At the beginning of the 1600s, a group of English Protestants lived in England under the reign of King James. He was also the Head of the Church of England, but these people wanted to separate from the Church of England. They were called Puritans and they dressed in a very severe way, and had very strict rules.
People who disobeyed the king could be sent to jail, so the Puritans made their decision.
The Puritan Pilgrims boarded a ship called the Mayflower at Plymouth, in the south of England. They sailed for many weeks until they reached America, far across the sea. It was a long and difficult journey – the people were tired and sick when they arrived off the coast of Massachusetts, in November 1620.
They got off the Mayflower by stepping onto a big rock which they called Plymouth Rock. The people who met them when they arrived in the new land were Indians from the Wampanoag tribe.
Squanto and a group of Indians stayed with the Pilgrims and showed them how to survive in the wilderness. They taught them how to plant and cook maize, sweet potatoes and pumpkins, how to catch wild turkeys and deer, and where to fish. They also showed them how to shoot a bow and arrow to fertilize the soil with dead fish.
One year later, thanks to the Indians, the Pilgrims had a good harvest. To celebrate it they had a big party, which now is called Thanksgiving. The new European, settlers and the American Indians were quite happy together at first. But gradually life became very difficult for the Native Americans and eventually they were forced to live on reservations. Only now are Americans beginning to learn and respect Indian values again, and Indians are fighting for their rights.
Source: Excursion, an old Italian book.