Did Squanto meet Pocahontas, and What Might they have Discussed?


Pocahontas (picture painted from an engraving after 1616)

From the Junto by Dr. E. M. Rose:

Two of the most famous Native Americans in early colonial history may well have met in London. Matoaka, nicknamed Pocahontas, who lived near the Jamestown settlement in Virginia and Tisquantum, better known as Squanto, who greeted the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts, were apparently living near other in the English capital in late 1616. Pocahontas and Squanto were both part of a small and complexly entwined commercial community of merchants, sea captains, and maritime entrepreneurs, whose ventures spanned the globe. The two Native Americans were kidnapped in America within a year of each other and eventually came to England, where they were welcomed enthusiastically.[1] Although there is, as yet, no documentation to prove that such a meeting took place, circumstantial evidence suggests that they met when they were staying only a few hundred yards down the street from each other in the homes of men with interlocking business interests. Although the histories of Jamestown and Plymouth are usually treated as separate chapters in most narratives of American history, they were closely linked.

First, some background on Pocahontas and Squanto and their presence in London in 1616. Captain John Smith first described Pocahontas turning cartwheels in James Fort, and claimed that as a child she had rescued him from execution.[2] She was the daughter of Wahunsonacock, mamanatowick or paramount chief of the Powhatans.  After her kidnapping in 1613, when her father would not negotiate her exchange for English prisoners, she eventually threw in her lot with the colonists, converting to Christianity, taking the name Rebecca, and marrying tobacco farmer John Rolfe (not John Smith, who had long been back in England).[3] Their marriage signaled the end of the first Anglo-Powhatan war and established peace for a few years. Later, with her father’s blessing, Rebecca sailed in the spring of 1616 to England with her husband, her child Thomas, and a large contingent of fellow Powhatans to raise funds for a Christian mission to her people under the auspices of the Virginia Company.[4]

Read the rest of the article at The Junto

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