Smithsonian

The Baptism of Pocahontas

Pocahontas is depicted in white as she is baptized under the name Rebecca by Anglican minister Alexander Whiteaker in Jamestown, Virginia. This event is believed to have taken place in 1613 or 1614. She is surrounded by colonists and family members, including her father, Chief Powhatan. Her brother, Nantequaus, turns away from the ceremony. The baptism occurred before her marriage to Englishman John Rolfe, who stands behind her. Their union is said to be the first recorded marriage between a European and a Native American. The scene symbolizes the belief that Native Americans should accept Christianity and other European ways.

Credit: John Gadsby Chapman, The Baptism of Pocahontas, 1614, commissioned 1837, placed 1840, Architect of the Capitol (negative number 70221).