted to local fashion with aplomb and sported some pretty bitchin’ hats.

  • Pocahontas Was Already Married To A Local Warrior

    If John Smith and Pocahontas did have any sort of romantic relationship, it is certain that they never joined each other in wedded bliss. Pocahontas did get married on two occasions in her life, including once at the age of 14 or so to a Native American warrior known as Kocoum. Little is known about Kocoum, but he appears to have been some sort of military leader and is referred to by some sources as a “captain.” Others suggest that Kocoum was one of Pocahontas’s father’s bodyguards. The fact that she did not marry a man of high political standing mean that she probably married Kocoum for love, but the marriage apparently did not last.

  • She Went On A Diplomatic Mission To Avoid War

    While held for ransom in Jamestown, Pocahontas became inculcated in European customs, language, and religion. Her forced education made her a convenient diplomat and go-between for the English colonists to use in negotiations with Native Americans. Oddly enough, Pocahontas was sent to her father to defuse the tense situation that had begun with her own kidnapping. Pocahontas won peace by assuring her father that she was happy with the English and would rather stay with them than return home, an act that ultimately prevented more bloodshed between the two groups.