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Texas – 1598

The First Thanksgiving?
A painting depicting what many believe to be the real first Thanksgiving in North America. Conquistadors under the leadership of Don Juan De Oñate celebrating the occasion in 1598 at modern day San Eliazario, Texas. |

Twenty-three years before the Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrated Thanksgiving in Massachusetts, the Conquistadors held a ceremony featuring the giving of thanks in what is now Texas.

Spanish explorer Juan de Onate and hundreds of colonists worshiped and held a feast at San Eliazario on April 30, 1598, in honor of their safe passage through treacherous terrain, with natives being presented for the festivities.

“We built a great bonfire and roasted the meat and fish, and then all sat down to a repast the like of which we had never enjoyed before,” recounted one expedition member.

“We were happy that our trials were over; as happy as were the passengers in the Ark when they saw the dove returning with the olive branch in his beak, bringing tidings that the deluge had subsided.”

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