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April 05

Pocahontas married John Rolfe on this date in 1614.

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Pocahontas married John Rolfe on this date in 1614.

Grades 7 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Historical Figure & Event

 

EVENT DESCRIPTION

 

 

Although Pocahontas married John Rolfe, many students may believe that she was in love with Captain John Smith, and that she boldly threw herself in between him and her father to save his life. For years, students have been receiving historically inaccurate information about Pocahontas. For example, the story about how Pocahontas saved Smith's life has never been validated.

 

CLASSROOM ACTIVITY

 

 

There are many stories and poems written about Pocahontas that are based on inaccurate information. Read "The Chieftan's Daughter" by George Pope Morris together. (Depending on the students' grade levels, some of the words may be difficult for them to understand.) Show students the fresco that tells the legend of Pocahontas saving Captain John Smith's life. Explain that this story is actually a legend that has never been proven, but that it has maintained a place in history because it has been used in both factual and fictional accounts of the princess's life.

Discuss with students the difference between fact and fiction, and then discuss writers' uses of fact in historical fiction. Ask students to research Pocahontas through primary sources to find some documented information about the John Smith legend. Then, have students write original stories, poems, or songs based on their research. These works can be either historical fiction or factual, depending upon preference, but students should be prepared to explain which style they choose.

 

WEBSITES

 

 
  • America's Story from America's Library: Pocahontas

    The Library of Congress provides this resource about Pocahontas, pointing out some of the myths associated with her life.

     

  • Virtual Jamestown

    This website features letters, maps, images, court records, and other primary documents. Students can also access images and information about Pocahontas.

     

  • Pocahontas

    This BBC resource offers primary students information on Pocahontas. There is a simple story, a glossary, and a short game.

     

  • History of Jamestown

    In addition to maps and information, this site offers an excellent timeline of the establishment of Jamestown and a list of the early settlers.

     

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