SPOILER ALERT: You may not be thankful you read this story.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s evolved into a day for family gatherings and gratitude. The origin or Thanksgiving may not be what you think.
We usually associate the origin of thanksgiving with Indians and Pilgrims sitting down to their annual feast and that did happen one time.
In 1614 one of John Smith’s lieutenants, Thomas Hunt, had captured a group of Native Americans that he planned to sell into slavery in Spain. Some Friars took the remaining Native Americans to instruct them in their religion. Amongst these was one named Tisquantum known as Squanto.
Squanto managed to return to America in 1619 with John Smith’s expedition to find diseases brought by the europeans had all but wiped out his Patuxet tribe. When the Pilgrims arrived Squanto is believed to have taught them to fish and grow corn to help them survive. He also negotiated a treaty between the Pilgrims and Wampanoags. At the end of the first year they held a feast to honor Squanto and the Wampanoags that had made their survival possible.
As word spread of the paradise to be found across the ocean, the Puritans began arriving in the new world. The masses of British settlers began seizing whatever land they wanted an captured Natives as slaves. Many Native Americans were sold into slavery in Europe.
The Pequot Nation fought back. In 1637, near what is now Groton Connecticut, the Pequot gathered for their annual Green Corn Festival. While still under the cloak of darkness they were surrounded by English and Dutch mercenaries. 700 men, women and children of the Pequot were murdered that day. Massachusetts Colony Governor, John Winthrop, proclaimed such a “Thanksgiving” to celebrate the return of the victors.
George Washington orignally declared November 26th as Thanksgiving which was later changed to the day we celebrate now by Abraham Lincoln in 1863.