What you learned about the ‘first Thanksgiving’ isn’t true. Here’s the real story

The first national Thanksgiving Day did not invoke the Pilgrims at all. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared a Thanksgiving Day on the last Thursday of November, looking to reconcile a country in the throes of the Civil War. A November 22, 2020 article by Eryn Dion of the USA Today Network published in the Newport Daily News sets the record straight. The photos and quotes below are from that article.


“The historically accurate story of the Pilgrims and the founding of Plymouth Colony 400 years ago this month is not in most school history books. It also is not the one you’ll find at Pilgrim Memorial Park in Plymouth.”

“In a little more than 50 years, European settlers would vastly outnumber the indigenous people, with growing settlements such as the Massachusetts Bay Colony to the north and Rhode Island to the south.”


“Relations between the settlers and the Native people would deteriorate into the devastating King Philip’s War, which ended with death, enslavement or displacement for the majority of the Native people living in southern New England.”