Pocahontas was a Native American woman of the Powhatan nation with an incredible amount of mythology surrounding her. Her legacy as a positive influence on early settlers of Virginia remains popular today.
Pocahontas was born about 1596, based on her telling her portraitist in London that she was in her 21st year in 1616. She may have been born in the Werowocomoco village Tsenacomoco, on the Pamunkey River (present-day Gloucester County, Virginia), but the exact location of her birth is not known. Her father was Wahunsenacawh, chief of the Powhatan. Her mother's name was not recorded by either John Smith or John Rolfe. 
At birth, Pocahontas was given the name Amonute. She later took a secret name, Matoaka, which she did not reveal until after her marriage and conversion to Christianity. Matoaka is considered the name given to Pocahontas at birth; some oral histories suggest her name may have meant "flower between two streams." The name by which she is best known, Pocahontas, was her childhood nickname, loosely translated as "playful one", "little wanton", or "laughing, joyous one", due to her curious nature.
Pocahontas and John Smith
The incident Pocahontas is best known for involved the nearly as famous Captain John Smith. The story Smith gave versus the one the Native American histories give vary somewhat.
According to Smith, in the winter of 1607, when Pocahontas was only around 11 years old, John was captured by her brother. In a scene where he believed he was in danger of being executed, Pocahontas stepped forward and offered her life for his, saving him.
Modern scholarship suggests that he was not in danger, but rather was being initiated as a brother. (A later letter of John Smith's also seems to support this, indicating a meal and interview, nothing dangerous.) It is also suggested that Pocahontas would never have been at such a ceremony, due to her age, but might have helped serve a meal in her father's home.
The story has been examined for centuries, and no one knows the truth for certain, but it did procure a place for both Pocahontas and John Smith in United States' mythology and history.
Following the incident, Powhatan informed Smith that he was part of the tribe, and proceeded to trade with him. Powhatan also sent gifts to the Jamestown settlement, which was starving in the winter conditions. Pocahontas served as a symbol of peace to the colonists, and would visit Jamestown frequently, playing with the children there.
Despite what transpired, relations deteriorated, as the English became more demanding and less grateful. Smith claimed Pocahontas would again save his life, warning him of Powhatan's plot to kill him, which prompted him and his companions to leave. Native American history again dictates that Pocahontas, being as young as she was, wouldn't have knowledge of such a plan and certainly wouldn't have made it as far as where Smith was without someone's knowledge.
Documented Marriage - John Rolfe
In 1613, Pocahontas was captured by English Captain Argall for ransom, with help from members of a neighboring tribe who lured her onto an English ship. Pocahontas was taken to Jamestown, then Henrico, and began learning more of the English culture. She was converted to Christianity in 1614, baptized with the name Rebecca, and with Powhatan's blessing, married English widower and tobacco planter John Rolfe in April of that year. Pocahontas and John Rolfe had one child, a son named Thomas, born around 1615. He is Pocahontas' only known child.
Lady Rebecca, Death & Legacy
Pocahontas, now referred to as Lady Rebecca Rolfe, accompanied her husband to England in 1616 on a public relations tour on behalf of the Virginia Company, which included meeting King James I. They took up residence in rural Brentford for a time. It was there that Pocahontas encountered John Smith once more, and confronted him on the behaviors of his company in the colonies.
In March 1617, the Rolfes decided to return to Virginia. Shortly after they began their return voyage, Rebecca became ill and the ship she was on put in at Gravesend, Kent, England. Rebecca died on shore and was buried under the chancel of St. George's Church on 21 March 1617. John Rolfe returned to Virginia, while young Thomas stayed in England with family.
Little else is known about Pocahontas for certain. Most that is told was written by others or passed down via oral history, and many families claim a connection to her, though far fewer than claim it can prove it.
Her son Thomas was educated in England, but later returned to Virginia and became an important settler; many prominent Virginians claim to be his descendants.
Rebecca (Powhatan) Rolfe is a descendant of Pocahontas. Here is the trail.
An Englishman, William Strachey, was in Jamestown in 1610 and lived there for about one year. Upon his return to England, he wrote a book about Jamestown, and in it is the only mention of a possible earlier, first marriage for Pocahontas. Strachey wrote that she was married to a "private captain named Kocoum". There is no concrete record of any children from this union, though some 20th century authors refer to one, and nothing further was recorded about Kocoum.
UPDATE: A Wikipedia entry questions the existence of Kocoum:
Since 1614 is certainly when she [Pocahontas] married John Rolfe, and no other contemporaneous records even hint at any previous husband, it has accordingly been suggested that when Strachey wrote of the "private captaine called Kocoum" he was mistakenly referring to Rolfe himself, with the reference being later misunderstood as one of Powhatan's officers. In addition, the date of Strachey's original statement has been widely disputed by numerous authors [who?] attempting either to make the case, or refute, that Pocahontas had been previously married."Given this, Kocoum has been detached as a first husband.
Subsequent claims were made in the late 20th century, citing "sacred oral tradition"  that Kocoum and Pocahontas had a child named Ka-Okee.  Some say Ka-Okee was a son; others say this was a daughter.
There are legends that Pocahontas and John Smith had a child named Peregrine Smith. No reliable evidence has been found to support this theory, which is discussed in more detail on Peregrine Smith's profile.
There is only one known image of Pocahontas made during her lifetime. Many romanticized portraits and images of events in her life were created around the time of the American centennial, still more at the 300th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement, and others done under the aegis of the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. Few, if any, of these images are historically accurate. For a discussion of several images of Pocahontas, see [Browne, Allen C., The Portrait Gallery blog. 3 posts on portraits of Pocahontas: 2015 Dec 15, 2015 Dec 20, 2015 Dec 22 Allen Browne
↑ Engraving, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (NPG), "Aetatis suae 21 An 1616." meaning in the 21st year of her age. Image at NPG Blog
↑ 4.04.1 Helen C. Rountree, Pocahontas, Powhatan Opechancanough, Three Indian Lives Changed by Jamestown, Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005) 35, 37-8; 176-8.
↑ 5.05.1 William Strachey, Historie of Travell into Virginia Britania (1612), eds. Louis B. Wright and Virginia Freund, Kraus Reprint Limited, Liechtenstein 1967, p. 62. (In an 1849 edition, the information will be found on p 54.) See also, p 111
↑ Smith John, "True Relation" (1608) , ed Deane (1866), with footnotes, . Smith is taken captive, p. 25. Pocahontas visits the fort, p. 72.
↑ Smith, John or William Symonds. "Proceedings" (1612). Appendix to Smith (1612), Map of Virginia. In Tyler, L.G (1907), Narratives of Early Virginia, p. 119. Smith is taken captive, p. 130. Pocahontas visits the fort, p. 139.
↑ Smith, John, The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and The Summer Isles (London, 1624). Books 3 and 4. 1907 edn, Vol. 1. (Book 3) Smith is taken captive, p. 96. Smith is saved by Pocahontas, p. 101. Pocahontas brings food, p. 103. Pocahontas saves Smith again, p. 162. (Book 4) Pocahontas kidnapped, p. 217. Pocahontas married, p. 220 (extracted from Hamor, but with no mention of conversion). Pocahontas in England, p. 235-240 (includes letter to Queen Anne). Book 4 is also in Tyler, L.G, Narratives of Early Virginia, p. 289.
↑ Argall, Sir Samuel Argall, Letter to Nicholas Hawes, dated June 1613, relating the kidnapping of Pocahontas. In Brown, Alexander, Genesis of the United States, Vol. 2 (1897), p. 640. Brown takes it from Purchas, iv, p. 1764, the same source cited by Robertson (1860).
↑ Harmor, Ralph, True Discourse (1615), ed. Harwell (1957), p. 4. Describes the capture, detention and marriage of Pocahontas, as told to the English public in 1614. Hamor was an eye-witness, or close to those who were, but he was also a Company propagandist. Includes the letters of Dale (p. 51), Whitaker (p. 59), and Rolfe (p. 61). (All other publications of these letters are derived from Hamor, as manuscripts do not exist).
↑ Robertson, Wyndham: "The Marriage of Pocahontas", in Southern Literary Messenger, Vol. 31, no. 2 (Aug 1860), p. 81. Explains and corrects the mistaken date of 1613 given by Stith and many other early writers. Also in Virginia Historical Reporter, Vol. 1 (1860), p. 65.
↑ Smithsonian Institution. Do All Indians Live in Tipis? Smithsonian Books, Washington, D.C. 2018. p75-77.
↑ Parish register burial entry for Rebecca Wroth [sic], 21 March 1616/7, Gravesend, Kent; citing St. George's Church; digital image at "FreeReg" database, (http://www.freereg.org.uk/cgi/Search.pl : accessed 7 September 2017). [Can we get a link to the actual image?]
↑ "The Burial of Pocahontas", in Virginia Historical Register, Vol. 2, no. 4 (Oct 1849), p. 187.
↑ Kingsbury, Susan M (1906). Virginia Company Records, Vol. 2, p. 105. Henry Rolfe's petition touching "the Child his said Brother had by Powhatan's Daughter".
↑ “The Ancestors and Descendants of John Rolfe with Notices of Some Connected Families.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 21, no. 1, 1913, pp. 105–106. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4243251. (First of 10 articles over three years).
↑ Wikipedia authors, Patawomeck, Wikipedia, citing Warner, Charles Dudley, The Story of Pocahontas, 1881.
↑ Letter from "Philo" which theorizes that Kocoum = Rolfe. In Virginia Historical Register, Vol. 4, no. 1 (Jan 1851), p 36.
↑ Custalow, Linwood & Daniel, Angela. The True Story of Pocahontas: The Other Side of History, 2007,