In March 1621, the very survival of Plymouth colony was at stake, less than a year after its founding. An agreement between the Wampanoag sachem and Plymouth’s governor established a friendship between their peoples, affirmed their commitment to mutual defense, and helped ensure the colony’s survival. In anticipation of the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving in November 1621, historians explore the tenuous alliance that lasted for another five decades and its violent dissolution.
David J. Silverman, a professor of history at George Washington University, is the author of This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving. Carol Berkin (moderator) is Presidential Professor of History Emerita at Baruch College and the Graduate Center, CUNY.
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