Spanish sailors celebrated the first Thanksgiving in Florida 50 years before the Pilgrims in 1621
Source - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3333763/Forget-turkey-Researchers-claim-Spanish-sailors-celebrated-Thanksgiving-Florida-50-years-Pilgrims-1621-salted-pork-red-wine.html
As the history books have it, the Pilgrims arrived on the shore of New England, gave thanks and dined with natives - creating the tradition of a Thanksgiving meal.
History books say the first Thanksgiving happened in 1621, but a raging debate among historians claims that in fact, the banquet came to the new world 50 years earlier.
According to records, Spanish explorers and colonists landed in St. Augustine, Florida where they gave thanks and feasted with natives more than 50 years earlier.
Painting of the Mass of Thanksgiving. Spanish explorers and colonists landed in St. Augustine, Florida where they gave thanks and dined with natives more than 50 years earlier. Pedro Menéndez de Aviles and other settlers ate with the natives that followed a Mass of Thanksgiving on September 8, 1565
Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Aviles and 800 soldiers, sailors and settlers celebrated with their new friends that followed a Mass of Thanksgiving on September 8, 1565.
Colonial records indicate this was the first Catholic mass to take place on American soil.
According to the memoirs of Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, who celebrated the mass, once 'the feast day [was] observed . . . after mass, 'the Adelantado [Menendez] had the Indians fed and dined himself.'
As University of Florida professor Michael Gannon noted in his book, The Cross in the Sand, 'It was the first community act of religion and thanksgiving in the first permanent settlement in the land.'
'Not until 42 years later would English Jamestown be founded,' Gannon told Florida Today.
'Not until 56 years later would the Pilgrims in Massachusetts observe their famous Thanksgiving.'
There was not turkey or cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie on the menu that day.
Instead, the meal consisted of an assortment of food, from salted pork and red wine from Spain to yucca from the Caribbean.
A difference between the New England Thanksgiving was that the natives gave food to the pilgrims.
At the St. Augustine Thanksgiving, the entire meal was brought by the Spanish from home and their travels.
'The holiday we celebrate today is really something that was invented in a sense,' said Kathleen Deagen, research curator emerita of historical archaeology at the museum, located on the University of Florida campus.
'By the time the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, the people who settled America's first colony with Menéndez probably had children and grandchildren living there.'
Painting of the pilgrim Thanksgiving. The holiday we celebrate today is really something that was invented in a sense. By the time the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, the people who settled America's first colony with Menéndez probably had children and grandchildren living there
This little-known part of American history challenges the traditional story, which reflects an Anglicized version of history and supports the country's colonial origins being viewed as solely or at least primality, British, said Gifford Waters, historical archaeology collection manager at the Florida Museum.
'The fact is, the first colony was a melting pot and the cultural interactions of the many groups of people in the colony were much more like the U.S. is today than the British colonies ever were,' Waters said.
'I think the true story of the first Thanksgiving is especially important, since there is a growing Hispanic population in the U.S. and the role of the Spanish colony in La Florida is often neglected in the classroom.'
Colonial records indicate this was the first Catholic mass to take place on American soil. According to the memoirs of Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, who celebrated the mass, once 'the feast day [was] observed . . . after mass, 'the Adelantado [Menendez] had the Indians fed and dined himself'
Last year, historians hit the jackpot when they unearthed more than 400 artifacts where Pedro Menendez landed in 1565.
The findings consisted of burned corned on the cob that may have been used to keep mosquitoes away, a tiny metal star described as a 'flagellation star', and appeared to be an arrow head.
Archaeologists have not recovered any artifacts or other archaeological data that is associated with the first Thanksgiving, but they have found food remains that would have been eaten, Waters said.
Historians believe the meal took place near the mouth of present-day Hospital Creek on the Matanzas River, where today Archaeological Park, the site of Menéndez' original encampment and the first colony, is located.
'It is very rare to be able to pin down archaeological remains with a specific event, especially something as ephemeral as a single meal,' he said.
Waters said he hopes spreading word about the original Thanksgiving will spark interest in having a more complete understanding of American history.
THE FIRST THANKSGIVING MENU
Instead of flat-top hats and oversized buckles, conquistadors wore armor and colonists dressed in 16th-century Spanish garments.
The meal consisted of an assortment of food, from salted pork and red wine shipped from Spain to yucca from the Caribbean.
Besides salted pork and red wine, those in attendance ate garbanzo beans, olives, and hard sea biscuits.
The meal may have also included Caribbean foods that were probably collected when Menéndez stopped to regroup and resupply at San Juan Puerto Rico before continuing to Florida, Deagan says.
If the Timucua contributed, it would likely have been with corn, fresh fish, berries, or beans