One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A member of an Algonquian people of eastern Virginia.
- ‘Her people, the Powhatan, are unquestionably the caretakers of this new world.’
- ‘They engrossed the land seized from the Powhatans, switched from white servants to enslaved blacks in the labor base, and positioned themselves at the control point in the tobacco and slave trades.’
- ‘In 1622, the year that English settlers and Powhatans went to war near the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in a contest that helped colonists acquire more land for tobacco fields, Johannes Neander's treatise on tobacco appeared in Europe.’
- ‘He responded by attempting to have his book on the Powhatans banned in Virginia.’
- ‘Bacon's Rebellion marked an appropriation of the Powhatans ' external trade routes.’
2The Algonquian language of the Powhatan.
Relating to the Powhatan or their language.
- ‘Virginia enjoyed a long peace with the Indians from the end of the final Powhatan war until 1675.’
- ‘Rather than a surprise execution, ‘Smith, all unawares, was perhaps being adopted into the Powhatan tribe, with Pocahontas as his sponsor’.’
- ‘‘I have seen the death of all my people thrice,’ the Powhatan chief told John Smith, showing him the few villages and perhaps 5,000 people that remained from the 50,000 or 60,000 of the original society.’
- ‘He continually, though unsuccessfully, pressed the Powhatan tribes to form a unified political alliance and sought to help the groups straighten their tribal organizations from within.’
- ‘Her book is by far the most comprehensive work on the Powhatan tribes.’
proper nounPlural Powhatans
(circa 1550–1618), Algonquian Indian chief; Indian name Wahunsonacock. He was the leader of the Powhatan Confederacy, an alliance of about 30 tribes that were located primarily in eastern Virginia. Often noted for his ruthlessness, he made peace with the colonists after his daughter Pocahontas married John Rolfe, an English colonist, in 1614.
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