Pocahontas (1995 film)

Pocahontas's real name was Matoaka. “Pocahontas” was only a nickname, and it can variously be translated to “little wanton”, “playful one”, “little brat”, or “the naughty one”. In the film, Pocahontas is a young adult; in reality, she was around 10 or 11 at the time John Smith arrived with the Virginia Company in 1607, while Smith was 28.

Smith is portrayed as an amiable man; in reality, he was described as having a harsh exterior and a very authoritarian personality by his fellow colonists.

Historically, there is no evidence of a romantic relationship emerging between Pocahontas and John Smith.[146] Whether or not Pocahontas saved Smith's life is debated. English colonists led by Samuel Argall captured Pocahontas three years after John Smith departed for England; she converted to Christianity in Henricus and later married John Rolfe, who was known for introducing tobacco as a cash crop.

The real Governor Ratcliffe, along with 14 fellow colonists, died when they were invited to a gathering with the tribe of Powhatan Indians. The Powhatans promised the starving colonists would be given corn, but the colonists were ambushed. Ratcliffe was tied to a stake in front of a fire. Women removed the skin from his entire body with mussel shells and tossed the pieces into the flame as he watched. They skinned his face last and finally burned him at the stake.

In the sequel, Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World, it depicts Pocahontas volunteering to go to England in her father's place. In reality, she was kidnapped by colonists due to conflict between the settlers and the Natives. Despite Powhatan's surrender of prisoners and weapons the Natives stole, the colonists were not satisfied and Pocahontas was taken to the town of Henricus. She converted to Christianity and took the name “Rebecca”. She married Rolfe and they had a son together, Thomas. The ending of the sequel features them on their way back to Jamestown, but in reality, Pocahontas became seriously ill and was unable to travel. She died at the age of 21 in March 1617.

Ebert criticized the film's deviations from history, writing “Having led one of the most interesting lives imaginable, Pocahontas serves here more as a simplified symbol”. Sophie Gilbert of The Atlantic wrote that “The movie might have fudged some facts”, but that this allowed it to tell “a compelling romantic story”.

Animator Tom Sito defended the film's relationship to history, stating that “Contrary to the popular verdict that we ignored history on the film, we tried hard to be historically correct and to accurately portray the culture of the Virginia Algonquins.”

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