Many when hearing the name Pocahontas think of the 1995 Disney film where the native American is portrayed as a woman who falls in love with an Englishman in the colonies in Virginia. However, what some do not realise is that Pocahontas was a real woman and not a character created for the film. The film does not accurately portray what happened to Pocahontas in real life, but some of the people mentioned were in fact real, like John Smith. Born in 1595 in Virginia, Pocahontas became well known among the colonies through helping the English settlers in Jamestown to form bonds and communications with the surrounding tribes, also she is well known for and saving the life of John Smith just like she does in the film. Or so some accounts of John Smith’s say, as many differ and change as to whether this actually happened.
However, unlike the film, there was no relationship between Pocahontas and John Smith who returned to England for medical care in 1609. Once Smith had left the country relations between the natives and the colonists worsened, with Pocahontas being captured for a year in Jamestown by the English. During this time Pocahontas improved her English, and even converted to Christianity and changed her name to Rebecca. In 1614 Pocahontas, now known to most as Rebecca, married John Rolfe who was an English farmer who had settled in Virginia. Two years later Pocahontas gave birth to her son Thomas. She came to England in 1616, being introduced to the English people and the King himself. In England the stories of Pocahontas’ involvement with Jamestown had reached many ears, and so many were keen to meet her. Pocahontas soon fell ill when she began her journey home to Virginia, and once ashore died very quickly in Gravesend in 1617. She was forever known as someone who was important and drastically improved relations between the Native Americans and the colonists, and increased the understanding of the English as to the culture of Native Americans.