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Encyclopedia > Chief Powhatan
Chief Powhatan (detail of map published by John Smith (1612)
Chief Powhatan (detail of map published by John Smith (1612)

Chief Powhatan (c. 1547 – c. 1618) , whose proper name was Wahunsenacawh or (in seventeenth century English spelling) Wahunsunacock, was the leader of the Powhatan (also spelled Powatan and Powhaten), a powerful tribe of Native Americans, speaking an Algonquian language, who lived in Tenakomakah— which is now tidewater Virginia—at the time of the first English-Native encounters. Powhatan was the father of Pocahontas. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (484x699, 173 KB) Summary Detail from: Image:Virginia map john smith large. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (484x699, 173 KB) Summary Detail from: Image:Virginia map john smith large. ... Year 1547 was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. ... For a bill proposed in USA in 1998, see Bill 1618. ... (16th century - 17th century - 18th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 17th century was that century which lasted from 1601-1700. ... This article is about the Algonquian tribe. ... This article is about the people indigenous to the United States. ... The Algonquian (also Algonkian) languages are a subfamily of Native American languages that includes most of the languages in the Algic language family (others are Wiyot and Yurok of northwestern California). ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Tidewater Virginia is commonly used as a term to refer to all portions in Virginia east of the fall line which are located adjacent to tidal waters (generally Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay) except (perhaps ironically) the Eastern Shore (which is actually entirely tidal by that definition). ... For other uses, see Pocahontas (disambiguation). ...

Contents

Name

Powhatan was originally the name of one of the towns where he lived, a location now in the east end of the city of Richmond, Virginia, as the adjacent river (today called the James River). When he created a powerful empire by conquering most of tidewater Virginia, he called himself the Powhatan, often taken as his given name, but actually a title. Another chief village was established at Werowocomoco on the north bank of the York River about 25 miles from where "the river divides" at West Point, Virginia, according to Smith. Nickname: Motto: Sic dic Itur Ad Astra (Thus do we reach the stars) Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia Coordinates: , Country State County Independent City Government  - Mayor L. Douglas Wilder (I) Area  - City 62. ... The James River at Cartersville The James River in the U.S. state of Virginia is 660 km (410 miles) long including its Jackson River source and drains a watershed comprising 27,019 km² (10,432 square miles). ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... Chief Powhatan in a longhouse at Werowocomoco (detail of John Smith map, 1612) Werowocomoco was the chief village of the Powhatan Confederacy of the Native American tribes, speaking an Algonquian language, who lived in what is now Virginia at the time of the first English-Native encounters during the establishment... York River can refer to: The York River in Virginia in the United States. ... West Point is an incorporated town in King William County, Virginia, United States. ...


Life

Little is known of Powhatan's life before the arrival of English colonists in 1607. He apparently inherited the chiefdom of about 4-5 tribes, with the base at the fall line near Richmond, and through diplomacy and/or force, had assembled a total of about 30 into the Powhatan Confederacy by the early 17th century. The fall line has meanings in both geographical features and the sport of alpine skiing. ... The Powhatan (also spelled Powatan and Powhaten) were a very powerful tribe of Native Americans, speaking an Algonquian language, who lived in what is now Virginia at the time of the first European-Native encounters. ...


In December 1607, English soldier and pioneer, John Smith, one of the colony's leaders, was captured by Opechancanough, the younger brother of Chief Powhatan and was taken to Werowocomoco. According to Smith's account (which in the late 1800s was considered to be fabricated, but since is believed to be mostly accurate—although several highly romanticized popular versions cloud the matter), Pocahontas, Powhatan's younger daughter, is said to have prevented her father from executing Smith. However, it is also believed by some that this was a ritual intended to adopt Smith into the tribe. For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... Statue at Jamestown VA, photo Aug 2007 Captain/Sir John Smith (1580–June 21, 1631), was an English soldier, sailor, and author. ... Opechancanough or Opchanacanough was a chief of the Powhatan tribe, becoming chief after his older brother, Wahunsonacock, died. ... Chief Powhatan in a longhouse at Werowocomoco (detail of John Smith map, 1612) Werowocomoco was the chief village of the Powhatan Confederacy of the Native American tribes, speaking an Algonquian language, who lived in what is now Virginia at the time of the first English-Native encounters during the establishment... For other uses, see Pocahontas (disambiguation). ...


After Smith left Virginia because of an injury sustained in a gunpowder accident in 1609, the nervous tribe attacked and killed many of the Jamestown residents. The residents fought back, killing over twenty.[citation needed]members of the tribe. At Jamestown Settlement, replicas of Christopher Newports 3 ships are docked in the harbour. ...


Although on the opposite side of the York River, Werowocomoco was only 20 miles as the crow flies from Jamestown. For security reasons[citation needed], around 1609, Wahunsunacock shifted his principal capital from Werowocomoco to Orapakes, located about 50 miles west in a swamp at the head of the Chickahominy River, near the modern-day interchange of Interstate 64 and Interstate 295. Sometime between 1611 and 1614, he moved further north to Matchut, in present-day King William County on the north bank of the Pamunkey River, near where his younger brother Opechancanough ruled at Youghtanund. Chief Powhatan in a longhouse at Werowocomoco (detail of John Smith map, 1612) Werowocomoco was the chief village of the Powhatan Confederacy of the Native American tribes, speaking an Algonquian language, who lived in what is now Virginia at the time of the first English-Native encounters during the establishment... At Jamestown Settlement, replicas of Christopher Newports 3 ships are docked in the harbour. ... Chickahominy also known as the Chick is a river in the southeastern portion of the U.S. state of Virginia, near which several battles of the United States Civil War were fought in 1862 and 1864. ... Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Interstate 64 Interstate 64 (abbreviated I-64) is an Interstate Highway in the eastern United States. ... Interstate 295 (abbreviated I-295) is an eastern bypass of Richmond and Petersburg as well as a northern bypass of Richmond. ... King William County is a county located on the Middle Peninsula in the state of Virginia. ... The Pamunkey River is a tributary of the York River, about 90 mi (145 km) long, in eastern Virginia in the United States. ...


However, within a few years both Chief Powhatan and Pocahontas were dead from disease. The Chief died in Virginia, but Pocahontas died in England, having been captured and married to colonist John Rolfe, a leading tobacco planter. Meanwhile, the English continued to encroach on Powhatan territory. After the death of Wahunsunacock in 1618, his younger brother Opchanacanough became chief, and in 1622 and 1644 he attempted to force the English from Virginia. These attempts invited strong reprisals from the English, ultimately resulting in the near destruction of the tribe. This article is about the Virginia colonist. ... Indian massacre of 1622, depicted as a woodcut by Theodore de Bry The Indian massacre of 1622 (also known as the Jamestown massacre) occurred in the Virginia Colony on March 22, 1622. ... // Events February to August - Explorer Abel Tasmans second expedition for the Dutch East India Company maps the north coast of Australia. ...


Many of his direct descendants carry the surname Custalow.[citation needed] Through his daughter Pocahontas (and her marriage to the English colonist John Rolfe), he was the grandfather of Thomas Rolfe. As a result of Thomas Rolfe's birth, and his descendants, the Rolfe family is considered one of the First Families of Virginia, one with both English and Native American roots. This article is about the Virginia colonist. ... Thomas Rolfe (January 30, 1615 - c. ... First Families of Virginia is a hereditary society composed of individuals who have proved their descent from one of the original Virginia colonists from England who primarily settled at Jamestown and along the James River and other navigable waters in the Virginia Colony during the 17th century. ...


Appearance

In A True Relation of such Occurrences and Accidents of Note as Happened in Virginia (1608), Smith described Powhatan thus: "...their Emperor proudly [lay] upon a bedstead a foot high upon ten or twelve mats, richly hung with many chains of great pearls about his neck, and covered with a great covering of Rahaughcums [raccoon skins]. At his head sat a woman, at his feet another, on each side, sitting upon a mat upon the ground, were ranged his chief men on each side [of] the fire, ten in a rank, and behind them as many young women, each a great chain of white beads over their shoulders, their heads painted in red, and [he] with such a grave a majestical countenance as drove me into admiration to see such state in a naked savage."[1]


Powatan's Mantle is a cloak made of deerskin and decorated with shell patterns and figures in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. It allegedly belonged to Chief Powhatan although the evidence is questionable. The Mantle is, however, certainly one of the earliest North American artefacts to have survived in a European collection, and must have originally belonged to a Native American of high social status, given its manufacture from large numbers of valuable native shell beads.[2] Ashmolean Museum main entrance. ... This article is about the city of Oxford in England. ...


Names, titles, appellations

17th century English spellings were not standardised, so the problem of representing the sounds of the Algonquian language spoken by Wahunsenacawhlocation and his people is made doubly difficult by different spellings representing the same word. Charles Dudley Warner, writing in the 19th century, but quoting extensively from John Smith's writings, in his essay on Pocahontas states: "In 1618 died the great Powhatan, full of years and satiated with fighting and the savage delights of life. He had many names and titles; his own people sometimes called him Ottaniack, sometimes Mamauatonick, and usually in his presence Wahunsenasawk." Many variants are used in texts: The Algonquian (also Algonkian) languages are a subfamily of Native American languages that includes most of the languages in the Algic language family (others are Wiyot and Yurok of northwestern California). ... Charles Dudley Warner (September 12, 1829 - October 20, 1900), American essayist and novelist, was born of Puritan ancestry, in Plainfield, Massachusetts. ... For other uses, see Pocahontas (disambiguation). ...

  • The place, Powhatan
  • Powhatan, Powatan, Powhaten, Pohetan, Powhattan, Poughwaton,
  • The description, weroance (chief?)
  • weroance, weeroance, wyrounce, wyrounnces, werowance, wyroance, werowans
  • The name, Wahunsunacock
  • Wahunsunacock, Wahunsenasawk, Wahunsenacawh, Wahunsenacock
  • The title, Mamanatowick (paramount- or great- chief, overlord?)
  • Mamanatowick, Mamauatonick

A weroance is a tribal chief, leader, commander, or king, notably among the Powhatan confederacy of the Virginia coast and Chesapeake Bay region. ...

Sites associated with Powhatan

Alternate meanings of barrow: see Barrow_in_Furness for the town of Barrow in Cumbria, England; also Barrow, Alaska in the U.S.; also River Barrow in Ireland. ... Pamunkey Indian Reservation is a Native American Reservation located in Virginia in the United States. ... Powhatan County is a county located in the U.S. state — officially, Commonwealth — of Virginia. ... Nickname: Motto: Sic dic Itur Ad Astra (Thus do we reach the stars) Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia Coordinates: , Country State County Independent City Government  - Mayor L. Douglas Wilder (I) Area  - City 62. ... Gloucester County is an historical Chesapeake county located on the Middle Peninsula of the U.S. state — officially, Commonwealth — of Virginia. ... National Historic Site is a designation for a protected area of historic significance. ...

Fictional representations

A fictional version of Powhatan was voiced by Russell Means in the 1995 Disney film, Pocahontas; he was played by August Schellenberg in the 2005 film The New World. Russell Means (born November 10, 1939) is one of contemporary Americas best-known and prolific activists for the rights of American Indians. ... Pocahontas is the thirty-third animated feature in the Disney animated features canon. ... August Schellenberg is a Canadian actor, born in Montreal. ... The New World is a 2005 Academy Award-nominated drama / romance film directed by Terrence Malick. ...

Preceded by
unknown, no prior contact
Weroance
unknown–1618
Succeeded by
Opchanacanough

A weroance is a tribal chief, leader, commander, or king, notably among the Powhatan confederacy of the Virginia coast and Chesapeake Bay region. ... For a bill proposed in USA in 1998, see Bill 1618. ... Opchanacanough Opechancanough or Opchanacanough (1554?-1644)was a chief of the Powhatan Confederacy of what is now Virginia in the United States. ...

External links

  • The Anglo-Powhatan Wars
  • Powhatan's Mantle in the Ashmolean Museum -Pictures and extensive description and history

Notes

  1. ^ Smith, John. A True Relation of such Occurrences and Accidents of Noate as hath Hapned in Virginia. 1608. [1] Repr. in The Complete Works of John Smith (1580-1631). Ed. Philip L. Barbour. Chapel Hill: University Press of Virginia, 1983. Vol. 1, p.53.

Further reading

  • David A. Price, Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Start of A New Nation, Alfred A. Knopf, 2003

  Results from FactBites:
 
Pocahontas (1334 words)
Chief Powhatan was the supreme ruler, Chief of the 32 tribe Powatan Confederacy which were well organized and a thriving agricultural and fishing nation located around the Chesapeake Bay where the Virginia Company landed.
Chief Powhatan was about 60, tall well proportioned with slightly gray hair, when the colonists arrived.
Chief Powhatan orders the massacre of 60 settlers visiting Werowocomoco in Autumn 1609 and Pocahontas is sent to live with the Patawomeke tribe.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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