Pocahontas didn’t marry John Smith...
...(and other facts about Jamestown).
When you stay at King’s Creek Plantation, you’re actually smack in the middle of history! Jamestown Settlement is close enough to discover and explore during your stay, and we highly recommend that you do!
In the spirit of returning to the classroom this month, we present to you five things you may not have known about life in our nation’s first permanent English colony.
The Pilgrims weren’t first. In 1607, King James I and the Virginia Company of London sent 105 passengers to claim a piece of the New World. Work began on Jamestown about thirteen years before the pilgrims we think about at Thanksgiving arrived at Plymouth in Massachusetts.
Pocahontas wasn’t her real name. Not to destroy Disney’s history lessons, but Pocahontas was just the nickname of the daughter of Chief Powhatan. It means “naughty one” or “spoiled child.” Her real name was Matoaka, and she later became Rebecca Rolfe.
Pocahontas married John Rolfe, not John Smith. Disney’s stories are excellent, but in this case, not historically accurate. When Jamestown’s founders arrived, Pocahontas was only 10 or 11 years old. She ended up marrying John Rolfe, who started growing tobacco in 1613 and introduced the first successful crop of the New World expedition.
Jamestown almost didn’t make it. The colonists, mostly made up of upper class Englishmen not used to working the land or growing food, were ready to abandon Jamestown because they were quite literally starving to death. A relief fleet rescued the colony with supplies and able-bodied workers.
Glass helped save the day. German, Polish and Slovak craftsmen established the first glass factory in Jamestown in 1608. Glassware became the first American product exported to Europe, increasing the colony’s chances for success.
If history interests you, Jamestown Settlement will rock your world! With large gallery exhibits and films that describe the cultures of the Powhatan Indians, Europeans and Africans who converged in 17th-century Virginia, you can trace Jamestown’s beginnings in England and the first century of the Virginia colony.
The kids will love climbing aboard re-creations of the three ships that sailed from England to Virginia and exploring life-size recreations of the colonists’ fortand a Powhatan village. They’ll watch in awe as costumed historical interpreters describe and demonstrate daily life in early 17th-century Jamestown!