A cornucopia of myths: Five things you thought you knew about Thanksgiving

Since the first Thanksgiving occurred, reportedly in 1621, historians and pop culture have spread a cornucopia of tall tales, half truths, and straight-up lies. Here, we correct those myths. 

2. The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock

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    The Mayflower II and its workboat (r.) are replicas of the ships that the Pilgrims sailed on.
    John Nordell
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Not technically.

The Pilgrims on Nov. 21, 1620 (Nov. 11 by their calendar), actually landed somewhere in Provincetown, Mass., located at the tip of Cape Cod – just across the Cape Cod Bay from Plymouth. They had originally planned to settle in Virginia, but not the modern state of Virginia. Given their affiliation with the Virginia Company, which had settlement rights to most of the eastern seaboard of the US, the Pilgrims intended to travel to “Northern Virginia,” which was actually the Hudson River region of New York. Instead, treacherous seas prevented them from traveling farther south.

Weeks after the Mayflower arrived, the Pilgrims sailed across the bay to an abandoned native American settlement called Patuxet, now Plymouth, according to “Of Plymouth Plantation” by William Bradford, an early governor Plymouth Colony. This is where the legendary Plymouth Rock can be found. 

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