By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday marks the Thanksgiving holiday.
In 1621, a group of religious dissenters left England aboard the Mayflower bound for the English colony in Virginia – founded in 1607. En route they diverted the ship towards the American wilderness and landed near modern-day Plymouth, Massachusetts to set up their own colony separate and totally isolated from the Virginians, the then dominant Church of England, and theoretically separate from England. 45 of the 102 immigrants died during that first winter, and there was only one recorded birth. Unlike the Virginians, who quickly got into a decades-long war with the Indians of the Chesapeake Bay area, the pilgrims strived to have friendly relations with the Indians. With tremendous help from the Native Americans, the surviving Pilgrims celebrated a bountiful harvest that would sustain them for the next winter. Following the harvest, they invited their Wampanoag Indian friends to a celebration thanking God that they survived such a dangerous gamble, and the first Thanksgiving was born.