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Timeline / Colonizers and Resistance / AD 1607: Powhatan Chiefdom fights encroaching Virginia Colony

AD 1607: Powhatan Chiefdom fights encroaching Virginia Colony

Opechancanough, the brother of Chief Powhatan of the powerful Powhatan Chiefdom, is disturbed by England’s encroachment on Powhatan territory and leads an assault on the newly founded colony of Virginia.

Captain John Smith writes about Virginia and the colony’s interactions with the Powhatan Chiefdom. His books The Generall Historie of Virginia and The True Travels … of Captain John Smith tell stories of Pocahontas, who when he first meets her is 11 years old. Today, scholars say Smith’s interpretation of events is romanticized and bears little relationship to what was likely a ceremonial trial in which the young Pocahontas was one participant.

Land and Water

Opechancanough, watercolor drawing by John White, created in 1585. White, an English artist and cartographer, accompanied the voyage from England to the Outer Banks of North Carolina under Sir Walter Raleigh’s plan to settle “Virginia.”

Courtesy The Trustees of the British Museum