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Historians Reveal That Pocahontas' Life Was Far From The Disney Version

Disney may be the most magical place on earth, but it certainly isn't the most accurate. Their brilliant storytellers have a knack for taking existing narratives and making them squeaky clean for kids. And perhaps no movie is further from the truth than Pocahontas. This tale of a beautiful Native American princess, her star-crossed beau John Smith, and her cheerful animal pals relies far more on fiction than fact. If you can believe it, the "happily ever after" ending actually disguises the much darker fate of the Powhatan girl.

Historical basis

Compared to most of Disney's classics that are based on fairy tales, Pocahontas seems like it should be steeped in history. Nonetheless, it too has been modified for a modern-day audience. And to be fair, much of the truth about what happened to this historical figure has been left out of modern-day adaptations, not just the Disney film. So, just what is Disney not telling us about this character?

The real woman

It’s estimated that the real Pocahontas was born towards the end of the 16th century, probably in 1596. Being more than 400 years old, it’s understandable, then, that her story has since become shrouded in myth. And Disney’s 1995 adaptation of the tale wasn’t altogether faithful to what actually happened during her lifetime.

The chief's daughter

For a start, Disney raised v’ social status and fashioned her into an iconic princess. In truth, she wasn’t royalty, but instead was the daughter of a leader of a large Native American tribe named Chief Powhatan. Despite being one of 27 children, though, Pocahontas was reportedly the apple of her father’s eye.

The mother mystery

About Pocahontas’ mother, however, little is known for sure, although there has been plenty of speculation. Some historians suspect that she was of a lower rank to Pocahontas’ father. Meanwhile, an oral tale that has been passed down through the generations says that she was the first woman whom Powhatan married. In this version of events, it’s thought that she passed away while giving birth to Pocahontas.