The Tragic Real-Life Story Of Squanto

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 The Tragic Real-Life Story Of Squanto

Squanto proved to be valuable to the survival of the Plymouth colony. The soils of New England, prior to the arrival of the Pilgrims, had been depleted of nutrients from native agriculture. According to the New England Quarterly, Squanto schooled the Pilgrims on Native American agricultural techniques. This included, as reported by the Cape Cod Times, using fish to fertilize the soil then planting maize, beans, and squash together. This method, however, was abandoned by the Pilgrims for more traditional European methods. 

Perhaps of equal if not more importance was that Squanto helped the Pilgrims establish trade contacts. The Pilgrims used these contacts to obtain animal pelts, which they used to pay their financial backers in London. Squanto, as translator and liaison, became invaluable to the English. Without him, there would have been no first Thanksgiving in American history, which was more of a diplomatic negotiation than a kumbaya feast.

In fact, this raises the question of what Squanto’s goals were as he became increasingly tied to the English colony. In the summer of 1621, Corbitant, a rival of Massasoit, threatened to kill Squanto, viewing him as the mouthpiece of the English. He was rescued by a detachment of English soldiers led by Miles Standish.

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