Everything You Learned About Thanksgiving Is Wrong – By Maya Salam – The New York Times

“The holiday wasn’t made official until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared it as a kind of thank you for the Civil War victories in Vicksburg, Miss., and Gettysburg, Pa.

Beyond that, claiming it was the “first Thanksgiving” isn’t quite right either as both Native American and European societies had been holding festivals to celebrate successful harvests for centuries, Mr. Loewen said.

A prevalent opposing viewpoint is that the first Thanksgiving stemmed from the massacre of Pequot people in 1637, a culmination of the Pequot War. While it is true that a day of thanksgiving was noted in the Massachusetts Bay and the Plymouth colonies afterward, it is not accurate to say it was the basis for our modern Thanksgiving, Ms. Sheehan said.

Plymouth Rock in Pilgrim Memorial State Park in Plymouth, Mass. The rock, known as the “landing place of the Pilgrims,” was not mentioned in the Pilgrims’ original writings. Instead, it is a part of the region’s oral history.

Plymouth Rock in Pilgrim Memorial State Park in Plymouth, Mass. The rock, known as the “landing place of the Pilgrims,” was not mentioned in the Pilgrims’ original writings. Instead, it is a part of the region’s oral history.CreditErik Jacobs for The New York Times
And Plymouth, Mr. Loewen noted, was already a village with clear fields and a spring when the Pilgrims found it. “A lovely place to settle,” he said. “Why was it available? Because every single native person who had been living there was a corpse.” Plagues had wiped them out.”

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