Article Reading Levels
  • Level 3

Document controls


Citation metadata

Author: David C. King
Date: 1996
Publisher: Blackbirch Press
Document Type: Biography
Length: 272 words
Lexile Measure: 890L

Main content

About this Person
Died: November 01, 1622
Nationality: American
Occupation: Guide
Other Names: Tisquantum
Full Text: 

Friend of the Pilgrims and Explorer.

When the Mayflower dropped anchor off Plymouth in December 1620, the Pilgrims and others on board did not know how to survive in the harsh New England climate. Half of the 102 settlers died during that first winter.

In the spring, Squanto came to them. He spoke English and wanted to help. As an interpreter, he arranged a treaty of friendship between the Plymouth Colony and the Wampanoag tribe. Squanto showed the settlers how to fish. He brought them the seeds of foods that they had never seen before—corn, pumpkins, and squash—and showed them how to grow these crops.

With Squanto’s help, the colony survived. In December 1621, the grateful Pilgrims held a great harvest festival: the first Thanksgiving.

Sidebar: HideShow

Squanto’s Experience in England

In 1605, Squanto met English explorers and returned to England with them. It was from them that he learned to speak English. Squanto did not return to New England until 1614, when he helped Captain John Smith explore and map the coastline.

Sidebar: HideShow

Sold into Slavery

In 1615, Squanto and 30 other Indians were seized by a slave trader and sold in Spain as slaves. Squanto managed to escape and make his way to England. He arrived back in New England just in time to aid the Pilgrims. A year after the harvest festival, while helping the Pilgrims explore Cape Cod, he became ill and died.

Sidebar: HideShow


The first nationwide celebration of Thanksgiving was proclaimed by President George Washington on November 26, 1789. Thanksgiving did not become a yearly national holiday until President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it in 1863. And in 1941, Congress set the date as the fourth Thursday in November.

Arranged the first treaty between colonists and Native Americans. Helped the Pilgrims survive.

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|EGSCFE630635739