Powhatan Virginia Home of Pocahontas
Powhatan Virginia, named after the famous Indian chief, is home to a growing population of residents who appreciate its historic roots and close-knit community. A short drive from Richmond, it's a great place to enjoy life and connect with friends and neighbors. Learn more about Murray Painting.
Residential-Commercial painting 22 years of experience located in Richmond Virginia area.
Known as the "Home of Pocahontas" and the "Chief of the Powhatan Indians", Powhatan was an important figure in the early days of English colonial settlement in North America. He ruled the confederation of tribes that were native to the area and was considered the paramount chief among them.
The chiefdom was made up of many small tribal enclaves, with each having its own distinct culture and traditions. As English people began to settle in their lands, they gradually eroded the tribes' cultural identity and power.
By the end of the 17th century, the Powhatan Indians were scattered all over the region, unable to sustain their ancient ways or keep their power. A strong kinship network aided their survival.
At first, relations with the English were good, primarily thanks to the efforts of Captain John Smith. But when he was injured in the winter of 1607 and sent back to England, relations between the English and Powhatan became increasingly strained.
As the tensions between the two grew, a meeting took place in Werowocomoco. This was a tense encounter, with both parties attempting to subvert Indian custom.
While the two men spoke, a hawk flew overhead. The Indians viewed the bird as a sign of the English's intentions, and they were angry at having their land invaded. They also believed the bird was a symbol of Smith's loyalty to King James I, who was regarded as an enemy of Powhatan by his fellow Indians.
When the Indians saw this, they retaliated by raiding the English enclave of Kecoughtan and destroying it in 1597. At that point, Powhatan moved his people to the Piankatank River to protect them from attack.
In the years that followed, the Powhatan fought a series of wars with the English. The first was fought in 1622-1626 and led to the loss of significant lands to the English. The second, in 1644-1646, was also defeated.
By the late 1600s, however, a number of Powhatan craftsmen had started making items to sell to the English. These products included clay pots, tobacco pipes and woven mats.
The Powhatan also possessed a mystical religion that centered on the use of rituals and medicines to help the tribe's members fight illness, heal the dead, and communicate with spirits. These rituals, performed in a trance, incorporated music and singing along with chanting. Shamans also served as doctors, sucking diseases out of patients' bodies to heal them.
By the time of Jamestown's founding, there were eleven recognized Powhatan tribes in Virginia. These tribes included the Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Nansemond, Pamunkey, Rappahannock, Upper Mattaponi, and Pamunkey-Rappahannock tribes.