Matoaka, popularly known as Pocahontas, was a real person. She was eleven or twelve when she met John Smith; the romance between them was a later invention. She may or may not actually have saved his life. Smith said so, but this was in a letter of recommendation to the queen, and it was customary to exaggerate as much as possible in those. Certainly she helped the colonists by bringing them food. She was held hostage by the British at one point, but it's unclear whether this was a true hostage situation or a formality she agreed to (both were common in that era). She married an Englisman, John Rolfe, and died young of European disease.

Related categories 3

Pocahontas Chronology
Timeline of the Powhatan girl's life.
The Pocahontas Myth
The Powhatan Nation's version of Pocahontas' story.
The Real Pocahontas
Biographies of the historical figures that inspired the Disney movie.
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