Leadership, Accomplishment and Cultural Celebration


Colonial Diplomacy Through Alliances

5-cent Pocahontas stamp
This stamp is part of the Jamestown Exposition Issue commemorating the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Jamestown, Virginia, settlement by English colonists, and is based on an engraving by Simon Van de Passe in The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles, written by Captain John Smith in 1624. It was issued in Norfolk, Virginia, May 3, 1907.

Pocahontas (Matoaka)

Powhatan (Algonquian)

Intermediary, Emissary, and Diplomat

Pocahontas was the daughter of Powhatan (Wahunsenacawh), powerful chief of 30 confederated tribes of Algonquian people of the Virginia Tidewater region. In the early 1600s she became a respected intermediary between her nation and the English colonists. Pocahontas was "the instrument to preserve this colonie from death, famine, and utter confusion," according to English pioneer John Smith. She married successful tobacco grower and exporter John Rolfe, and died at age 22 while returning from a diplomatic mission to England.

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Potomac Powhatan eel trap of white oak splints made by Gordon Bullock c.1925. 25/0701 Courtesy, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.
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Pamunkey Powhatan collar made for a man. Bald eagle, osprey feathers, and red cloth. 20/1751 Courtesy, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.