RE: THANKSGIVING - Ruffedges asked, "what are the origins?"

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The way I hear tell of it, ruffedges,

...and don't go quoting me on wikipedia, or in your thesis,

...but the Wampanoag nation was almost wiped out by diseases brought from people from London and Liverpool during the first part of the 1600s - the ORIGINAL (dead) Plymouth Colony, for example (okay maybe Liverpool, maybe not - it's a port community so I imagine it's as much a part of the history as other port towns).

These foreigners also kidnapped 20 young men of the Patuxet tribe who were out fishing with their buddies and took them to Spain to be sold as slaves. Two were put on display in London.

A few years later - I guess they knew enough time had passed to go back now that their biological warfare had had it's effect - a group of puritan and anglican separatists from Scrooby in Nottinghamshire left for Leiden, The Netherlands. The Dutch kicked these farmers out because they couldn't adapt to modern industrial life, and they thought them weird), although their children had learned to speak a little dutch. These religeous zealots disliked this severely and decided to seek a place of their own - much in the same way Jim Jones did during the late 1900s.

In 1618 William Brewster shot his mouth off and pissed off the King, who sent a detail to The Netherlands to arrest him. He was able to escape capture, but made plans to get further away.

So these separatists obtained a land patent to settle land at the mouth of the Hudson River - where BOTH the Dutch and the British had made a land purchase from the local tribes (at least they PLANNED on making a purchase - and they actually did almost 100 years later - interesting side story, by the way)

Then they chartered the Speedwell to depart for port in Southampton to meet the Mayflower who was picking up the hiding William Brewster. They left together three months late, and immediately had to divert to Dartmouth because the Speedwell, with it's 30 passengers was leaking. This time they made it 200 miles past Lands End and had to turn back - this time to Plymouth. The Speedwell was determined to not be (still well, that is).
Some of the passengers transferred to the Mayflower - some decided not to go at all. 102 left on the Mayflower for the New World (a term which might make the term "New World Order" make more sense to those who do not understand it fully, imho).

To make a long story short, these "Pilgrims" "accidentally" changed their destination from their patent to Cape Cod (an area "owned" by a diffferent land company). They stayed on Cape Cod a few weeks and stole a years supply of corn from a family of the Narangassett Nation who were out of town - maybe vacationing in the Catskills. The Nation attacked and ran them out of town (they seemed to piss off everyone, huh?). They landed on the mainland "near" plymouth rock, and half of them died during that winter.

Then some other stuff happened and Squanto - one of the kidnapped fishermen who had been on display in London, but who had escaped and worked his way back to first Newfoundland, and then "New Plymouth" - made friends with Edward Winslow and they made mutual protection compacts with the Wampanoag Nation and all those people came to a friendship ceremony sometime during 1621 and ate them out of house and home - becasuse in order to be good hosts you have to feed ALL your guests. They ran out of food and a Wampanoag hunting party set out to return with 7 deer to augment the feast.

So this is how a small group makes friends with a larger group that can protect them and GIVES thanks by emptying their cupboards - it's okay though because if they ever needed help they just had to go to their neighbors to "borrow" a cup of sugar - or a side of vennison - whatever - they were family now!

Two years later the Narangassett Nation decided they wanted to be friends too, so they kidnapped John Billington and held him hostage until the colonists were able to return the corn. Then, in a big formal ceremony they returned little Johnny to his family (I put it that way - but Johnny was like 16 and his family wasn't very well liked by the other colonists - so this even might not have ever happened unless the pilgrims wanted so desparately to keep friends with the native americans.)

The relationship built between indigenous people and the Pilgrims turns out to be a model of mutual benefit that got immediately thrown out the window when other people - more and more of them every day - started to arrive from France, Spain, England, Holland, The Netherlands - EVERYWHERE - to settle the New World. But during the early 1600's the Fall (HARVEST) Festival combined with sharing with your neighbors for mutual protection to become Thanksgiving - our nation's 2nd most popular holiday.


(((There are at least 1000 versions of this story depending on who you ask - so researching the topic is a wonderful idea for those interested - lots of stuff written!))))

Created: Nov 25, 2010

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