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  • Birth 17 Jun 1545
  • Death Apr 1618
  • Burial King William, King William County, Virginia, USA
  • Plot Next to the railroad tracks
  • Memorial ID 5569

Powhatan Chief. Born Wahunsenacawk of the Pamunkey people. He was probably the son of the founder of the Powhatan Federation, historically known as Luis Valasco, a one time captive of the Spanish. The Federation suffered huge losses, including extinction of some bands after the introduction of European diseases, and under Wahunsenacawk, the Federation was apparently reorganized and included the Powhatans, the Arrohatecks, the Appamattucks, the Pamunkeys, the Mattaponis, the Chiskiacks, and the Kecoughtans. As primary chief of the Federation, Wahunsenacawk took the name "Powhatan" as a ruler of his people. In 1607, the English adventurer John Smith was captured by Opchanacanough, Powhatan's youngest brother. Powhatan welcomed Smith with a feast and opened the town to him. Smith met, among others, Powhatan's daughter Pocahontas. There is some doubt among historians as to the accuracy of Smith's accounts of that time. He may have indeed been saved by execution by Pocahontas, or perhaps he misunderstood a ritual in which he was an unwitting part. After Smith's departure from Virginia, the peace he and Powhatan had negotiated fell apart. An attack on the Jamestown settlement killed many of the European settlers. The town's defense killed perhaps twenty Powhatan. Powhatan's daughter, meanwhile married Englishman John Rolfe and converted to Christianity. Powhatan died of an illness in April of 1618 and was succeeded by his brother, Opitchapam. Smith described Powhatan as "…a tall well proportioned man... his head some what grey.... His age near 60; of a very able and hardy body to endure any labour. What he commandeth they dare not disobey in the least thing."

Bio by: Iola

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jun 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5569
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Powhatan (17 Jun 1545–Apr 1618), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5569, citing Pamunkey Indian Reservation, King William, King William County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .