POYTHRESS-L ArchivesArchiver > POYTHRESS > 1997-11 > 0880942779
From: Ken Poole <>
Subject: Re: Va. Militia in 17th Century
Date: Sun, 30 Nov 1997 21:19:39 -0500
Hi to all, Having read your suggestion that the Spanish educated him I
will not comment on. However I can make some observations which are rather
The timing of the second Indian Crusade to rid Virginia of Colonists did
coincide with troubles in England, which in fact saw the Crown topple.
Their timing suggests more knowledge of English affairs than we have given
them credit for.
Another is that I suspect the Indians have had a bad press right along. One
has to dig deep to find the information that in desperation "Ope" (which
ever one makes one happy) tryed to give, by law, the entire Country to
Thomas Rolfe. This was an effort to work within the frame work of a law
which would never work for them.
It was this time frame also, which saw the decision to take permanent
Prisoners of War. These Indians were sold into slavery down south in the
Islands, or given to soldiers as permanent slaves.
One ought to note this happened again in the Viet Nam conflict, when our
country refused to pay the money for the "other" prisoners we left over
At 05:10 PM 11/30/97 -0600, Albert R. Tims wrote:
>Great question. My main source, at the moment, for this relationship is a
>book by noted historian, Carl Bridenbaugh, titled "Jamestown: 1544-1699"
>published by Oxford University Press, 1980. I believe Bridenbaugh delves
>into this topic more deeply in a subsequent 1981 book titled "Early
>Americans" also published by Oxford University Press.
>According to Bridenbaugh, Opechancanough was indeed the brother of
>Powhatan, but he gives Opechancanough's birthrate as ca 1544. He also
>provides an interesting account of Opechancanough being taken to Spain as a
>young boy where he was educated by the Jesuits and given the name of Don
>Luis. The account has him returning some years later and reverting back to
>his native culture -- equipped with a keen understanding of European
>thought, technology and motivations.
>Bridenbaugh cites a number of academic sources for this account --
>including a work titled "Chapters on the Ethnology of the Powhatan Tribes
>of Virginia," Heye Foundation, Indian Notes and Monographs (New York,
>1919). Moreover, he attempts to explain the source of confusion often
>associated with the name Powhatan. In Bridenbaugh's account Opechancanough
>is a far more significant "power behind the throne" during Powhatan's rule
>than is often credited.
>At least this is how events unfold in Bridenbaugh's account. I guess I
>should add that Bridenbaugh isn't a lightweight. He is a former President
>of the American Historical Association, served on the editorial board of
>the American Historical Review, and held chaired professorships at Brown
>University and at Berkeley. However, since this book is now more than 25
>years old, it may well be that better information is available to us.
>Just for clarity -- I'm not defending Bridenbaugh's account -- I'm merely
>passing it along.
>> From: Lea L. Dowd <>
>> To: ; ; Ken Poole
>> Subject: Re: Va. Militia in 17th Century
>> Date: Sunday, November 30, 1997 2:28 PM
>> Anyone.... I would love to know the source of Opechancanough being a
>> brother to Powhatan. According to my sources, he was born ca 1584 and
>> Powhatan was born ca 1543. It is also said that Opechancanough married
>> daughter of Powhatan. The brother that I have for Powhatan is
>> Just curious as to any "legal" sources on this one.
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