AMERICAN EVOLUTION™ commemorates the 400th anniversary of several key historical events that occurred in Virginia in 1619 that continue to influence America today. Featured events, programs, and legacy projects inspire local, national, and international engagement in the themes of democracy, diversity, and opportunity.
Was the first English Thanksgiving held in Virginia in 1619? In 1931, historian Lyon G. Tyler read records that document the voyage by Captain Woodlief to the New World with instructions ordering its settlers to celebrate a yearly “day of thanksgiving” — two years before that other one in Massachusetts. By the 1950s, Berkeley Plantation’s claim as the first official English Thanksgiving became a local cause célèbre. Virginia was given co-billing with Plymouth in President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 Thanksgiving Proclamation, which gave credence to Virginia’s claim.
Cover Photo by Will Fisher via Flickr