November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving: It's historically innnacurate

Here are misconceptions about the great American holiday.

The Puritans came to America.
The Puritans did not come to America. The Separatists came to America.

The Pilgrims were from England.
They went from England to the Netherlands and then back to England and took a ship to America.

The Pilgrims came over on the Mayflower.
They originally had two ships: the Mayflower and the Speedwell. The Speedwell was too leaky to make the transatlantic voyage.

The Pilgrims came to America to flee from religious persecution.
Not all of them. Just over half of the people we now call Pilgrims were on the trip to make money off the land. The Separatists called them the Strangers.

The Pilgrims landed in Plymouth.
They were aiming for northern Virginia (they were being funded by the Virginia Company) and turned up off the coast of Cape Cod. They tried to correct course, but were forced back to Cape Cod and made first landfall in Princetown. They resupplied and then sailed to Plymouth, which wasn't even Plymouth; it was the area John Smith had named Patuxet.

Samoset and Squanto helped the Pilgrims through the winter.
Samoset and Tisquantum helped the Pilgrims through the winter.

Surely there are some people at this point going, 'no, that's wrong; Thanksgiving never happened anything like that!'. Go take it up with National Geographic. They published the book all this is from.

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