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Encyclopedia > Powhatan
Chief Powhatan in a longhouse at Werowocomoco (detail of John Smith map, 1612)

The Powhatan (also spelled Powatan and Powhaten), or Powhatan Renape[1] (literally, the "Powhatan Human Beings"), is the name of a Native American tribe, and also the name of a powerful confederacy of tribes that they dominated. Also known as Virginia Algonquians, they spoke an eastern-Algonquian language, and lived in what is now the eastern part of Virginia at the time of the first European-Native encounters there. The name is believed to have originated from a village near the head of navigation on a major river, each of which was also called "Powhatan." Algonquian Indians are one of the most populous and widespread North American Native groups, with tribes originally numbering in the hundreds, and hundreds of thousands who still identify with various Algonquian peoples. ... Powhatan may refer to Powhatan, a Native American tribe Powhatan village, a Virginia village Powhatan Apartments, a Chicago Landmark Category: ... 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. ... 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... This article is about the people indigenous to the United States. ... A confederation is an association of sovereign states or communities, usually created by treaty but often later adopting a common constitution. ... 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 is about the U.S. state. ...


In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, a weroance (or chief) named Wahunsunacock created a powerful empire by conquering or affiliating by agreement with approximately 30 tribes covering much of eastern Virginia, called Tenakomakah ("densely-inhabited Land")[2], and he himself was known as Chief Powhatan. However, beginning with the arrival of the English settlers at Jamestown in 1607, encroachment of the new arrivals and their ever-growing numbers on what had been Indian lands resulted in conflicts which became almost continuous for the next 37 years. A weroance is a tribal chief, leader, commander, or king, notably among the Powhatan confederacy of the Virginia coast and Chesapeake Bay region. ... The Powhatan (also spelled Powatan and Powhaten) were a very powerful confederacy of Native American tribes, speaking an Algonquian language, who lived in what is now Virginia at the time of the first English-Native encounters. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... At Jamestown Settlement, replicas of Christopher Newports 3 ships are docked in the harbour. ...


After Wahunsunacock's death in 1618, hostilities escalated under the chiefdom of his brother, Opechancanough, who sought in vain to drive the Europeans away, leading the Indian Massacre of 1622 and another in 1644. These attempts saw strong reprisals from the English, ultimately resulting in the near-destruction of the tribe. The Powhatan Confederacy had been largely decimated by 1646. As the colonial expansion continued, many members assimilated into the populations of persons of European and African-American origin. Opechancanough or Opchanacanough was a chief of the Powhatan tribe, becoming chief after his older brother, Wahunsonacock, died. ... 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. ...


Remaining descendants in Virginia in the 21st century include seven recognized tribes with ties to the original confederacy, [3] including two with reservations, the Pamunkey and the Mattaponi, which are accessed through King William County, Virginia. Many years after the Powhatan Confederacy no longer existed, and some miles to the west of area it included, Powhatan County in the Virginia Colony was named in honor of Chief Wahunsunacock, who was the father of Pocahontas. The Pamunkey Native American tribe has been in existence since pre-Columbian times. ... William Bradby dressed in Mattaponi regalia. ... King William County is a county located on the Middle Peninsula in the state of Virginia. ... Powhatan County is a county located in the U.S. state — officially, Commonwealth — of Virginia. ... The 1609 charter for the Virginia colony from sea to sea The Virginia Colony refers to the English colony in North America that existed during the 17th and 18th centuries before the American Revolution. ... For other uses, see Pocahontas (disambiguation). ...


Although the cultures of the Powhatan and the European settlers were very different, through the union of Pocahontas and English settler John Rolfe and their son Thomas Rolfe, many decedents of the First Families of Virginia trace both Native American and European roots. This article is about the Virginia colonist. ... Thomas Rolfe (January 30, 1615 - c. ... First Families of Virginia is an informal association of people, some of whom can trace their ancestry to the original Virginian colonists from England who landed at primarily at Jamestown and along the James River and other navigable waters in the Virginia Colony during the 17th century. ...

Contents

History

Source of name

The name "Powhatan" is believed to have originated as the name of the village or "town" that Wahunsunacock (who has become better-known as the Chief Powhatan) came from. It was located in the East End portion of the modern-day city of Richmond, Virginia). "Powhatan" was also the name used by the natives to refer to the river where the town sat at the head of navigation (today called the James River, renamed by the English colonists for their own king, James I). Chief Powhatan (detail of map published by John Smith (1612) Chief Powhatan ( 1547— 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... Richmond is often subdivided into North Side, Southside, East End and West End The East End of Richmond, Virginia is actually a collection of neighborhoods. ... 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. ... Head of navigation is a term used to describe the farthest point above the mouth of a river that can be navigated by ships. ... 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). ... James Stuart (19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scots as James VI, and King of England and King of Ireland as James I. He ruled in Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567, when he was only one year old. ...


"Powhatan" is an Virginia Algonquian word meaning "at the waterfalls";[4][5] the settlement of Powhatan was at the falls of the James River.[6] The Powhatan language, also known as Virginia Algonquian is an extinct language spoken by the Powhatan people of tidewater Virginia in the late 16th and early 17th century. ... The fall line has meanings in both geographical features and the sport of alpine skiing. ...


Powhatan Hill in the independent city of Richmond is in the general vicinity of the Native American village. Powhatan County and its county seat at Powhatan, Virginia were honorific names many years later, but the location is well west of the area populated by the Powhatan Confederacy. An independent city is a city that does not form part of another general-purpose local government entity. ... Powhatan County is a county located in the U.S. state — officially, Commonwealth — of Virginia. ... A county seat is a term for an administrative center for a county, primarily used in the United States. ... Powhatan is the county seat of Powhatan County, Virginia, United States. ...


Building the Powhatan Confederacy

The original six constituent tribes in Wahunsunacock's Powhatan Confederacy were: the Powhatans (proper), the Arrohatecks, the Appamattucks, the Pamunkeys, the Mattaponis, and the Chiskiacks. He added the Kecoughtans to his fold by 1598. Another closely related tribe in the midst of these others, all speaking the same language, was the Chickahominy, who managed to preserve their autonomy from the confederacy. 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. ... The Pamunkey Native American tribe has been in existence since pre-Columbian times. ... William Bradby dressed in Mattaponi regalia. ... Kiskiack (or Chisiack or Chiskiack) was a Native American tribal group of the Powhatan Confederacy and was also the name of their village site now located in York County, Virginia. ... Kecoughtan in Virginia was originally named Kikotan (also spelled Kecoughtan and Kikowtan), presumably a word for the native americans living there when the English colonists arrived in the Hampton Roads area in 1607. ... Chickahominy is a river in southeast Virginia, near which several battles of the United States Civil War were fought in 1862 and 1864. ...


Wahunsunacock had inherited control over just four tribes, but dominated over thirty by the time the English settlers established their Virginia Colony at Jamestown in 1607. The 1609 charter for the Virginia colony from sea to sea The Virginia Colony refers to the English colony in North America that existed during the 17th and 18th centuries before the American Revolution. ... At Jamestown Settlement, replicas of Christopher Newports 3 ships are docked in the harbour. ...


The English settlers in the land of the Powhatan

The Powhatan Confederacy is famous as embracing those Indians among whom the first permanent English settlement in North America was made. This was also to be the downfall of the Native American empire. Conflicts began almost immediately, and within two weeks of the arrival at Jamestown, deaths had occurred.


The settlers had hoped for friendly relations and had planned to trade with the Native Americans for food. Captain Christopher Newport led the first English exploration party up the James River in 1607 and first met Chief Powhatan and several of his sons. Newport later crowned the Chief with a ceremonial crown and presented him with many European gifts to gain the Indians' friendship. Newport realized that Chief Powhatan's friendship was crucial to the survival of the small Jamestown colony. Christopher Newport (c. ...


On a hunting and trade mission on the Chickahominy River, President of the Colony Captain John Smith was captured by Opechancanough, the younger brother of Chief Powhatan. According to Smith's account (which in the late 1800s was considered to be fabricated, but is still believed by some to be mostly accurate—although several highly romanticized popular versions cloud the matter), Pocahontas, Powhatan's daughter, prevented her father from executing Smith. Some researchers have asserted that this was a ritual intended to adopt Smith into the tribe, but other modern writers dispute this interpretation, pointing out that nothing is known of seventeenth-century Powhatan adoption ceremonies, and that this sort of ritual is even different from known rites of passage. Further, these writes argue, Smith was not apparently treated as a member of the Powhatans after this ritual. 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. ... Statue at kryptonVA, photo Aug 2007 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. ... For other uses, see Pocahontas (disambiguation). ...


John Smith left Virginia for England, in 1609, because of an injury sustained in a gunpowder accident (never to return). In September 1609, Captain John Ratcliffe was invited to Orapakes, Powhatan's new capital. When he sailed up the Pamunkey River to trade there, a fight broke out between the colonists and the Powhatans. All of the English were killed, including Ratcliffe, who was tortured by the women of the tribe. John Ratcliffe (died September 1609) was captain of the Discovery, one of three boats that sailed from England on December 19, 1606 to Virginia, to found a colony, arriving May 14, 1607. ...


During the next year, the tribe attacked and killed many Jamestown residents. The residents fought back, but only killed twenty. However, arrival at Jamestown of a new Governor, Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, (Lord Delaware) in June of 1610 signalled the beginning of the First Anglo-Powhatan War. A brief period of peace only came after the marriage of Pocahontas and colonist John Rolfe in 1614. At Jamestown Settlement, replicas of Christopher Newports 3 ships are docked in the harbour. ... Thomas West, 3rd (or 12th) Baron De La Warr (July 9, 1577 - June 7, 1618), was the Englishman for whom the state, river, and American Indian tribe called Delaware (in the United States) were named. ... The War between 1609 - 1613 the English and Indians in Jamestown was called the First Anglo-Powhatan War. ... This article is about the Virginia colonist. ...


However, within a few years both the Chief and Pocahontas were dead from disease. The Chief died in Virginia, but Pocahontas died in England, having been captured and willingly married to the tobacco planter John Rolfe. Meanwhile, the English settlers continued to encroach on Powhatan territory. This article is about the Virginia colonist. ...


After Wahunsunacock's death, his younger brother, Opitchapam, became chief, followed by their younger brother Opechancanough, who in 1622 and 1644 attempted to force the English from Powhatan territories. These attempts saw strong reprisals from the English, ultimately resulting in the near destruction of the tribe. During the 1644 incident, Royal Governor of Virginia William Berkeley's forces captured Opechancanough, thought to be between 90 and 100 years old. While a prisoner, Opechancanough was killed by a soldier (shot in the back) assigned to guard him. Opechancanough or Opchanacanough was a chief of the Powhatan tribe, becoming chief after his older brother, Wahunsonacock, died. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Sir William Berkeley (pronounced bark-lee) (1605-July 9, 1677) was a Governor of Virginia, appointed by King Charles I, of whom he was a favorite. ...


He was succeeded as Weroance by Nectowance and then by Totopotomoi and later by his daughter Cockacoeske. By 1665, the Powhatan were subject to stringent laws enacted that year, which compelled them to accept chiefs appointed by the governor. After the Treaty of Albany in 1684, the Powhatan Confederacy all but vanished. A weroance is a tribal chief, leader, commander, or king, notably among the Powhatan confederacy of the Virginia coast and Chesapeake Bay region. ... Nectowance (ca. ... Totopotomoi (ca. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Queen Anne (Pamunkey chief). ...


Capitals of the Powhatan Confederacy

Besides the the capital village of "Powhatan" in the Powhatan Hill section of the eastern part of the current city of Richmond, another capital of this confederacy about 75 miles to the east was called Werowocomoco. It was located near the north bank of the York River in present-day Gloucester County. 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. ... 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... The York River is a navigable estuary, approximately 40 mi (64 km) long, in eastern Virginia in the United States. ... Gloucester County is an historical Chesapeake county located on the Middle Peninsula of the U.S. state — officially, Commonwealth — of Virginia. ...


Werowocomoco was described by the English colonists as only 15 miles as the crow flies from Jamestown, but also described as 25 miles downstream from present-day West Point, measurements which are in conflict with each other. Therefore, the long-lost location of Werowocomoco is in some dispute. Long thought to have been near Wicomico, near Gloucester Point, Virginia|Gloucester Point]], roughly 25 miles downstream from West Point, substantial archaeological evidence discovered in the early 21st century locates the site on Purtan Bay, about 12 air miles from Jamestown, but much less than 25 miles below West Point. West Point is an incorporated town in King William County, Virginia, United States. ...

For more details on this topic, see Werowocomoco.

Around 1609, Wahunsunacock shifted his capital from Werowocomoco to Orapakes, located 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, not far from where his 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... 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. ...


Characteristics

The Powhatan lived east of the fall line in Tidewater Virginia. Their houses were made of poles, rushes, and bark, and they supported themselves primarily by growing crops, especially maize, but also by some fishing and hunting. Villages consisted of a number of related families organized in tribes that were led by a king or queen, who was a client of the Emperor and a member of his council. 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). ... This article is about the maize plant. ...


According to research by the National Park Service, Powhatan "men were warriors and hunters, while women were gardeners and gatherers. The English described the men, who ran and walked extensively through the woods in pursuit of enemies or game, as tall and lean and possessed of handsome physiques. The women were shorter, and were strong because of the hours they spent tending crops, pounding corn into meal, gathering nuts, and performing other domestic chores.When the men undertook extended hunts, the women went ahead of them to construct hunting camps. The Powhatan domestic economy depended on the labor of both sexes." [7]


Powhatan today

Approximately 3,000 Powhatan people remain in Virginia. Some of them live today on two tiny reservations, Mattaponi and Pamunkey, found in King William County, Virginia. However, the Powhatan language is now extinct. Attempts have been made to reconstruct the vocabulary of the language; the only sources are word lists provided by Smith and by William Strachey. William Bradby dressed in Mattaponi regalia. ... The Pamunkey Native American tribe has been in existence since pre-Columbian times. ... King William County is a county located on the Middle Peninsula in the state of Virginia. ... William Strachey (1572-1621) was an English writer and barrister, whose writings are among the primary sources for the history the English colonization of North America, and as one of the only narratives describing Powhatan society. ...


The American entertainer Wayne Newton is of mixed Powhatan, Cherokee, Irish, and German ancestry. Carson Wayne Newton (born April 3, 1942, in Roanoke, Virginia) is an American singer and entertainer based in Las Vegas, Nevada. ...


Powhatan County was named in honor of the Chief and his tribe, although located about 60 miles to the west of lands ever under their control. In the independent city of Richmond, Powhatan Hill in the city's east end is traditionally believed to be located near the village Chief Powhatan was originally from, although the specific location of the site is unknown. Powhatan County is a county located in the U.S. state — officially, Commonwealth — of Virginia. ... An independent city is a city that does not form part of another general-purpose local government entity. ... 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. ...


Powhatan in film

The Powhatan people are featured in the Disney animated film Pocahontas (1995). An attempt at a more historically accurate representation of them appears in The New World (2005). Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Pocahontas is the thirty-third animated feature in the Disney animated features canon. ... The New World is a 2005 Academy Award-nominated drama / romance film directed by Terrence Malick. ...


Notes

  1. ^ The word "Renape", which means human[1], is cognate with Lenape, the name of another Algonquian-speaking tribe of what is now New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
  2. ^ http://www.wm.edu/niahd/journals/index.php?browse=entry&id=4965 c.f. Anishinaabe language: danakamigaa: "activity-grounds", i.e. "land of much events [for the People]"
  3. ^ http://www.virginiaplaces.org/vacities/matchut.html
  4. ^ According to the Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes; c.f. Anishinaabe language: Baawiting "at the falls/rapids" (=Sault Ste. Marie)
  5. ^ Bright, William (2004). Native American Place Names of the United States. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, pg. 397
  6. ^ http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/tribes/powhatan/powhatanchiefs.htm
  7. ^ http://www.johnsmith400.org/2TheChesapeakeBayRegionanditsPeoplein1607.pdf

For the language, see Lenape language. ... The Anishinaabe language or the Ojibwe group of languages or Anishinaabemowin in Eastern Ojibwe syllabics) is the third most commonly spoken Native language in Canada (after Cree and Inuktitut), and the fourth most spoken in North America (behind Navajo, Cree, and Inuktitut). ... The Anishinaabe language or the Ojibwe group of languages or Anishinaabemowin in Eastern Ojibwe syllabics) is the third most commonly spoken Native language in Canada (after Cree and Inuktitut), and the fourth most spoken in North America (behind Navajo, Cree, and Inuktitut). ... Sault Sainte Marie — pronounced Soo Saint Marie (IPA ) — is the name of two cities on the Saint Marys River, which forms part of the boundary between the United States and Canada. ...

Further reading

  • A. Bryant Nichols Jr., Captain Christopher Newport: Admiral of Virginia, Sea Venture, 2007

External links

  • The Anglo-Powhatan Wars
  • Powhatan Renape Nation — Rankokus American Indian Reservation
  • A Study of Virginia Indians and Jamestown: The First Century
  • National Geographic Magazine Jamestown/Werowocomoco Interactive
  • UNC Charlotte linguist Blair Rudes restores lost language, culture for 'The New World'
  • How a linguist revived 'New World' language
  • Princess Cleopatra

  Results from FactBites:
 
Powhatan Indians (311 words)
Although early interactions between the English and the Powhatans was sometimes violent and exploitive on both sides, leaders of both peoples realized the mutual benefit to be derived from peaceful relations.
However, with the death of Pocahontas in 1617 and the death of Powhatan a year later, the peace came to an end.
By 1669, the population of Powhatan Indians in the area had dropped to about 1,800 and by 1722, many of the tribes comprising the empire of Chief Powhatan were reported extinct.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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