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Opechancanough and Don Luis

Jamestown was founded in 1607 on land recently conquered by the Powhatan Confederacy. Movies about Pocahontas have given the impression that the “Powhatan Indians” were concentrated on the Chesapeake Bay.  They were not. The villages on the coastline of the Chesapeake were the vassals of the Pamunkey Indians, who forged the confederacy.1 The capital of the confederacy, Werowocomoco, was originally on the north side of the York River, not near Jamestown. Note that the town’s name ends with “moko” which is very similar to the Itza Maya title for king, mako, which was also used as a suffix by Itsate Creek Indians in Georgia and western North Carolina to signify a capital. Wahunsenacawh, (also known as Powhatan) the Weroance  (commander) of the Powhatan is consistently portrayed as a illiterate, simple-minded “chief” of a primitive society.  In fact, he was a highly intelligent leader of a dynamic indigenous society and the father of Pocahontas, who was known for her intelligence. Opechancanough, the brother of Wahunsenacawh, could understand several European languages, plus was very familiar with European culture.2 Pamunkey Indians told the Jamestown colonists that he had come to them as a noble of a land far to the southwest.3 This is strong evidence that he was one and the same person as “Don Luis”, a son of a Virginia Indian chief, who was captured by the Spanish ship crew in 1561.4 The ship then sailed to Spain. He spent five years in Spain, receiving a thorough education by the priests. He observed Spanish life and customs.  He learned from the Jesuits and Franciscans how to write and also how to plan future...

True Relations – Councilor of Paspanegh

The concession of Macanoe, who was the Councilor of Paspanegh. First I , then Paister Scrivener, upon our several examinations, found out all of them were convinced that the Paspahegh and the Chickahamania did hate us, and intended some mischief, and they were who took me, the names of them that stole our tools and swords, and that Powhatan had received them, they all agreed. Certain volleys of shot we caused to be discharged, which caused each other to think their fellows had been slain. Powhatan understanding we detained certain Savages, sent his daughter, a child of ten years old, which not only for features, continence and proportion, much exceeding any of the rest of his people, but for wit and sprit, the only nonpareil of his country. This he sent by his most trusted messenger, called Rawhunt, as much exceeding in deformity of a person, but of a sudden wit and crafty understanding, he with a long circumstances told me how well Powhatan loved and respected me, and in that I should not doubt any of his kindness. He had sent his child, which he most esteemed to see me, a deer and a bear for presents. Desiring me that the boy might come again, which he loved exceedingly, and his little daughter he had taught this lesson also. Not taking notice at all of the Indians that had been prisoner for three days. Until that morning she saw their fathers and friends come quietly and in good terms to ask for their liberty. Opechaukanough also sent unto us and that for his sake we would release two...

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