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Thanksgiving History

It all started here in New England! Learn more about Thanksgiving history including the Pilgrims and their first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts, plus other historical facts about the evolution of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving History Trivia Quiz
Think you know your Thanksgiving history? Then you'll gobble up this Thanksgiving trivia challenge.

Giving Thanks: The Definitive Thanksgiving Cookbook and History Book
A review of the book "Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes and History, from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie" by Plimoth Plantation food historian Kathleen Curtin and Food History News publisher Sandra L. Oliver. "Giving Thanks" is the definitive Thanksgiving cookbook and a treasure trove of Thanksgiving traditions, lore, images and recipes.

Partakers of Our Plenty
Those Pilgrims were New Englanders from the get go! Did you know that lobster was likely among the many first Thanksgiving dishes? Food Historian Kathleen A. Curtin takes a look at menu items likely served by the Pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving feast.

The First Thanksgiving: Did the Pilgrims Eat Popcorn?
Some Thanksgiving stories are based more on myth than reality. Plimoth Plantation provides this look at the facts about common misconceptions, such as whether the Pilgrims ate popcorn at the first Thanksgiving.

The First Thanksgiving Proclamation
The governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts, issued the first Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1676, 55 years after the Pilgrims' first feast.

History of Thanksgiving and its Celebrations
While we've made Thanksgiving uniquely our own, celebrations of abundant harvests date back to the Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Hebrews, from Holidays on the Net.

A Letter Sent from New England...
Mourt's Relation, written primarily by Edward Winslow between 1620-1621, is one of the few first-hand accounts of the Pilgrims' Thanksgiving.

Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation
President Abraham Lincoln officially made Thanksgiving a national holiday with an 1863 decree. About.com 19th-Century History Expert Robert McNamara provides the original text.

Mayflower Passenger List
MayflowerFamilies.com provides this complete listing of the passengers aboard the Mayflower: Many did not live to see the first Thanksgiving.

The Native Americans
This resource from MayflowerFamilies.com has fascinating details on the Indians who befriended the Pilgrims.

Pilgrim Clothing
From Plimoth Plantation, here's a look at the likely attire of the attendees at the first Thanksgiving celebration: both the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags.

The Plymouth Thanksgiving Story
From the Fourth World Documentation Project, here's a version of the Thanksgiving story that's geared toward teachers.

Presidents & Celebrities with Mayflower Ancestry
Here's some trivia for you! Sail1620.org provides a guide to U.S. presidents and other celebrities and notables descended from the Pilgrims.

Primary Sources for the "First Thanksgiving"
There are only two existing first-hand accounts of that first feast in Plymouth. Here is the text, from the Pilgrim Hall Museum.

Thanksgiving as a National Holiday
This account written by Virginia Mescher tells how Thanksgiving became officially recognized. Note: This is a .pdf file, which requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Thanksgiving Quotations
From Thomas Aquinas, to William Faulkner, to JFK, here are some notable quotes that capture the notion of gratitude, from About.com's Quotations site.

The Thanksgiving Story
Wilstar's Holiday Pages include this brief history of the Thanksgiving celebration in America, from the Pilgrim's first feast to the present.

The Thanksgiving Turkey
Holidays on the Net looks at the history of Thanksgiving's most prominent symbol. Did the Pilgrims really eat turkey?

The True Thanksgiving Story
This comprehensive article by Dennis Rupert takes a look at common myths and facts about the First Thanksgiving and early Thanksgiving celebrations.

The Wampanoag Side of the First Thanksgiving Story
Learn more about the Native American tribe that played such a vital role in the Pilgrims' lives and in the first Thanksgiving celebration and discover why the modern holiday is a day of mourning for Native Americans, especially the remaining Massachusetts Wampanoags.

Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation
George Washington issued the first presidential Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789 in New York City.

The Winter of 1620-1621
Stormfax Weather Almanac has this account of the Pilgrims' first winter in an unknown land.

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