John Rolfe
Husband of Pocahontas

1585 - 1622

John Rolfe was an early English settler in Jamestown, Virginia. In 1614, he married Pocahontas, daughter of the Indian chief Powhatan. This marriage marked the beginning of a period of peace between Indians and the Jamestown colonists.

Rolfe arrived in Jamestown in 1610. In 1612, he succeeded in cultivating a type of tobacco from the West Indies. This tobacco became the foundation of Virginia's economy. Rolfe served as the colony's secretary from 1614 to 1619. Rolfe, Pocahontas, and their infant son, Thomas, traveled to England in 1616. Pocahontas died there in 1617. Rolfe then returned to America and later remarried. He became a member of the governor's council in 1619 and joined the Council of State in 1621. Rolfe was probably born in Heacham, England, in the county of Norfolk.

Contributor: Karen Ordahl Kupperman, Ph.D., Prof. of History, Univ. of Connecticut.
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