Mad About You

So what if they weren't lovers? Pocahontas and John Smith were fascinated with each other, and it saved the colony

Keam Collection / Getty

Engraved portrait of Native American Pocahontas of the Powhatan tribe circa 1610, she wears a shawl, feathered headdress, and European-styled necklace.

It was the first great American love story. Or was it?

Neither John Smith nor Pocahontas ever claimed to be an item. There's not a shred of evidence to affirm they were. But the real story of their relationship is more interesting than what the rich canon of American romance literature, or even Hollywood, has made of it. Pocahontas and Smith shared a deep friendship based, at a minimum, on mutual fascination, admiration and respect. Their relationship almost certainly saved Jamestown, opening the way to British empire in America.

And their intimacy--platonic or otherwise--has mirrored for the ages the perilous courtship...

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