Abduction of Pocahontas
Original Author: Johann Theodore de Bry after Georg Keller
Created: 1624 engraving, based on 1617 engraving
Medium: Engraving

Abduction of Pocahontas (Engraving)

An engraving published in 1624 in Frankfurt, Germany, depicts events leading up to and following the capture of Pocahontas in 1613. The Patawomeck subchief Iopassus and his wife, at left, talk a reluctant Pocahontas into boarding the boat of the English sea captain Samuel Argall. Iopassus and his wife are both holding gifts—Iopassus, a copper pot, and his wife, trade beads and a small box—that they have received from Argall to lure Pocahontas into captivity. The three Virginia Indians are next seen, at center, boarding the boat and sitting at dinner on the ship with Argall and his men. During dinner Argall ordered Pocahontas seized.

In the distance, the English are depicted approaching a Powhatan settlement to negotiate Pocahontas's return. When discussions break down, violence ensues. The English respond by burning down the Indian village. Smoke and flames can be seen rising from the village.

The original 1617 engraving of these scenes was created by Frankfurt-born artist Georg Keller to accompany a German translation of Ralph Hamor's True Discourse of the Present State of Virginia. (The original 1615 English edition of the book had no illustrations, so the German printer Abelius hired Keller.) Johann Theodore de Bry based this engraving on Keller's earlier one, and published it in the Latin book Novi Orbis pars dvodecima. Sive Descriptio Indiae Occidentalisthe (1624), also known as America, Part 12