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The History of Thanksgiving

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The History of Thanksgiving

Alena Tarrant, Features Writer

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In the year of 1620 around September, the Mayflower left Plymouth, England. It held a believed capacity of one hundred and two passengers. The occupants of the Mayflower, were religious separatists in search of a land where they could freely practice their faith. After a sixty-six-day journey, they came across the tip of Cape Cod. During the first winter, most individuals stayed aboard, and many suffered from exposure and other contagious viruses. A small number of colonists survived to see their first New England spring. The remaining colonists ventured ashore during the month of March. While they were in the process of settling, they were visited by an Albenaki Indian. Many days later, he returned a second time. This time he brought another native American named Squanto.  Six years prior to the Mayflower’s arrival, Squanto was kidnapped by Englishman, Thomas Hunt. He was sold into slavery, but eventually escaped to London. He then made his way to what is now known as Massachusetts.

Squanto aided the Pilgrims in farming, fishing, and other basic survival skills. He was even a key to the alliance of the Pilgrims and Wampanoag. After the first harvest proved successful, a large feast was arranged. This was believed to be the first Thanksgiving.  The feast lasted for three days. Historians are still unsure of the menu, but it is believed that the Native Americans brought five deer. “In 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States; in it, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution. His successors John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanks during their presidencies.” (History.com)

Alena Tarrant, Communications













Alena Tarrant is a senior and has been on journalism staff for two years. She is the communications editor. Her favorite quote...

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