noun (plural same or Powhatans)
1A member of an American Indian people of eastern Virginia.
- He responded by attempting to have his book on the Powhatans banned in Virginia.
- 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.
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Relating to the Powhatan or their language.
- 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.
From the chief nicknamed Powhatan, referring to his residence at the falls of the James River, from Virginia Algonquian pawatan 'river falls'.
( C.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 Englishman John Rolfe in 1614.
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