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March 14, 2014

Historic Jamestowne’s World of Pocahontas Initiative celebrates the 400th anniversary of the marriage of Pocahontas to John Rolfe

Historic Jamestowne guests can participate in four days of special programs, including re-creation of Pocahontas’ wedding to John Rolfe and a celebratory feast, Thursday through Sunday, April 3 - 6 at Historic Jamestowne.

The marriage will be re-enacted three times April 5 — 400 years to the day after the original ceremony — on the very spot it occurred in 1614.

The re-enactments of Pocahontas’ marriage to Englishman John Rolfe are at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday within the footprint of the 1608 church, discovered by archaeologists in 2010. Pocahontas is portrayed by a member of the Pamunkey Indian tribe.

The celebration supper is on the eve of the wedding at 7 p.m. Friday, April 4. The menu includes both English and Native delicacies prepared with a modern twist. The dinner’s host is the Rev. Alexander Whitaker, an Anglican priest who took a special interest in Pocahontas and was a friend to John Rolfe.

The price for the evening is $95 per person and includes dinner, dessert, and coffee and tea service. Optional cash bar cocktails are available beginning at 6:30 p.m. Proceeds from the dinner support the World of Pocahontas Initiative at Historic Jamestowne. Special appreciation is extended to Donald and Elaine Bogus for their generous support of this evening's celebration. The celebratory feast is at the Williamsburg Lodge, 310 S. England St.

In addition to the April 5 wedding re-enactments, World of Pocahontas programs at Historic Jamestowne scheduled Thursday through Sunday are:

• “a thing acceptable to Powhatan”— Two days before the wedding, Edward Brewster, the captain of the guard at James Fort, meets with Aquinton and Keyghaughton, two emissaries of Chief Powhatan. The two emissaries are convinced that Pocahontas is “very well and kindly treated,” and have promised to persuade Powhatan to “conclude a firm peace forever.” Presented at 1 and 3 p.m. Thursday, April 3.

• “to give her in the church”— Rev. Alexander Whitaker discusses tomorrow’s wedding of John Rolfe to Pocahontas with Aquinton and Keyghaughton, emissaries of Chief Powhatan. Whitaker is interested in Pocahontas’ spirituality and well-being, and has tried to spread Christianity to the Native population. He hopes that the conversion and marriage of Pocahontas will bring peace and good fortune to Jamestown. Presented at 1 and 3 p.m. Friday, April 4.

• “done about the fifth of April”— Rev. Whitaker’s housekeeper, Martha Sizemore, shares her thoughts on the recent marriage of John Rolfe to Pocahontas. Martha relates many of the conversations she has overheard. Presented at 1 and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 6.

In addition to the programs at Historic Jamestowne, events also include a lecture, “Pocahontas and Rolfe: Old Worlds and New Worlds.” Historian and author Daniel Richter offers a perspective on definitions of “old” and “new” worlds. The marriage of Pocahontas and John Rolfe united people from the Old World and the New. For Pocahontas, America was the old world and England was the new one. For both Pocahontas and Rolfe, rapid social changes were reshaping familiar ways of life in ways, making each of their old worlds new.

Richter is the Richard S. Dunn Director of the McNeil Center for Early American Studies and Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Professor of American History at the University of Pennsylvania. His presentation is at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 3 in the Hennage Auditorium of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. Admission is $6 for adults. Students are admitted free, subject to space availability. For tickets, telephone (855) 296-6627.

The World of Pocahontas Initiative focuses on the events surrounding Pocahontas’ capture, marriage, and voyage to England and provides a special opportunity to explore cultural interactions between colonists and Native peoples in the emerging Atlantic World of the early 17th century.

The World of Pocahontas Initiative is presented by The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and Preservation Virginia at Historic Jamestowne, in collaboration with the Pamunkey Indian Museum and Cultural Center and the Patawomeck Heritage Foundation. The World of Pocahontas Initiative receives generous support from James City County with additional sponsorship from the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Lottery.

Adult admission to Historic Jamestowne is $14, and includes Yorktown Battlefield. National Parks passes and Preservation Virginia memberships are accepted, but a $5 fee may apply for entrance to Historic Jamestowne. Youngsters under age 16 receive free admission to Historic Jamestowne. For more information, telephone (757) 229-4497 or visit

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley