Skip to comments.Was first Thanksgiving in St. Augustine, Fla.
Posted on 11/24/2011 8:17:37 PM PST by Coleus
Forget the turkey, the silly Pilgrim hats and the buckles. Forget Plymouth Rock and 1621. If you want to know about the real first Thanksgiving on American soil, travel 1,200 miles south and more than 50 years earlier to a grassy spot on the Matanzas River in North Florida. This is where Spanish Adm. Pedro Menendez de Aviles came ashore on Sept. 8, 1565.
This is where he, 500 soldiers, 200 sailors, 100 civilian families and artisans, and the Timucuan Indians who occupied the village of Seloy gathered at a makeshift altar and said the first Christian Mass. And afterward, this is where they held the first Thanksgiving feast.
The Timucuans brought oysters and giant clams. The Spaniards carried from their ships garbanzo beans, olive oil, bread, pork and wine. Eric Johnson, director of the Mission of Nombre de Dios and Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche -- the site at which Menendez landed -- doesn't expect Americans to change their Thanksgiving traditions that are shaped around the Pilgrims' feast. But he, like other Florida historians, would like folks to recognize that the stories they learned in grade school -- the stories presented in textbooks today -- are wrong.
It all happened in this bucolic 300-acre Catholic mission and shrine that offers a quiet respite amid the frenetic tourist activity of St. Augustine, the oldest European settlement in the United States.
A replica of the Rustic Altar sits next to the shore in the general area where archaeologists believe the Mass took place. Michael Gannon, former director of the mission and University of Florida distinguished service emeritus professor of history, presented the celebration in his meticulously researched book, "The Cross in the Sand," in 1965 and has argued that this feast should be recognized as the first Thanksgiving.
(Excerpt) Read more at post-gazette.com ...
Yes, it was, the Latin Triditine Mass was celebrated and it beat out the Berkeley Plantation, Jamestown and Plymouth Rock by about 50 years. It seems it's not only the liberals who "revise" history. And let's face it, anyone who lives in Massachusetts knows that the growing season is over at the end of September and that's about the time the pilgrims celebrated, end of September or the beginning of October, not at the end of November like we do today. The date of the Canadian celebration of thanksgiving, Monday, Oct 10, 2011, is more accurate.
Thanks for posting. San Augustine AND Santa Fe had Thanksgiving before Plymouth.
This is true. And the event was recorded by the Chaplain. There was food sharing between the Spanish and the Indians. Because I live in la florida, I always mention this at the table every Thanksgiving Day.
What were they thankful for?
The Pilgrims were thankful for surviving a tough year of death and despair.
Actually it was the Vikings, some 500 years earlier, who celebrated the first Thanksgiving by playing the Chiefs.
Oysters, giant clams and garbanzo beans. I guess that’s one way to cut down on the number of family members coming over to celebrate Thanksgiving.
US history is often seen through a British lens. Non-Brits are only seen as threats/outsiders before 1776.
Where did they come up with the “giant clams” thing? St. Augustine clams are good but just sort of average.
I wonder how you say "pull my finger" in Spanish.
Sorry—not a Triditine Mass strictly speaking, as the Missal wasn’t published yet—1570—and Pius V was still about five months away from the Papacy.
“...garbanzo beans, olive oil, bread, pork and wine.”
Now, you know the natives had never eaten ANY of these things before.
I imagine their digestive systems went into shock, with predictable results.
After nearly running out of food and water while crossing the Chihuahua Desert, the Spaniards stumbled upon the Rio Grande. Here, they celebrated their good fortune by holding a Thanksgiving feast consisting of fish from the river, ducks and other game--but apparently no turkeys. Oñate and his party would go on to colonize New Mexico.
Sorry—God was thanked many times on this continent before 1621, but there’s really no doubt about it. The annual holiday of American Thanksgiving derives from the New England tradition that started in Plymouth Colony. President Washington nationalized the regional holiday in 1789.
The Catholic Church strongly supports American Thanksgiving, in spite of its Protestant origin, because she (like Christ her spouse) supports all good things, no matter who does them.
Actually the first Thanksgiving in North America was some miles away, in THE YEAR BEFORE the Spanish settled St. Augustine.
In 1564 a group of French Protestants known as Huguenots settled in Spanish-claimed territory near present-day Jacksonville. They built Fort Caroline on the St. John’s River in Florida, in present-day Jacksonville.
On June 30, 1564, they set a day of Thanksgiving and offered the first Protestant prayer in North America:
“We sang a psalm of Thanksgiving unto God, beseeching Him that it would please Him to continue His accustomed goodness towards us.”
Three small ships carrying 300 Frenchmen led by Rene de Laudonniere anchored in the river known today as the St. Johns. . . On June 30, 1564, construction of a triangular-shaped fort . . . was begun with the help of a local tribe of Timucuan Indians . . . (Fort Caroline was) home for this hardy group of Huguenots . . . their strong religious motivations inspired them.
When the king of Spain discovered this encroachment on what he considered his property, he dispatched an army under Don Pedro Menéndez to drive out the French and to establish a Spanish colony in La Florida. This was the beginning of St. Augustine.
After coming ashore and having his Thanksgiving Mass that you mentioned, Don Pedro Menéndez actually did drive out the French Protestants, murdering most of them in the process....
After taking Fort Caroline in a bloody battle, Menéndez found 111 French Protestant men away from the Fort, and forced them to surrender, which they did.
When they refused to convert to Roman Catholicism Capt. Menéndez murdered all 111 of the disarmed Protestants.
This was the first (and one of the only, that I know of) religious massacres in America—of those who did celebrate the 1st Thanksgiving.
One may want to review the whole history of something before boasting...
Whoops, my numbers were off. First 111 were executed...for refusing to convert to Roman Catholicism.
Then a couple weeks later, another 134 French Huguenots were captured...and then slaughtered by the Spanish, for the same reason...
The inlet and area there is now still named, “Matanzas” which apparently in Spanish means, “Slaughters.”
I was wondering when Fort Caroline would enter the discussion.
Well if you want to brag about Roman Catholic Menéndez supposedly having the “1st Thanksgiving” you have to deal with the very reason he came in the first place: To kill French Protestants.
I’ve read about it, it was obscene, the slaughter.
I think its safe to say, no Christian group has been so hounded, persecuted, and slaughtered, BY OTHER CHRISTIANS, as have French Calvinist Protestants (Huguenots). Mostly over 400 years ago...but still.
Very sad story indeed.
You might want to look into the Waldensians.
Thanksgiving was originated by the Calvinists to replace Christmas.
The Huguenots were some of the hardest working and industrious settlers to these shores. Their legacy is still felt.
The development of the IBM punch card can be traced to the Jacquard loom which was invented by a Huguenot.
My mom’s maternal side of the family were of Huguenot stock.
After France's King Louis XIV issued the Edict of Fontainebleau in 1685, which revoked the Huguenots' right to practice their religion, many fled to Prussia, a rising power whose growing army welcomed young Huguenot men, some of whom would rise to positions of leadership and join the Prussian military elite. Prussia's gain was France's loss. In WWI, German General Hermann von François, who was descended from Huguenots, would torment France's ally Russia and fight the French at Verdun.
And Columbus had the First Mass of Thanksgiving when he landed in the new world even before this.
But Thanksgiving is definitely Catholic.
I recall someone on FR attempting to claim that the Founding Fathers were influenced by the Vatican, too. Was that you?
The Vikings are another story — settled further north, I believe.
But they were influenced by John Carroll the only Catholic among the Founding Fathers.
Charles Carroll, founding father and "an exemplar of Catholic and republican virtue" [Ecumenical]
CITIZEN JOURNALISM: Founding Catholic [Father]
George Washington -- The Culturist Father of Our Country (First President was no Multi-Culturalist)
Religious Affiliation of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence
John Hancock: A Neglected American Hero
The Vision of George Washington
George Washington: the Constitution is sacredly obligatory upon all.
The Character of George Washington
10 Things We Should Know About George Washington
A Few Quotes from George Washington
George Washingtons Tear-Jerker
This Day In History January 16,1776 John Hancock letter to George Washington
George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation
Founding Father, Entrepreneur - The overlooked business career of George Washington
How George Washington Saved Christmas and America -- in 1776
established a port and colony on the nearby St. John's River
How come they don't get credit for this? And:
The fleet's chaplain was a secular priest named Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales
What the heck is a "secular preist?"
I’m familiar with the Carrolls of Carollton, Maryland, Salvation. I’ve got a Carroll from MD in my paternal line. No evidence of his ever having been Catholic, but the question of some connection hasn’t been resolved and may never be, burned counties and all that.
Not a member of a vowed religious order, e.g. diocesan.
Happy genealology searching.
My family had a book made with the Irish immigrant name. Then I met a fellow with the same name — loaned him the book, but none of his relatives are in it.
Must have been two or more of them that came over from Ireland. LOL!
Vatican Bob strikes again.
It is absolutely ludicrous to attribute Thanksgiving solely to Catholics.
Check your history.
Masses of Thanksgiving were offered long before the Okymouth Rock Colony came to exist!
Oh, you forgot to check the dates?
And many offerings of thanksgiving were offered thousands of years before there was a Catholic church. No one has a corner on it.
Surely Leif Ericson ate with the locals, maybe we should celebrate that?
The point of Thanksgiving isn’t about having a mass and feast with the locals after sailing across the ocean -as this article assumes. That’s not much of a challenge.
The Thanksgiving celebration was about overcoming Old World norms and New World challenges and hardships to come to terms with living in the New World.
What the Plymouth colonists gave thanks for wasn’t a good crossing it was overcoming the errors and fmaine of their first year, reorganizing their community’s economic and political structure, working with the locals and prospering as a result. I.e., that they ‘made it’ in New World. It was a transformational experience, not a voyage, mass and a feast.
The Thanksgiving holiday can also be looked at as the triumph of capitalism over the failures of socialism -if you must have a polital interpretation.
To parochialize such an event and the ensuing holiday based upon religious and/or cultural identity-politiking is quite offensive.