The First Indian The Pilgrims Met Greeted Them In English

Here’s a bit of Thanksgiving trivia for you to dish out should conversation fade out.

The Pilgrim’s landed in the vicinity of Cape Cod, MA November 11, 1620. During that first winter, half of the 100 settlers died from harsh conditions and disease. Throughout that terrible winter, there was no direct contact with Native Americans. When spotted and approached, the indigenous people would flee back into the woods.

The Colonists were surprised a few months later when on March 16 an Abenaki chieftain, Samoset, walked right into the midst of their encampment. As Alexander Young, who collected the historical documents recording the lives of the Pilgrims and events at Plymouth Plantation, reprinted in Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers of the Colony of Plymouth, wrote “He very boldly came all alone, and along the houses, straight to the rendezvous; where we intercepted him, not suffering him to go in, as undoubtedly he would out of his boldness.”

“Welcome. Welcome Englishmen!” Samoset said to the startled group.

Samoset would go on to foster goodwill between the Native Americans and Pilgrims. He introduced them to Squanto; emissary for the great Wampanoag chief Massasoit.

It is reckoned that Samoset learned English from fisherman who frequented the shores of his homeland in Maine and when he saw The Mayflower, he thought it was just another fishing vessel.

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