The first Thanksgiving was held in early autumn of 1621 at Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts. The 53 colonists who had survived harsh conditions celebrated with what they called a harvest festival. Over 90 Indians were invited to join the feast of turkey, duck, fish, venison and cornbread.

The feast lasted for several days, and the tradition was repeated at harvest time in the following years. The event was not originally called Thanksgiving because to the Pilgrims, thanksgiving was purely religious. The first recorded day of thanksgiving was held in 1623 in response to a much-needed rainfall. It was much later that the two events were combined to what is now known as Thanksgiving Day, which President Abraham Lincoln made an official holiday in 1863.

The Plymouth colonists built successful relationships with the neighboring Indians who taught them farming techniques. This success was due in part to Squanto, a local Indian who had been kidnapped and taken to England a decade before. Squanto was able to act as an interpreter between the colonists and the local Indians.

Massasoit, chief of the Wampanoags, signed a treaty of alliance with the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims would provide assistance with defense against a neighboring tribe, and the Wampanoags would provide food and teach the Pilgrims how to farm. It was this successful partnership, along with the leadership of colony governor William Bradford, that led to the first harvest festival, or thanksgiving.



  1. Thanks for the Giving. The world could still learn a few things about such sentiment.

    East Coast First Nations were a fascinating, highly political conglomeration that stretched the entire coastal length. My favorite are those that populated the Chesapeake Bay area. If only they’d had their own deadly illnesses to spread among the European immigrants (or immunity to Europe’s), North America would have been a vastly different culture.

    (I believe Indians are from India…)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anony, Thank you for a great comment and yes, our culture would be vastly improved, in many ways, I think. Although, they were only human too and made mistakes. I believe that American Indians had the first true Democracy. Women were not owned, they had rights, and power. The American Indian religion honored the land, water, nature, animals, and they were grateful and kind. They honored a promise, and they loved children and treated them as children. They were not cruel. I don’t believe they were from India, but are likely to be a mix of Polynesian and South American peoples. they are beautiful people. Thank you! Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was being a tad bit facetious, thanks for looking the other way… “Indians” being a misnomer. I know a number of Indians and they speak with a British lilt, and love colorful, extravagant food.


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