The Powhatan is an amalgamation of ethnic groups of Native Americans in the State of Virginia. It may as well, refer to the chief of those ethnic groups, generally called as Chief Powhatan. It is expected that there were roughly 14,000 to 21,000 Powhatan inhabitants in the eastern part of the Virginia State when the English established Jamestown during 1607. The Powhatan inhabitants were also referred to as Virginia Algonquians because they spoke Virginia Algonquian or Powhatan, which is an eastern-Algonquian language.
During the late 16th century and early 17th century, Wahunsunacawh, the paramount chief, formed a powerful association by associating 30 branch inhabitants as members, whose region was much of the eastern part of the Virginia State. They named this area as Tsenacommacah, which means thickly populated territory. Wahunsunacawh, the paramount chief came to be recognized by the English people as "Chief Powhatan". Each of the ethnic groups in this association had its individual chief, called weroance, but they all paid honor to Chief Powhatan.
After the death of Chief Powhatan during 1618, conflict with colonists raised under the leadership of Opechancanough, the brother of Chief Powhatan, who sought in ineffective to kick off the intruding English. His huge-scale attacks during 1622 and 1644 encountered physically powerful retaliations by the English, causing the near abolition of the ethnic group. The Powhatan Paramount Chiefdom, which is being called by the modern historians, had been devastated by 1646. More vital than the continuing clashes with the English colonies was the elevated rate of deaths that the Powhatan suffered, owing to new communicable diseases, such as smallpox and measles, passed on to North America through the Europeans. The inhabitants of Native America did not contain any resistance to these diseases, which had been widespread in Asia and Europe for centuries. The extensive deaths damaged and hollowed out the society of Native America to a great extent.
By the middle part of the 17th century, the chiefs of the settlement were distressed for labor to expand the land. Approximately 50 % the European and English migrants arrived as bonded servants. As resolution continued, the migrants imported increasing numbers of enchained Africans for manual labor. Consequently, the colonies had approximately 6,000 black slaves by 1700, which is 1/12th of the Powhatan population. It was frequent for black slaves to flee and join the adjacent Powhatan, and a few white servants were famous to have joined the Indians, as well. Whites and Africans worked and survived jointly, and some natives intermarried with them, as well. Subsequent to the 1676 Bacon's Rebellion, the settlement enslaved Indians for power. Finally, the House of Burgesses eradicated Indian slavery during 1691. However, several Powhatan people were detained in servitude into the 18th century.
During the twenty-first century, eight Indian ethnic groups are authoritatively recognized by the Virginia State as having inherited ties to the Powhatan union. The Mattaponi and Pamunkey are the only two populations who have saved reservation property from the 17th century. Then, the New Jersey State recognized the Powhatan Renape Nation. The contending cultures of the English and Powhatan settlers were combined through unions and marriages of affiliates, of which the most famous was that of John Rolfe, a North American English settler, and Pocahontas, a Virginia Indian. Thomas Rolfe, their son was the forerunner of several Virginians, and several of the First Families of the Virginia State have both Virginia Indian and English ancestry.