Pocahontas, detail of a portrait by an unknown artist, 1616.—Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
(born c. 1596, near present-day Jamestown, Va. [U.S.]died March 1617, Gravesend, Kent, Eng.) Powhatan Indian woman. Daughter of the powerful chief Powhatan, Pocahontas helped maintain peace between English colonists and Native Americans by befriending the settlers at Jamestown, Va. By the account of colonial leader John Smith, Pocahontas intervened to save his life after he had been taken prisoner by her father's men. She subsequently converted to Christianity and wedded the colonist John Rolfe, which furthered efforts toward peace. She traveled to England, where she was received at court, but soon afterward she died, probably of lung disease.