Was the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth or Williamsburg?





“The first real Thanksgiving was near here,” said Ailsa Firstenberg, a 16-year-old junior interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg, not far from the James River and the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia.

Since she was 11 years old, Ailsa has put on a colonial costume to volunteer helping kids and their families get a better picture of America’s earliest days. It’s part of visiting historic Williamsburg and Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in what would become the United States, established on May 14, 1607....

Many people think the first Thanksgiving happened in the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts in 1621 to celebrate a successful harvest. But Williamsburg historian Taylor Stoermer says settler communities in what was then called the New World often had celebrations to give thanks. Records show that Spanish conquistadors had religious Thanksgiving services at San Elizario, Texas, in 1598.

And on Dec. 4, 1619, 38 settlers from England survived a storm to find land on the James River. The settlers were so glad to have survived the storm and at last be in Virginia, that ship’s captain, John Woodleaf, decreed Dec. 4 a day for giving thanks in the New World, Stoermer says....



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