Thanksgiving began as a simple regional holiday, celebrated only in New England. As part of the nation-building process, the Continental Congress in 1777 suggested an observance throughout the colonies. But only when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it a national holiday in 1863 did Thanksgiving win complete acceptance - and that had to wait until the end of the Civil War in the south. Most of the historic sites relating to the Pilgrims are concentrated around Plymouth, Massachusetts. But the Pilgrims first landed across Cape Cod Bay, at Provincetown, and set up their first trading post at Bourne. Across the border in Rhode Island is where religious dissenter Roger Williams, forced to leave Massachusetts, founded a new colony. Although Thanksgiving lives in the American memory as a time of cooperation between colonists and Native American tribes, the early years of settlement were also scenes of conflict. In Bristol, Rhode Island and Fort Shantock, Connecticut are places recalling the first, vicious wars waged between the European colonists and Native Americans.
Top Ten Historic Sites for Thanksgiving