Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the life of Pocahontas, the Native American woman who to English eyes became a symbol of the New World. During the colonisation of Virginia in the first years of the seventeenth century, Pocahontas famously saved the life of an English prisoner, John Smith. Later captured, she converted to Christianity, married a settler and travelled to England where she was regarded as a curiosity. She died in 1617 at the age of 22 and was buried in Gravesend; her story has fascinated generations on both sides of the Atlantic, and has been reinterpreted and retold by many writers and artists.

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  • Susan Castillo No other episodes
    Harriet Beecher Stowe Emeritus Professor of American Studies at King's College London
  • Tim Lockley 4 episodes
    Reader in American Studies at the University of Warwick
  • Jacqueline Fear-Segal 3 episodes
    Reader in American History and Culture at the University of East Anglia

Reading list

  • Pocahontas: Medicine Woman, Spy, Entrepreneur, Diplomat
    Paula Gunn Allen (Harper Collins, 2004) Google Books →
  • Powhatan's World and Colonial Virginia: A Conflict of Cultures
    Frederic Gleach (University of Nebraska Press, 1997) Google Books →
  • Jamestown Narratives: Eyewitness Accounts of the Virginia Colony: The First Decade: 1607-1617
    Edward Wright Haile (Roundhouse, 1998) Google Books →
  • Indians and English: Facing Off in Early America
    Karen Ordahl Kupperman (Cornell University Press, 2000) Google Books →
  • Pocahontas: The Life and the Legend
    Frances Mossiker (Knopf, 1976) Google Books →
  • Love and Hate in Jamestown: John Smith, Pocahontas, and the Heart of a New Nation
    David Price (Faber & Faber, 2004) Google Books →
  • Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America
    Daniel Richter (Harvard University Press, 2001) Google Books →
  • Pocahontas's People: the Powhatan People of Virginia through Four Centuries
    Helen Rountree (University of Oklahoma Press, 1996)
  • Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Indian Lives changed by Jamestown
    Helen Rountree (University of Virginia Press, 2006) Google Books →
  • Pocahontas: The Evolution of an American Narrative
    Robert S. Tilton (Cambridge University Press, 1995) Google Books →
  • Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma
    Camilla Townsend (Hill and Wang, 2004) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: b03hwn09

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03hwn09

Auto-category: 970.00497 (Native Americans in North America)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In an unmarked grave in the town of Gravesend in Kent, lie the remains of a young woman who died there in 1616.