Where Did the Name "Pocahontas" Originate?


Quick Answer

Pocahontas is a nickname meaning "playful one," and it was given to Amonute, the daughter of Powhatan Indian Chief Wahunsenaca. Legend holds that Pocahontas saved the life of Captain John Smith in the winter of 1607 in Jamestown, though she herself never wrote of her life.

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Full Answer

Pocahontas was a Powhatan Indian, born around 1596 in an area her people called Tsenacomoco, or modern-day Jamestown. The English arrived at Jamestown in 1607, and according to Captain John Smith, Pocahontas saved his life by throwing herself on top of him after her father had ordered him killed. Pocahontas died in 1617 of an unspecified illness and was buried at St. George's Church in Virginia.

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