Pocahontas in Gravesend

Do you remember the famous Disney tale of the Indian princess Pocahontas? In brief, I will tell you: A pretty Indian woman meets English dreamer John Smith and tells him about her world. Of course, they fall in love, which will lead to war between Indians and English. Smith will be sentenced to death, but the intelligent princess convinces his father to spare his life. Pocahontas and her loved one want peace between the two nations, but unfortunately some of the English crew love gold too much. John Smith has to return to England, and the princess decides to stay with her people. So much for the movie, and how was it really?

Pocahontas and John Smith really existed and met in America, Virginia, where John was sent on a mission, and Pocahontas was the daughter of an Indian ruler. According to a later letter from Smith to Queen Anna, an Englishman was imprisoned by a princess tribe, and she secretly supplied him with food, and later begged her father to spare his life. But there was no romantic story between them, perhaps because the princess was about 11 years old when Smith arrived in Virginia. Four years later, in 1613, Pocahontas was captured by the English during fights with her tribe and held for ransom. In captivity, she adopted Christianity and the name of Rebecca, and when the moment of release came, she decided to abandon her people and stay with the white people



Pocahontas’s baptism

She fell in love? Perhaps, because a year later she married the British tobacco grower John Rolfe, they had a son of Thomas. In 1616 a young family went to London. Pocahontas / Rebeka was presented at various courts as an attraction; civilized Christian Indian woman. John wanted to get subsidies for the development of agriculture in the colonies. A year later, she set off on her way back, but in England the princess developed a strange illness and soon after she left in Gravesend, she died. She was buried in the church of St. Jerzy, but where exactly, it is not known.

St George’s church

I lived in Gravesend for seven years and I remember my stay in this town. It is not big and it is not particularly picturesque, but it has its pearls. I recommend a walk around the city and especially along the River Thames, where there are ruins of ancient fortifications and the port, as well as a beautiful park. Soon I will write a separate entry about the majestic Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara Temple, which was built not so long ago. But telling you about the Indian princess I would like first of all to invite you to visit her burial place, somewhere near the church. It is not known exactly where, because the church burned down in the early 18th century, but, somewhere in its underground, Pocahontas, a young Indian princess, sleeps eternally. She probably died of pneumonia, not accustomed to the European climate, but there are also those who talk about poisoning. In front of the sixteenth-century church of St. George is facing a beautiful statue of a princess. This is a replica of the statue from her hometown of Jamestown, Virginia, by William Ordway Partridge.



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