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Strachey's A Dictionarie of the Indian Language

Smith's Vocabulary of Indian words

Weroances and Their Tribes

English Observers

William Strachey' s Description of Critters in the Chesapeake Bay

Henry Spelman, Relation of Virginia, 1609


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Why didn't they compromise?

Powhatan and English leaders finally realized that both sides could benefit from peaceful relations. Each side had something the other wanted. The Powhatans viewed the English as newcomers who were possibly useful and potentially dangerous because of the firearms they carried. "Things" were what the Powhatans wanted from the English. These "things" were tools: shovels, hatchets, and axes that the common people could put to use immediately. The shovels and hoes replaced the dibble sticks used for planting and weeding. Of course the firearms were desirable items as well. Other "trinkets" were desired for the status symbol they represented. Rare or hard to make items had long been a sign of wealth and power in Powhatan society. Items such as bells and scissors were wanted not for what they could do, but because they were made of metal. The English were looking for the trade route to the Far East and needed knowledgeable guides as well as food.

Cooking over a natural spring
Cooking over a natural spring
On June 15, 1607, Powhatan, the paramount chief, issued an order to cease the raiding of the English. Peace reigned for a short period with Powhatan and his brothers occasionally sending gifts of venison to Jamestown. In September, the summer's first corn ripened enough to eat and some neighboring chiefdoms contributed to the colony's supplies.
Indian Gratitude
Indian Gratitude

January 2, 1608, Captain Christopher Newport arrived with much-needed supplies, but on January 7, a fire destroyed all of those supplies and the remaining corn. This left the English without food again. Powhatan stepped in and supplied the English with provisions at regular intervals.







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