The Real Pocahontas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The story of Pocahontas and John Smith found in your history book and your video library may need some editing...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The real Pocahontas, pictured above, married John Rolfe, changed her name to Rebecca, and went to Europe! Where she fell ill and died.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what John Smith looked like, only a little more barrel chested.

This article was based on: “From the Aborigines to the Spanish” by Charles W. Arnade, U.S.F., Dept. of History.

Before Pocahontas and John Smith there was…
Ulele and Juan Ortiz
The Indian chief ordered the execution of a European captive. Just before the sentence was to be carried out the chief’s daughter persuaded him to spare the white man’s life. Does that sound like the story of Captain John Smith, the Jamestown colonist, and the native girl, Pocahontas?

Well it's not! It actually happened in Florida, nearly 80 years before John Smith ever set sail from England for the New World. The original story took place in the Tampa Bay area, possibly at the mouth of the Little Manatee River, in a village called Uzita. The map at right shows where this story takes place. It involved an Indian maiden known as Ulele and the Spanish explorer Juan Ortiz.

Many historians doubt that Pocahontas ever saved John Smith’s life and some contend that the Englishman probably made up his version of the story after reading an account of Juan Ortiz’s ordeal that had been translated into English about 1605. Not until Pocahontas died in 1617 did the story show up in a revised version of John Smith’s adventures published in 1624.

The real story began in 1528 with the landing of the Spanish conquistador, Panfilo de Narvaez and his army, at a small Indian village near the mouth of Tampa Bay. Because the natives of the village had salvaged pieces of shipwrecked Spanish galleons from the beach, Narvaez became convinced that the natives possessed both gold and silver. Therefore, he felt justified in torturing the natives; cutting off the nose of Chief Hirrihigua and throwing his mother and many other defenseless native people to his war dogs to be torn apart and eaten.

After Narvaez and his army had marched away from Tampa Bay, four of his men from a supply ship that had been left behind were captured by Chief Hirrihigua and 3 were put to death. When it was Juan’s turn to be used for target practice, the chief’s daughters and his wife begged him to spare the young Spanish soldier’s life. Juan was only 18 years old and hadn’t even been present when the chief lost his nose. Although the chief relented and kept Juan on as a slave, every time he tried to blow his nose, his hatred for the Spaniard returned.

No amount of torturing Juan could erase from the chief’s mind the picture of his mother being eaten alive by vicious dogs. He would torture Juan frequently; at one point he had Juan strapped to a “barbacao” and roasted alive over a fire. Again, Ulele saved his life, though he was badly burned. In spite of all this, Juan proved himself to be a brave man.

After Juan had endured slavery and torture for almost a year, Chief Hirrihigua decided that he must kill the Spaniard. This time, Ulele was unable to convince her father to spare Juan, so she decided to help him escape. She sent Juan to her fiancee, Chief Mocoso, who lived on the Alafia River. There Juan spent the next 10 years of his life, living as a native under the careful watch of his protector, Chief Mocoso. Although Juan was safe there, he forgot how to speak the language of his country and soon was covered with tattoos, just like the natives of Florida.

Juan was rescued in 1539 by the Spanish conquistador, Hernando de Soto, whose armies landed at the village of Uzita in Tampa Bay. Juan went on to serve as de Soto’s interpreter to the Indians until they both died in the winter of 1541-42 while encamped near the Mississippi River.

The picture shown here is of a painting depicting John Smith being saved by Pocahontas. It seems that it's a fictional portrayal because now we know what really gave birth to the whole native woman saves European colonist from Dad's wrath story in American History.