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Strachey's A Dictionarie of the Indian Language

Smith's Vocabulary of Indian words

Weroances and Their Tribes

English Observers

William Strachey' s Description of Critters in the Chesapeake Bay

Henry Spelman, Relation of Virginia, 1609


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What was the "Treaty of Middle Plantation?"

The Treaty of Middle Plantation was the result of the investigation of these three commissioners sent by King Charles. The commissioners agreed that Powhatan captives needed to be returned to their tribes, which was in conflict with the General Assembly's laws of June 1676 that stated that any Indians captured in war were to be slaves. Because this treaty is still in force, the Pamunkey and Mattaponi still pay "tribute" of game to the governor of Virginia each autumn.

The first of two versions of the Treaty of Middle Plantation (otherwise known as the "Treaty Between Virginia And The Indians") was signed by Cockacoesk, the weroansqua of Pamunkey, and her son "Captain John West," the weroance of Nansemond, on May 29, 1677. Because this treaty was considered fair and reasonable, word spread among the Indian nations. The second version was signed sometime between April and June 1680, and included leaders of the Iroquoian-speaking Meherrins, the Siouan-speaking Monocans and Saponis, Pattanouchus, who signed for the Nanzaticos, Nanzemonds; of Rappahonnock River, and Portobaccos. Terms of this treaty included:

  • The leaders who signed the treaty were to be subjects of the king of England.
  • They were to hold their reservation lands by patent, paying three arrows as an annual quitrent and twenty beaver skins as "rent" to the governor every March.
  • Cockacoeske, the weroansqua of Pamunkey, was to act as suzerain of the other leaders who signed the treaty.
  • No English were to settle within three miles of any Indian town.
  • Complaints by the Powhatans of ill treatment would be taken to the governor, where they would be treated like Englishmen.
  • Powhatans had the freedom to gather plants that were not used by the English, but only after giving notice to an English magistrate. They were required to go straight home afterward.
  • They were to report the presence of foreign Indians and escort them to English settlements or join English troops marching against them if necessary.
  • Servants were to serve for as long as English indentured servants did. Monitoring was done through a licensing system, that kept servants from becoming slaves.
  • The governor controlled the trade between the Powhatans and the English.
  • The Powhatans chose people they trusted as interpreters. Others in the past had been dishonest in dealing with the Powhatans.



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