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Pocahontas

所属教程:People in America 更新:10-12
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VOICE 1:

People in America, a program in Special English on the Voice ofAmerica.

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She lived almost four hundredyears ago in what became the American state of Virginia. She was thefirst Native American to marry a white person. I'm Shirley Griffith.

VOICE 2:

And I'm Ray Freeman. Today, we tell about Pocahontas, thedaughter of the chief of the Powhatan [POW-a-tan] Indian tribe.

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VOICE 1:

Pocahontas was born in fifteen-ninety-five. She was one of twentychildren of Chief Powhatan. Powhatan ruled a group of more thantwenty Indian tribes in territory that is now the eastern state ofVirginia.

In sixteen-oh-seven, the Virginia Company in England sentcolonists to settle the land that later became the United States ofAmerica. The leader of the English settlers was John Ratcliffe. Heclaimed the land for King James of England. He named the new colonyJamestown, Virginia. The English colonists did not know that thearea already was settled by Indians.

VOICE 2:

The Powhatan Indians lived in the area where the Englishcolonists landed. They were part of a large group of American tribeswho spoke the Algonquian language. The Powhatans had lived in thearea for almost one-thousand years. They built villages. They grewbeans, corn, squash and melons. They created a strong politicalsystem, led by powerful chiefs like Powhatan. His power and wealthwere evident.

Women of the tribes controlled the houses and the fields. Theymade clothing of animal skins and containers of clay. Men hunted andfished for food. Both men and women wore earrings and other objectsmade of shells, pearls and copper.

The young Pocahontas often visited Jamestown during the colony'sfirst months. She was about twelve years old. The colonists knew herwell. She became an important link between the colonists and herfather, Powhatan.

VOICE 1:

The Indians' culture was very different from that of the Englishsettlers. The two groups did not understand each other. Themisunderstandings led to hostile incidents between the colonists andthe Indians.

John Smith was an explorer, soldier and a leader of the Jamestowncolony. He was captured in sixteen-oh-seven by followers ofPowhatan. Captain Smith wrote about this incident in a book that waspublished in sixteen-twenty-four. He wrote that Pocahontas saved himfrom being executed by Powhatan. This story has been repeated forhundreds of years. This is what most people know about Pocahontas.

VOICE 2:

Most historians, however, do not believe that Pocahontas savedthe life of John Smith. Some believe that Captain Smith invented thestory after reading about a similar event that took place inFlorida. That event involved a captured Spanish explorer, an Indianchief and the chief's daughter.

Some historians do not believe that John Smith's life was indanger. They say that what captain Smith thought was to be hisexecution was really an Indian ceremony. The ceremony was meant toshow that Powhatan accepted Smith as part of his tribe. Historianssay the Indian chief wanted to make the English colonists hisallies.

VOICE 1:

After Captain Smith's capture, the Indians and the colonistsagreed to a truce. Pocahontas visited Jamestown more often. She maynot have really saved John Smith's life. But most experts agree thatPocahontas helped the colonists. She brought them corn when theywere starving. She once was said to have warned the colonists abouta surprise attack by the Indians.

John Smith had been wounded during his capture. He returned toEngland. Hostilities once again broke out between the Indians andthe English settlers. In sixteen-eleven, Thomas Dale became actinggovernor of the colony. He started a new aggressive policy towardthe Indians. Two years later, an English soldier, Samuel Argall,kidnapped Pocahontas. She was about eighteen years old. Thecolonists kidnapped her because they wanted to prevent more attacksby the Indians. They also wanted to force Chief Powhatan tonegotiate a peace agreement.

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Pocahontas lived as a hostage in the Jamestown settlement formore than a year. A colonist, John Rolfe, taught her English. Healso taught her the Christian religion. Pocahontas was the firstnative American to become Christian. She changed her name toRebecca.

In sixteen-fourteen, she married John Rolfe in the church inJamestown. She was the first Indian woman to marry a white man. Herhusband believed that their marriage would be good for the colony.John Rolfe said he married Pocahontas "for the honor of our country,for the glory of God."

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Governor dale immediately opened negotiations with Powhatan. Theresult was a period of peace that lasted for about eight years.

Pocahontas' husband was a tobacco grower. She taught him theIndian way of planting tobacco. This method improved the tobaccocrop. Tobacco later became America's first successful crop.

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In sixteen-fifteen, Pocahontas and John Rolfe had a son. Theynamed him Thomas. The next year Pocahontas and her family sailed toEngland for a visit. In London, she was treated like a famousperson. She was officially presented to King James the first. Shealso met John Smith again.

The Virginia Company said her visit proved that it was possibleto have good relations between the English colonists and theIndians. The company urged more people to move from England to theVirginia colony.

Pocahontas had her picture painted while visiting England. She iswearing the clothes she wore when she met the king. They are thekind of clothes that were popular in England in thesixteen-hundreds. This picture is the only one that really is ofher.

VOICE 1:

Pocahontas and her family stayed in England for seven months.They prepared to return to Jamestown. But Pocahontas became sickwith smallpox. She died from the disease. She was buried inGravesend, England. She was twenty-two years old.

Her son, Thomas Rolfe, was raised in England. When he was twenty,he returned to Virginia. He lived as a settler in his mother'snative land. He married and had a daughter. Through Thomas Rolfe, anumber of famous Virginians have family ties to Pocahontas. Thesefamilies are proud to claim their ties to Pocahontas. They call her"Virginia's first lady."

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Pocahontas left no writings of her own. The only reports abouther from the time were written by John Smith. His reports may notall have been true. Yet the story of her rescue of captain Smithbecame a popular folk story.

Americans know that Pocahontas played a part in the early historyof Virginia. They remember her bravery and friendship. Americansalso remember her for what she represented as a native American: thehope of close relations between the white people and the Indians.

VOICE 1:

Pocahontas is honored in the United States capitol building inWashington, D.C. There are three art works of her in the large,round, main hall of the capitol. There are more representations ofher than any other American except for the nation's first president,George Washington. The three art works show the popular storiesabout Pocahontas. One is a painting of Pocahontas taking part in areligious ceremony in which she became a Christian. Two others showher saving the life of Captain John Smith.

VOICE 2:

Many different American groups have used the name and someversion of a picture of Pocahontas. Whale hunters in the nineteenthcentury named ships after Pocahontas in honor of her bravery. Theyalso put small statues of her on their ships.

Both the Confederate forces in the South and the Union forces inthe North used her name or picture during the American Civil War. Apicture of Pocahontas was on the flag of a division of Confederateforces called the guard of the daughters of Powhatan. Union forcesnamed a warship after the Indian woman.

Many American writers have written about Pocahontas. The WaltDisney Company produced a popular children's movie about her.

VOICE 1:

Today, visitors to the Jamestown settlement in Virginia can seewhat life was like there in the sixteen-hundreds.

They can see copies of the ships that brought the Englishsettlers. And they can see statues of three of the people importantin early America: John Smith, Chief Powhatan, and his daughter --Pocahontas.

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VOICE 2:

This Special English program was written by Shelley Gollust. Itwas produced by Lawan Davis. I'm Ray Freeman.

VOICE 1:

And I'm Shirley Griffith. Listen again next week for anotherPeople in America program on the Voice of America.

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