It's Wednesday again, which means another installment of Shakespearean Imagination!
Tomorrow marks the holiday of Thanksgiving in the United States, a remembrance of the earliest European settlers in the northeast region of the country. In September, 1620, the Mayflower set sail from England bound for Virginia, where the Pilgrim separatists had been granted permission to settle. The 100-ft ship carried 102 settlers plus her sailing crew through a stormy 2-month plus crossing. After sighting Cape Cod, the settlers realised that they had failed to reach Virginia, but their provisions were dwindling, the Mayflower was damaged, and they could go no further. The settlers decided to remain in New England.
By the following year, November 1621, only 53 survivors remained of the original colonists. No further supply ships had arrived and resources were scarce. The settlers, having gotten in their modest harvest, celebrated with a small feast, to which were invited the neighbouring Native American tribe, the Wampanoags (with their Chief, King Massasoit). The first supply ship, the Fortune, (which also carried the next wave of settlers), arrived in the weeks immediately following that “First Thanksgiving.”
It is widely acknowledged that without the help of the Wampanoag tribe, those original Pilgrims would likely not have survived the first few years in the New World. As someone who can trace two lines of ancestry back to those 53 surviving colonists, Thanksgiving holds a special significance for my family and I. We remind each new generation to be thankful that, although it was an extremely difficult time for our ancestors, they survived and somehow remained :
- showing fearlessness and determination
Synonyms: intrepid - undaunted - fearless - brave - bold - determined - unstoppable
First seen in Shakespeare's King Henry IV, Part III (written 1590 - 1591). The full text of the play may be found here.
Note: to learn more about the Pilgrims and the other Mayflower colonists, I recommend checking out The Pilgrim Hall Museum as a starting point.