The Coronation of Powhatan

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Joshua J. Mark
by John Gadsby Chapman
published on 25 February 2021
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The Coronation of Powhatan, painting by the American artist John Gadsby Chapman, 1835 CE.

Greenville Museum of Art, Greenville, South Carolina.

The painting depicts the 1609 CE event of the Jamestown colonists attempting to make Wahunsenacah Chief Powhatan (l. c. 1547-c. 1618 CE), the Native American leader of the Powhatan Confederacy, an English prince and subject of King James I of England. The actual event did not go well and Wahunsenacah did not recognize James I as his king. Chapman, however, presented the event as honoring Chief Powhatan and emphasized the good relations between the English and Native Americans as the romantic ideal of the "noble savage" was gaining popularity mid-19th century CE. The artist interestingly places a shadow figure, resembling a 19th-century CE frontiersman, directly behind Powhatan, suggesting how the world of the Native Americans gave way to the establishment of the United States of America.

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Cite This Work

APA Style

Chapman, J. G. (2021, February 25). The Coronation of Powhatan. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Chapman, John Gadsby. "The Coronation of Powhatan." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified February 25, 2021.

MLA Style

Chapman, John Gadsby. "The Coronation of Powhatan." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 25 Feb 2021. Web. 28 Nov 2021.