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A portrait of the famous Native leader Powhatan and his realm emerges in this revisionist study. For decades the English colonists at and around Jamestown lived in the shadow of a powerful confederation of Native American communities led by Powhatan. That realm encompassed the Tidewater area of Virginia from the James River to the Potomac River. For many years Powhatan skillfully staved off threats from other Native peoples and from European colonists. Despite the prominence of Powhatan during the early colonial years, our knowledge of him and life in his realm is filtered nearly completely through the eyewitness accounts of Europeans.
Margaret Holmes Williamson is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Mary Washington College.