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Chief Powhatan
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    ( -1618)
    Born in Virginia
    Birth name was Wahunsenacawh or Wahunsenacah
    Father of Pocahontas
    Chief of Tsenacommacah; presided over the Powhatan empire at the time the English established the Jamestown Colony (1607)
    Led the main political and military power facing the early colonists
    Led 30 tribes during the First Ango-Powhatan War (1609-1614)
    He treated his daughter like a political chess piece, eventually green-lighting her being married off to a colonist ten years her senior.
    He had over a dozen wives, all of whom bore him at least one child.
    Legend has it that he was preparing to beat John Smith's brains out in an execution when his daughter pleaded for his life by holding Smith's head in her arms. (Although modern historians have theorized it was merely a tribal ritual his daughter was involved in.)
    He frustrated English attempts to make him a subject of the King by rejecting the crown they presented him with and relocating his capital city.
    He made the mistake of assuming he could starve the colonists into submission, allowing over 80% of the colonists to starve to death.
    His plan to use Pocahontas as a tool to ensure peace between his tribe and the colonists backfired when she was kidnapped and held for ransom (1613).
    He was described by colonial writings as an 'ineffectual' Chief during the last years of his life.
    At the climax of the Anglo-Powhatan War, Pocahontas and her captors encountered Tribal leaders representing her father. She allegedly denounced him, chastising him for valuing her 'less than old swords, pieces, or axes,' before claiming that she preferred to live with the English.
    He was voiced by activist Russell Means in the historically inaccurate Disney film based on his daughter's life and her 'romance' with John Smith.
    He followed through with his daughter's ransom by releasing English prisoners and sending weapons, but the colonists deemed the weapons he sent to be unsuitable in number and they refused to release her.
    His daughter's arranged marriage resulted in a peace which lasted the rest of his life.
    Colonial writings describe him as a formidable man physically, looking far more able and fit than his age would suggest.
    Colonists with the Virginia Company depended on his tribe to make it through the first few years after their arrival, particularly during harsh winters (he arranged to supply them with food and supplies).
    Historians generally deem him to be too pragmatic to outright kill a foreign diplomat, while also acknowledging John Smith's penchant for exaggeration and colorful stories.
    Under his rule, the Powhatan Empire expanded, with close to two dozen tribes joining the Empire. (He ruled between 13,000 and 34,000 people.)
    He called most all of the shots during the tribe's interaction with the Virginia Company, but he is now overshadowed by his more famous daughter.
    He died only one year after his daughter.
    His daughter was ranked among the ’100 Most Significant Americans of All Time’ by Smithsonian Magazine (Nov. 2014).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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