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Powhatan
Smith Pamunkey
A Powhatan Warrior
Northeast
North East
Background
Country United States
First Sighting 1500s
Specific Area Virginia
Current Population Extinct
Cultural Practices {{{Cultural Practices}}}
Classification Native Americans
In the 1500s North America was occupied by approximately 13,000 to 14,000 Powhatan Indians. The Powhatan tribe's settlements were located along the rivers, which provided food and transportations.

At it's peak, the Powhatan nation included over 30 tribes. Each tribe was lead by it's own chief who paid tribute to Powhatan. Powhatan's people farmed as well as hunting and gathering food. Although early interactions between the English and the Powhatans was sometimes violent, leaders of both peoples realized the mutual benefit to be derived from peaceful relations. The marriage of Powhatan's daughter, Pocahontas, to settler John Rolfe in 1614 ensured a few years of peace. However, with the death of Pocahontas in 1617 and the death of Powhatan a year later, the peace came to an end.

In 1622, lead by their new leader, Opechancanough, the Powhatans staged an attack on English settlements throughout Virginia. The settlers retaliated and waged an all out war on the Powhatan people. For over a decade, the English systematically razed villages, seizing or destroying crops, killing men and women, and capturing children. The English expanded their empire as the Powhatan empire declined. In 1644, Opechancanough rallied his people for a final attempt at forcing the English off their land. Hundreds of colonists were killed, and Opechancanough was captured by the English and shot. Finally, treaties were made with Opechancanough's successor, severely restricting the Powhatan people's territory and confining them to small reservations. By 1669, the population of Powhatan Indians in the area had dropped to about 1,800 and by 1722, many of the tribes comprising the empire of Chief Powhatan were reported extinct.

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