In search of the real Pocahontas

She was the titular character in the 1995 Disney film, but who was the real Pocahontas? Here, Susan Castillo Street looks beyond the 'noble savage' of Disney fame – who allegedly had a love affair with mercenary English soldier John Smith – to reveal a woman who played a critical role in the survival of England's Jamestown colony

The Sedgeford Portrait, which is said to show Pocahontas and her young son, Thomas. (Photo by Getty)

This article was first published in the April 2014 issue of BBC History Magazine

Pocahontas, despite her iconic stature in Anglo-American colonial history, remains an elusive figure. We can only catch fleeting glimpses of her through the words and images of others – some with elements of accuracy, others complete distortions.

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