Pocahontas John Smith Real Life Story vs. Disney Story

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The Pocahontas we know today (due to Disney movie) is very different than the real Pocahontas. Pocahontas John Smith met when they arrived in Virginia.

We do not know her actual birth year, but it is said that she was born in 1596. Her real name was Amonute, and she had another nickname as well, which was Matoaka.

Moreover, she is a Native American and the daughter of Powhatan, who was the paramount chief. Her most notable work was the association with the colonial settlement in Virginia.

The Story of Pocahontas John Smith

According to many historians, Pocahontas was only 10 years old. Smith, with other English colonists, went to Tsenacomoca in 1607. At this time, John Smith was 27 years old. Pocahontas John Smith was never married or involved in a romantic relationship.

Did Pocahontas save his life?

It is said that all the members closely watched the kids of Powhatan. She was living with her father, the chief of the tribe. Hence, she used to have stricter rules and was provided with cultural training.

With his other members, Smith stayed near Powhatan, which is near Jamestown Island. But later, they began to explore other areas.

The Natives feared these men. This is because he used to enter villages and hold a gun on the chief’s head, and demand food and other supplies.

Furthermore, in early 1607, Pocahontas John Smith met each other, and at that time, he was captured by the tribe.

Both the Powhatan and English used to fear the Spanish, and thus they allied. According to contemporary written by Mattaponi and oral history, it is said that the tribe started to like Smith.

Later they even offered him a position of a leader known as “werowance.” Smith became the leader of colonists, which was recognized by the Powhatan tribe.

Moreover, Smith stated that Pocahontas did save his life when he became the leader. But according to the oral history of Mattaponi, there was no reason to kill someone who had received an honor by the tribe.

Besides, kids weren’t allowed to go to any religious ritual, and the werowance ceremony was similar. So, Pocahontas John Smith did not save his life because first she was not allowed to be in that area, and John was being honored.

pocahontas john smith

Did she defy her father to give food to Smith at Jamestown?

Some historians said that she disobeyed her father to bring supplies and food to Smith at Jamestown. But according to the Mattaponi tribe, it is not possible.

From Werowocomco, Jamestown is about 12 miles away. So, it was impossible for a 10 years old girl to travel alone to give food to others.

Though she, along with other tribe members, did go to Jamestown as a sign of peace.

Besides traveling to this place, one needed to cross huge water bodies and use 400 pounds of dugout canoes. It would take many strong men to lift these canoes in the water.

Most likely when Pocahontas John Smith met it served as a symbol of peace. Many children were present there. It showed that the Powhatan tribe had no ill intention to meet with these colonizers.

Did Pocahontas sneak in Jamestown to warn Smith about the Death plot?

During 1608 and 1609, when Smith was the werowance of the colonist, there was some feud between him and the tribe.

They made a lot of attempts to plant different crops. Also, Smith demanded supplies from neighboring villages by holding a gun on the head of the chiefs.

Mattaponi historians said that one woman from the tribe said to Smith that he calls himself Christian when he is not leaving any food for them in winter.

Also, Pocahontas’s father, who thought of Smith as his friend, said that he has never treated any werowance as good as John, and yet John is the worst werowance he has ever had.

Smith stated that the Powhatan tribe wanted to kill him and Pocahontas came to him to warn him about it.

Moreover, there is proof that Pocahontas John Smith did not meet separately and saved his life.

In 1608 a letter written by John Smith was published without him knowing it. This letter has no claims that Pocahontas saved his life two times.

However, in 1624 Smith wrote a book called “General Historie of Virginia” where he said she saved his life twice. But the people who could have debunked it was not a life at this point.

Pocahontas meaning

Pocahontas was Amonute’s nickname. It means “ill-behaved kid” or “playful.” She was one of the favorite daughters of her tribe. Later she has ruled 30 Algonquian-speaking tribes who were settled around Jamestown, Virginia.

How old Was John Smith?

It is said that John Smith was born on January 1, 1580. So, when he went to Jamestown in Virginia, he was in his late 20s. He died on June 21, 1631 when he was 51 years old.

How did Pocahontas die?

She died in Gravesend due to an unspecific sickness. Many historians claimed that she probably suffered from an upper respiratory ailment like pneumonia. However, others believe that she might have died due to some dysentery.

Moreover, she died when she was about 21 or 22 years old. On March 21, 1617, she was buried at the St. George Church.

Pocahontas descendants

Mary Anne Harrison, who was the former wife of John Lindsay, New York City mayor, is one of the descendants of Pocahontas.

Pocahontas movie

It is a drama, musical, historical movie released on June 10, 1995. Walt Disney Pictures released the movie, and Walt Disney Feature Animation produced the film. Eric Goldberg and Mike Gabriel were the directors of the film.

Moreover, it was the 33rd animated feature film by Disney and the 6th movie released during the Disney Renaissance period.

Also, the movie has romanticized Pocahontas’s and John Smith’s encounter and how she saved his life. She is the 7th official “Disney Princess” and the first princess who was based on a real person.

The film has received mixed reviews from the audience. They praised the film for its voice acting, songs, theme, animation but criticized it because of its lack of focus.

Despite receiving mixed reviews, it was successful and earned about 346 million dollars at the box office.

The film also received two Academy Awards for “Best Original Song” for the song “Colors of the Wind” and for “Comedy Score or Best Musical” for Menken.

pocahontas john smith


Her mother died while giving birth to her, and as a young lady, she was strong and a free spirit. Moreover, she is the only person in her tribe who treated the white colonizer nicely and formed a good relationship with John Smith.

In the second film, we also see her going to England on behalf of her tribe.

Pocahontas character and personality

She is displayed as a free-spirited, independent, and spiritual young girl. Moreover, she had the wisdom and even offered guidance to her people. She loves her village, nature, and adventure.

Also, in the movie, she had shamanic powers. This means she can commune with nature, talk with spirits, understand other languages, and empathize with different animals.

She believes her mother’s spirit is also around her. Mainly, she could feel her mother’s presence when she is with nature.

Besides, she has a playful side. We have seen her push Nakoma, her best friend, off the boat and then splash water on her.

In the 2nd movie, we see that she has matured a lot more after she learns that John Smith has died. Even though she is still playful and independent, she is now way more self-assured and mature than she was in the prequel.

Later she meets with John Rolfe. At first, she did not appreciate him and even bickers with Rolfe. But the more time she spends with him, she develops a deep romantic feeling for Rolfe, which is much greater than she had for Smith.

When she stayed in England, she lost herself in this new world. She turned into someone that she is not. However, by the end of the movie, she sacrifices herself to save her people in Native America. She wishes to return to her village and to find herself once again.


Pocahontas has long black hair, tan skin, dark brown eyes, and always twinkling. She is tall and has a slender and statuesque figure. Also, has narrow hips and broad shoulders. In the first movie, she was barefoot most times, whereas, in the 2nd part, she wears moccasins.

Unlike other Disney Princesses from Disney Renaissance, such as Jasmine, Belle, and Ariel, and modern Princess like Elsa, Anna, Rapunzel, Pocahontas looks very different.

Her face and eyes are less round and are more refined and angular. Also, the head and proportion of her body are very similar to an adult.

The first three Princesses, Cinderella, Aurora, Snow White, had a very cute and childish appearance. But Pocahontas appears very mature.

We have seen her wearing her turquoise necklace, which was her mother’s. The necklace was removed two times in the movie.

At first, it was shattered when Kocoum held it while falling. We see her removing it herself in the sequel and wearing a gold chain instead. She stated that the turquoise necklace does not belong here.

John Smith

He is the deuteragonist of the Disney film Pocahontas. Smith is a well-known English explorer who took part in Ratcliffe’s expedition to Native America. Here he meets Pocahontas and falls in love with her.


Smith is a young and handsome English man who is a soldier and an adventurer. It is shown that he was already famous in the film. Thomas said that he had heard various stories about Smith when he first appeared.

John Smith character and personality

At the movie’s beginning, John assumed that this voyage to Native America would be the same as his other voyages. But by the end of the movie, many of his views and opinions about the natives have changed all because of Pocahontas.

We see that in the beginning, he had prejudiced views on the Native Americans and thought he was rude and sassy.

After he had an encounter with Pocahontas, he started to change his views on Native Americans once he got to know her. He also thought that Natives could help him and his people.

Besides, he was also selfless. When Thomas killed Kocoum, Smith was willing to take the blame. Later, he even risked his life to save Thomas when he was drowning in a storm.

Smith also takes Thomas under his wing, and later they become best friends. He also teaches Thomas a lot of things, such as sailing and shooting. Throughout the movie, Smith shows loyalty towards Thomas, and Thomas stays loyal to him.

pocahontas john smith


Smith is a muscular man with pale skin, blue eyes, and shoulder-length blond hair with bangs on both sides.

In both the films, he wears a uniform. It is a light blue shirt which has long sleeves. The sleeves are folded in cuffs. His pants are also blue, and he wears a pair of deep blue boots. Also, he wears a musket and a satchel.

Initially, he even wore a light blue helmet which matched his outfit. His main outfit is of different shades of blue.

Later, when Pocahontas’s father captured him, we see that the tribe member removed his conquistador armor, and his blue shirt was also loose. Also, his boots at this time were black instead of blue.

At the end of the 2nd movie, we see Smith wearing a deep blue tunic with gold trim. This tunic is sleeveless, and he paired it with a white long-sleeved shirt. He still wears blue pants, black shoes, and grey socks.

Final thoughts

As we see, the real story of Pocahontas is very different than the Disney movie. Even though the Disney movie did not stay true to the original story, it is still a great watch. If you like Disney Princesses who are strong, independent, and powerful, you should try this movie.

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