Language: Powhatan
Family: Eastern Algonquian
Stock: Algonquian
Phylum: Algic
Macro-Culture: Eastern Woodlands
Speakers None
       The Powhatan were a sedentary hunter/farmer confederacy. They lived in the tidewater section and eastern shore of Virginia from the Potomac to the James River. They experienced good relations with the first colonists around Jamestown highlighted by the marriage of Pocahontas to John Rolfe. The peace soon deteriorated into a fourteen year war. They took more losses in wars with Iroquoian peoples and the Whites in the following years.
Aboriginal Locations: Subdivisions (Villages)
VA   Accohanock, Accomac, Appomattoc, Arrohattoc, Chesapeake, Chickahominy, Chiskiac, Cuttatawomen, Kecoughtan, Mattapony, Moraughtacund, Mummapacune, Nansemond, Nantaughtacund, Onawmanient, Pamunkey, Paspahegh, Pataunck, Pissasec, Potomac, Powhatan, Pappahannock, Secacawoni, Tauxenent, Warrasqueoc, Weanoc, Werowocomoco, Wicocomoco, Youghtanund (124)
Present Locations
MD    Accohannock Indian Tribe, Inc., Marion Station
VA    Chickahominy Indian Tribe, Providence Forge
          Mattaponi Reservation, West Point
          Nansemond Indian Tribe, Suffolk
          Pamunkey Reservation, King Wilkliam
          United Rappahannock Tribe Inc., Indian Neck
          Upper Mattaponi Tribe, Inc., St. Stephens Church
Year History
1498 Cabots probably among first visitors
1570 Spanish Jesuit mission established but soon extinguished by Indians
1607 Jamestown settlement
1618 Powhatan's daughter Pocahontas married John Rolfe
1622 Opechancanough, Chief Powhatan's second successor led uprising destroying all White villages except those around Jamestown; 14 year war ensued
1636 Peace agreement
1644 Opechancanough led second destructive revolt, he was killed , tribe placed on reservations
1656 Pamunkey band assisted colonists in invasion of inland people
1670 Smallpox epidemic sometime after this year
1675 Wrongly accused of Conestoga (Susquehannock) depredations, many unauthorized attacks on tribe led by Nathaniel Bacon
1676 Large number of men, women, children storm victims massacred near Richmond; peace made with survivors on condition of annual tribute to be paid by each village
1722 Colonists made treaty with Iroquois for them to stop attacks on Powhatan
1831 Powhatan band on eastern Virginia shore had become intermixed with Negroes, driven away as a result of slave uprising under Nat Turner
1935 Surviving bands: Chickahominy, Mattaponi, Nansemond, Pamunkey, Potomac, Powhatan, Rappahannock, Upper Mattaponi, Werowocomoco, Wicocomoco
Year Total Pop. MD VA Source
1600 9,000     Mooney estimate
1669 2,000       Census
1700 1,500 100 1,400 NAHDB calculation
1775 1,000       Mooney estimate
1800 1,000 100 900 NAHDB calculation
1900 850 50 800 NAHDB calculation 
1923 822     US Indian Office
2000 1,500 100 1,400 NAHDB calculation 
Other speakers of the same language:
Chowanoc, Hatteras, Machapunga, Moratok, Pamilco, Weapemeoc
Powhatan Sites:
Accohannock Indian Tribe
Accohannock Indian Tribe
Accohannock Living Village
Algonquin Language Group - Powhatan Tribe
Chickahominy Indians Eastern Division
Chickahominy Tribe
Chickahominy Tribe
Cultural Anthropology of Indian Villages
Jamestown, Virginia,_Virginia
John Smith's Virginia Village
Mattaponi Authors
Mattaponi Indian Reservation
Mattaponi Indian Town Marker
Nansemond Indian Tribe
Nansemond Tribe
Pamunkey History
Pamunkey Indian Museum
Pamunkey Indian Reservation
Pamunkey Indians of Virginia
Pamunkey Indian Tribe
Pocahontas:  Ambassador to the New World
Powhatan Authors
Powhatan Ceremonies and Beliefs
Powhatan Confederacy
Powhatan Confederation
Powhatan Dictionary
Powhatan History
Powhatan History (Short)
Powhatan Indian Facts
Powhatan Indian Lifeways
Powhatan Indians
Powhatan Indians of Virginia
Powhatan Indians Research Guide
Powhatan Indian Tribe History
Powhatan Indian Village
Powhatan Indian Village
Powhatan Indian Village 1
Powhatan Indian Village 2
Powhatan Language
Powhatan Language
Powhatan Linguistic Lineage
Powhatan Nation
Powhatan Renape Nation
Powhatan Tribe Reading List
Rappahannock Indian Migration
Rappahannock Tribe
Unofficial Pamunkey Indian Hope Page
Virginia's First People
Virtual Jamestown:  Powhatan Indian Attack
Wicocomico Indian Nation

Last updated 10/10/05  Copyright 2005 by Four Directions Press