Thursday, February 21, 2019

Powhatan was the Sachem of Eight Tribes #virginiapioneersnet #genealogy

Powhatan was the Sachem of Eight Tribes

PowhatanSachem means "Chief" The Powhatan confederacy consisted of a number of settlements mostly situated on the banks of the James, Elizabeth, Nansemond, York and Chickahominy rivers, all of which abounded with fish and fowl. Also, the forest was filled with deer and wild turkey, while the toothsome oyster was found in great abundance on the shores of the Chesapeake and its numerous inlets. In his younger days Powhatan had been a great warrior and subdued twenty-two others, so that at this time he was the mighty "werowance", or sagamore, of thirty of the forty tribes of Virginia. The hereditary chiefs of the Powhatan confederacy were permitted to rule their own people the same as they had before they were conquered and their local laws and customs were not interferred with on condition of their paying annual tribute to Powhatan of "skins, beads, copper, pearl, deere, turkeys, wild beasts and corn. What he commandeth they dare not disobey in the least thing." Moreover, as if to make the resemblance more remarkable, his subjects regarded him as half man and half god. Powhatan was described as a "tall, well-proportioned man with a sower look, his head somewhat gray, his beard so thin that it seemed none at all, his age nearly sixty, of a very able and hardy body to endure any labor." And considering the extent of his conquests and unlimited power over his subjects as well as the pomp which he maintained, Powhatan possessed a savage dignity. It is said that he had twenty sons and eleven daughters living at the time of the Jamestown settlement. Nothing is known of his sons except Nantaquans, who is described as "the most manliest, comliest and boldest spirit, ever seen in a savage." Pocahontas, the favorite daughter of Powhatan,is thought to have been born in 1594, which would make her about thirteen years of age at the time Captain Smith was dragged before her august father. The family of Powhatan was numerous and influential. Besides his sons and daughters there were also three brothers younger than himself; and upon them successively (and not his . . . more . . .

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