Daughter of Powhatan, who was chief of the "Powhatan Confederacy," an Algonquian Tribe. She was born around 1595 or 1596 in Werowocomoco which is now the Tidewater region of Virginia. Her real name was Mataoka. Pocahontas was a nickname meaning "playful" or "frolicsome" or "naughty one" or "little girl who likes to run around a lot and do cartwheels and such and who generally has a lot of fun in a rather extrovertive manner," that type of thing.

Not too much factual information is known about her life. What is known about her is quite muddled because of historical falsity, glossing over, colorful storytelling and perpetuation of myth. Captain John Smith, whose accounts regarding Pocahontas have largely been taken as the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth by the American public, was considered by people who actually knew him to be an egotistical and self-promoting stretcher of facts (read: big fat lying a-hole). Also, Disney did an A-1 job of completely mangling any reliable and accurate historical information that they could have included in their popular feature length cartoon called 'Pocahontas.' Yeah, they certainly fucked history up the ass on that one... So any detailed information known about her life is at best only probability and not quite clearly fact.

With that said, here are some more generally known probabilities/possibilities about the life of Pocahontas:

She was about eleven years old when she first encountered white men (Jamestown settlers) in 1607. Powhatan's tribe & the new settlers fought quite a lot, murdering eachother and whatnot. During more peaceful interludes, Pocahontas would visit Jamestown. She would play with the younger colonists. She was described by the colony's secretary as "wanton" because she'd cavort about completely naked. Pocahontas made friends in the colony and taught its occupants many Algonquin words & customs.

Sometime in 1607 the colonist John Smith was leading an expedition, wandered into an ambush and was captured by warriors from Pocahontas' tribe. According to Smith, Pocahontas saved his life when he was about to be clubbed to death as per chief Powhatan's orders. He wrote in his "Generall Historie of Virginia..." that she threw herself upon him, claiming him as her property and preventing his execution, risking her own life in the process. It should be noted that John Smith never mentioned this incident until 17 years after it supposedly happened and that he failed to record it in any of his writings previous to the period when Pocahontas became popular in England. Maybe it should also be mentioned that John Smith is reported to have claimed that several famous women saved his life at various times and also that his tale of Pocahontas preventing the "beating out of [his] braines" was amazingly similar to another man's story about being saved in such a manner that'd been published years previous to Smith's accounts detailing his encounters with the Powhatans. One more thing worth mentioning; It was a custom for outsiders to be accepted into a tribe through mock death rituals where they were threatened with execution but then saved or "adopted." A rebirth of sorts.
Make of that what you will..

Anyhow, after this whole beating of brains incident, the colonists & Powhatans apparently got along well enough. Pocahontas continued visiting the colony. The two peoples traded & shared with eachother. This more or less friendly relationship continued for a few years but after a time, the colonists and the natives seem to have gotten on eachothers bad sides again. Fighting commenced, hostages were taken, strife & disharmony abound... Pocahontas visited Jamestown less and less. Now when she went there it was more as a messenger between warring groups than as a social caller.

Sometime around 1610 Pocahontas married a boy/man named Kocoum and went to live with him among Potomac indians. Soon after this, she was kidnapped and held hostage by the Jamestown colonists to be used as a bargaining tool with chief Powhatan. Some say she was raped & brainwashed there. I don't know for sure about that. She was, though, dressed in English clothes, converted to Christianity, taught to "act like a lady" baptized and given a new Christian name, Rebecca.

She married a colonist, John Rolfe in 1614. Lived with him some miles north of Jamestown and bore him a son, Thomas in 1615. In the spring of 1616, Pocahontas, her husband & son sailed to England as part of a fundraising campaign for a tobacco outfit called The Virginia Company. Apparently, real live indians made for good PR & publicity. Pocahontas was only one of about a dozen natives who Sir Thomas Dale, who was involved with the tobacco company, shipped over to England in order to garner some attention for his money-making cause.

In England, Pocahontas was very well recieved. She met the King and Queen, did some sightseeing, was introduced to society. She also ran into John Smith again, whom she hadn't seen for years. Reports on her meeting him again range from her denouncing her tribe and calling him "father" to her cursing him and turning her back.

In 1617 Pocahontas and her family again set sail, this time back home to Virginia. But on the way, Pocahontas became ill from either tuberculosis or smallpox or pneumonia (different texts say different things :/). She was taken off of the ship in Gravesend, England and died there at age 22.

I'll probably revise this node as I get more informed. /msg me if you see anything I need to correct. if you do, though, please include some sort of valid historical reference to back it up.