Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the Mayflower, the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving in America.
The Pilgrims are protestant refugees from England. They are fleeing and intolerant England who persecute people who will not follow the established Church. At first they flee to Holland. But they do not want their children to grow up Dutch. So they decide to create an English colony in America. There is already a colony in Jamestown. But they decide to settle far from there. They want to an English Colony but one where they can practice their own religion. 102 colonist set out on two ships – the Speedwell and the Mayflower. But the Speedwell soon springs a leak and everyone transfers to the Mayflower. The journey is horrible. One person is lost overboard in a storm. The ship is blown off course. Eventually after over two months at sea they reach America. They are not where they wanted to be. But they make landfall and set up a new colony in what we now call Plymouth Bay, Massachusetts.
But they are not the only people there. There is already a native American tribe living there. But the Pilgrims make friends with the tribe. The tribe help teach them how to farm. The Pilgrims help the tribe with medicine.
To celebrate their first bumper harvest the Pilgrims celebrate Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is an old English holiday. But the Pilgrims also invite the native Americans to this years Thanksgiving. They feast on the great Harvest that they have collected. This is now widely recognised as the first Thanksgiving in America.
Today millions of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving and remember the Pilgrims and how they crossed an ocean to build a new and better society, one which became the United States of America.
Thirty million Americans can trace their ancestry back to just over 100 colonists on the Mayflower. This year is also the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s voyage.
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If you liked this episode you might also like our episode on the Jamestown settlement and we get to meet the famous Pocahontas.
Or you might also enjoy our Hallowe’en special on witches in which we see what happened to the New England settlements just a few decades later with the Salem witch trials.