Governor Ratcliffe
John Ratcliffe

Full Name

John Ratcliffe


Governor Ratcliffe


Steal the gold in Virginia (first film), to gain the king's favor (second film).(both failed)


Gets tied up in chains and sent back to England

Governor John Ratcliffe is the main antagonist of Pocahontas and its sequel, Pocahontas II: Journey to the New World. He is the former Governor of Virginia.

He is voiced by David Ogden Stiers.



Ratciffe leads the expedition to Virginia, claiming that he intends for him and his men to find adventure and freedom; in truth, he is merely after gold and riches. As they approach the island, Ratcliffe meets with one of his crewmen, James Smith, about his plan to deal with the natives living on the island. As the crew land and build a fort, Ratcliffe's men get into a violent fight with the natives. After the battle, Ratcliffe makes preparations to go to war with the Indians and steal the gold he believes they're hiding.

Ratcliffe and Smith come into conflict with each other when Smith meets the daughter of the Indian's chief, Pocahontas. He explains to Ratcliffe that the Indians have no gold and that they can make peaceful negotations with them. However, Ratcliffe refuses and declares the land to belong to him. He then declares that any man who refuses to kill the natives will be hung for treason. Later, when Smith goes out to meet with Pocahontas, Ratcliffe sends Thomas, one of the crewmen, after him. After Smith is captured by the Indians following the death of Kocoum at Thomas' hands, Ratcliffe declares war on the Indians, hoping to be able to steal their gold afterwards.

Ratcliffe leads the men out to go to war with the natives, at the same time that they are taking Smith out to be executed. However, before the two can go to war, Pocahontas stops the conflict, confessing her love for Smith and pleading for peace. Both sides are moved by Pocahontas' wisdom, and agree to stop fighting. However, Ratcliffe is unmoved and attempts to kill the native's chief, but instead shoots Smith when he shoves the chief out of the way. The rest of the crew, horrified by Ratcliffe's actions, turn on him and bind him. They then set sail back to England to try Ratcliffe for his crimes.

Journey to the New World

After his return to England, Ratcliffe fabricated a lie about the events that had transpired on the island, implicating Smith as a traitor. Due to his his friendship with King James, he is believed and sent to capture Smith for questioning. As he pursues Smith with several soldiers, Ratcliffe secretly shoves him off a building to his apparent death, and later claims that Smith had committed suicide.

After John Rolfe brings Pocahontas to England, Ratcliffe plots to get rid of her. He has Pocahontas invited to a Hunt Ball, where he has planned a bear baiting, knowing that this will upset and provoke Pocahontas. This works according to plan, and an enraged Pocahontas insults Ratcliffe and King James, leading to her imprisonment. Ratcliffe is then given permission to lead an armada to go to war with the Indians. However, his plans are foiled when John Smith, who had survived, releases Pocahontas and exposes the truth to King James.

In the battle that ensues, Ratcliffe attempts to kill Pocahontas, but is stopped by Smith. The two engage in a swordfight, with Ratcliffe nearly killing Smith, but Rolfe intervenes. Ratcliffe is tossed overboard the ship and swims to the shore, where he is met by King James and his men and promptly arrested.


Ratcliffe is a pompous and arrogant man who loves to find gold. He has a hatred against Indians.


  • Ratcliffe and Kocoum were the two villains to appear in the movie.
  • He and John Smith share the same first name.
  • Ratcliffe is regarded as one of Disney's less popular villains, but he is the only Disney animated villain to be based on an actual historical person.
  • The real Ratcliffe was generous with the colony's Native Americans. They tortured him to death when he was planning to trade with them in 1609. He did not live to see Pocahontas be married to John Rolfe.
  • The supervisor of Captain John Smith's ship on the journey to America in 1607 was Christopher Newport, not Ratcliffe.
  • His first name, John, is never mentioned in the first or second animated film.
  • He is the second villain in a "Disney Princess" movie to not have a death, The first being Lady Tremaine and the third being Prince Hans. Ratcliffe did not die in the sequel either.

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