VA US History Honors
March 2, 2012
Historical Accuracy of Pocahontas
Like many Americans, we have heard the story of Pocahontas or seen the Disney movie, Pocahontas. The movie attempts to tell and expand on the story of a romantic relationship between an Indian princess, Pocahontas, and a Jamestown colonist, John Smith. However, Disney wrote the movie so that no viewer would be offended by what was told. In this process, a lot of historical facts and event were altered (Larson). All of this leads to the question of what really happened.
In the beginning of the Disney movie, the initial scenes have a little to no resemblance to Virginia, in which is the actual setting in history. Pocahontas’s independent attitude does not show until her father, Chief Powhatan, arranges for her to marry an Indian named Kocoum. At the same time as this, Pocahontas observed that the British were arriving and settling in Jamestown. Her attention then turns to, what Disney portrays as, a really handsome blonde named Captain John Smith (Larson). As the movie goes on, Smith then has his first encounter with Pocahontas and he offered to teach the Indians how to manage their land. Afterwards, Pocahontas gave John Smith an ear of corn, in which was symbolic. The two then fall in love (Larson). This was also the beginning to the “romantic relationship” that Disney portrays.
Unfortunately, after their romantic scene, the fate of their relationship begins to change. When an Englishman killed an Indian, Smith was then captured. As punishment, Pocahontas’ father ordered him to be murdered by crushing his head with stones. This is when the heroic scene of Pocahontas sacrificing herself to save Captain John Smith’s life takes place. When John is injured by a bullet, supposedly, intended for Chief Powhatan, Chief Powhatan says, “You are always welcome among our people.” Smith and Pocahontas, then say their last goodbyes and John Smith was...