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Matoaka (later known as "Rebecca Rolfe")
Pocahontas, the Native American princess born around 1595, was the favorite daughter of the powerful chief, Powhatan, who ruled over an expansive area that included what we now know as Virginia. Pocahontas is known for aiding the English in their attempts to settle the North American continent and for becoming one of the first Native Americans to be accepted and honored in Europe.
Pocahontas is said to have saved the life of John Smith, one of the first English settlers, in 1607. It is not clear whether the ten-year-old girl actually did offer her own life to save his or whether this famous tale is a myth. She did, however, become a close friend of John Smith after he helped save the colony from starvation and immediate failure. Pocahontas continued to help the Jamestown colony even after Smith returned to England in 1609 and after her father and the English were no longer on friendly terms.
In 1613, Pocahontas was captured by Captain Samuel Argall who hoped to ransom her in exchange for English prisoners and weapons, which were in Powhatan's possession. During her captivity, Pocahontas was treated as a royal hostage and learned a great deal about English culture. She was baptized in 1614 and received the Christian name, Rebecca. Powhatan, meanwhile, did not grant the English wishes and war between the two cultures continued.
It was not until Pocahontas asked for Powhatan's permission to marry an Englishman named John Rolfe, whom she had met during her captivity, that her father made peace with the English. With Powhatan's permission, Pocahontas and John Rolfe were married on April 5, 1614 - a marriage that created an important political alliance between the English and Powhatans until Powhatan died in 1618.
In 1616, Pocahontas and John Rolfe, together with their son, Thomas (born 1615), and several Native American men and women, traveled to England. In England, Pocahontas was introduced to King James I and Queen Anne and became the center of attention in English society. She had her portrait painted by famous artists and was reunited with her friend, John Smith.
Pocahontas became deathly ill just as she and her family planned to leave England in 1617. She died in March, 1617, at only 21 years of age, and was buried in Saint George's churchyard in Gravesend, England.
Modern-day appearances of the character (such as Disney's 1995 film) are owned by their respective publishers, however, being that she was a real person, anything relating to her actual existence is public domain and can be used by anyone in any original works they may like to create.
Public Domain Comic Appearances
- Boy Comics #12: Pocahontas and Capt. John Smith encountered Yankee Longago.
- Jumbo Comics #113: Time traveler Stuart Taylor met Pocahontas and Capt. John Smith.
- Kid Eternity #10: Pocahontas along with Merlin and the Pied Piper are summoned by Kid Eternity to deal with the villainous Mr. Midas.
- Black Diamond Western #32: A one page filler humor strip which featured Pocahontas, Chief Powhatan, and Stinking Saddle Blanket (Kiowa brave).
- Gunsmoke #14: A version of Pocahontas depicted with fair skin and blonde hair nicknamed the Golden Avenger who was adopted by an Native American tribe led by Chief Powhatan.
- Oklahoma Kid #1: A brief biography of Capt. John Smith featuring Pocahontas.
- Combat #3: A brief biography of Capt. John Smith featuring Pocahontas.
- Exciting True Adventures of Pocahontas #1-2: Two issue promotional series produced by the Pocahontas Fuel Company.
- Startling Comics #7: Another time traveler, Ace Buckley, met Pocahontas, Chief Powhatan, and Capt. John Smith.