Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Texas Tidbits: Sorry, Massachusetts, The First Thanksgiving Took Place in Texas

Francisco Vasquez de Coronado
I am about to piss some people off, especially those in Massachusetts. The matter at hand is the first Thanksgiving. Sorry, Plymouth Rock, you ain't the home of the first Thanksgiving, maybe not even the second or third Thanksgiving. There are historical records that show that the First Thanksgiving was held in Palo Duro Canyon, Texas a full eighty years before the celebration of thanks at Plymouth Rock. in 1621.

The First Thanksgiving in the New World was held at Palo Duro Canyon on Ascension Thursday, May 23, 1541. On that day, Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and his men held a day of thanksgiving after "Coronado's expedition had left Mexico in search of the Seven Cities of Cibola, but instead of a mythical city of gold, Coronado and his men found the Llano Estacado, where there were no cities, no trees and very little water." (from rest of that story can be found here. This series of events has been verified by historians the world over, so this is the first instance of Thanksgiving as we know it in the New World.

On April 21, 1598, another Thanksgiving took place in Texas. That story can be found here. Now we have two "Thanksgivings" quite a few years before the Pilgrims celebrated their own day of thanks at Plymouth Rock.

I know this story may ruffle a few turkey feathers, but history is history. I don't bring this up to in any way diminish the importance of the Thanksgiving at Plymouth Rock in 1621 as it was certainly one of the most historic days of the American story. Three groups of people came to the New World for various reasons and independent of each other by miles and by years, found a reason to celebrate a day of Thanksgiving in what is now the United States of America, long may She live.

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