This Thursday and Friday, LearnKey offices will be closed in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. LearnKey offices will return to regular hours of operation 12/1/2014.
While many early groups of settlers observed a yearly day of thanksgiving after their arrival in the New World, the origin of the Thanksgiving holiday is generally attributed to those colonists known as the Pilgrims. Fleeing religious persecution in England, the Pilgrims originally settled in Leiden, Holland. Fearful of losing their cultural identity through long association with the Dutch people, the Pilgrims eventually left Holland and sailed to the New World aboard the Mayflower.
In late November of 1620, the colonists arrived in what is now known as Provincetown Harbor. They organized the first government of the new colony through a contract later known as the Mayflower Compact, signed by forty-one adult male passengers, two of whom – Degory Priest and George Soule – are my ancestors. The Mayflower Compact allowed for democratic voting and as been called the world’s first written constitution.
By December, most of the colonists on the Mayflower had become ill and were suffering from scurvy. A small group began exploring the shore for a place to found their new settlement, eventually choosing on an abandoned native village which they named New Plymouth. The first home constructed became a hospital for the sick, and by March only 47 of the original 102 colonists had survived.
During the first year, the colonists made friends with the native people, who shared supplies with the newcomers and taught them how to grow corn. In late September or October of 1621, the surviving Pilgrims invited their native friends to a three-day feast to celebrate their harvest. This feast is traditionally known as the First Thanksgiving.
We wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving, and hope everyone has plenty to be thankful for!