Disney Side Monday: When history meets Disney

March 3, 2014

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Growing up in the Tidewater region of Virginia, in the oldest continuous English speaking city in the US, you learn a lot about the original settlers of the US. The neighborhood I grew up in (and still live in) is 5 minutes from the original first landing location of the first Virginia settlers, 25 minutes from Colonial Williamsburg, and 35 from the Yorktown and Jamestown. This wonderful area is filled with history, waterways, and almost no elevation over sea level, as a mater of fact Jamestown at it’s highest is three feet above sea level. By second grade I knew who Pocahontas was, I lived off roads named Powhatan, Kecoughtan, Matoaka, Pocahontas, Algonquian and other places that pay homage to our original settlers of this country. I even had the honor of having the tribes adviser to the Disney movie come speak to my junior year English class about her experience before the movie came out.


So with all this history around me, you have to understand that though I ADORE Disney’s Pocahontas,  it actually makes me shudder in some places, like when waterfall is shown, or the whole “old enough to date John Smith” concept.  There have been many times where my husband will walk in on me watching Pocahontas on TV grumbling “we don’t have waterfalls here what the heck Disney?” or hearing me tell a CM confirming my address as “kick-o-tan like one of the tribes Powhatan’s father was the chief of”.  The Kecoughtan village was where the English explorers received their first welcome in 1607.  So today my friends, my #Disneyside wants to present to you some actual facts about Disney’s first American Princess Pocahontas.


  • She was the daughter of Chief Powhatan, making her the equvilant of a princess.
  • She was between the ages of 10-13 when she met John Smith.
  • Historical records do not suggest that Smith and Pocahontas were lovers, or even that she was a suitable age for such a relationship
  • She was the wife of John Rolfe and their son’s name was Thomas.
  • She was taken hostage by European settlers so her people wouldn’t attack this is when she converted to Christianity and changed her name to Rebecca.
  • She died in England and is buried there. Her memory is honored with a life-size bronze statue at St. George’s Church.




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