Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and what better way to get ready for the All-American holiday than by learning some fun facts about the Pilgrims? The settlers journeyed from England to the New World so they could pursue religious freedom, but their trip wasn’t easy. To find out some interesting information, along with some common debunked myths, check out the listed of trivia below, comprised courtesy of History.com, Scholastics and Fox News.
1. The Mayflower brought the Pilgrims from England to Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, in 1620.
2. The ship set sail from Plymouth, England, Sept. 6, 1620, with 102 passengers and 26 crew members.
3. The Pilgrims' desired destination was the mouth of the Hudson River, where there would be fertile land for them to farm, but rough seas and storms pushed them north.
4. There were 51 men, 21 boys, 20 women and 10 girls. One baby was born aboard the ship. He was aptly named Oceanus.
5. The Pilgrims lived in the Lower Deck of the ship during the 66-day journey. They rarely emerged from below deck to go to the top.
6. The living quarters on the ship were tight: It was only 5.5 feet high with a length of 80 feet and a width of 25 feet. This was because the ship was built to carry goods and supplies, not people. The merchant vessel traded wine with France and fish with Norway in the past.
7. The Mayflower’s first stop was on Nov. 11, 1620, when it landed in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The ship traveled at a painful 2 mph -- or less -- on average.
8. Their late arrival didn’t leave them enough time to build homes on land. They spent their first winter aboard the ship.
9. They knew they hadn’t reached their goal of what is now modern-day New York City, but dwindling supplies forced them to stay in the area.
10. They finally settled in Plymouth Harbor, which was named before they got there. While it’s widely believed the Pilgrims named Plymouth Rock after Plymouth, England, that’s a misconception.
11. It was Prince Charles, who eventually became King Charles, who named Plymouth after Captain John Smith landed there in 1614.
12. The Pilgrims had little ties to England and lived in the Netherlands for nearly a decade before their journey to the New World.
13. The harsh winter of 1621 killed nearly half of the passengers and crew. Only 53 travelers survived. They died of disease and starvation.
14. To hide their dwindling numbers to from the Native American Indians, they buried their dead at night in unmarked graves.
15. But they ultimately flourished. Within the next 70 years the colony grew to more than 3,000 people.
16. More than 35 million people are direct descendants of the Mayflower travelers. This includes politicians and celebrities like John Adams, Franklin Roosevelt, Marilyn Monroe and Clint Eastwood.
17. The Pilgrims used cookbooks for the first Thanksgiving.
18. The adults sat down to eat at the first Thanksgiving and their children served them.
19. Squanto, a Native American Indian from the Patuxet tribe who spoke English after being enslaved, taught the Pilgrims how to hunt, fish and farm in the area. He also served as a translator.
20. The settlers actually used the word “corn” for grains like rye, barley, or oats. Their word for the corn we know today was “Indian corn” or “turkey wheat.”
21. Both adults and children drank beer at the first Thanksgiving. The brew was safer to drink than water because the distillation process killed most bacteria and parasites.
22. The first Thanksgiving feast included foods like venison, turkey, sea bass, cod, clams, lobster, eel, mussels, ground nuts, squashes, beans and berries like strawberries, raspberries and grapes.
23. The Pilgrims didn’t use forks at the first Thanksgiving. Instead they used a knife, spoon and their fingers to eat. They shared plates and drinking vessels, which attributed to the rapid spread of disease.
24. They did not eat cranberry sauce, because sugar was scarce, nor did they have pumpkin pie, because they did not have ovens.
25. The feast, which lasted for three days, was prepared by four Pilgrim women and two teenage girls. The six of them also took care of the cleanup.
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