New England Puritans & Pilgrims
New England Puritans & Pilgrims

Squanto in New England Puritans & Pilgrims

Squanto (unknown-1622), also known as Tisquantum, was born into the Pawtuxet tribe that lived around present-day Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Little is known about his early life, until he came into contact with Europeans who began documenting his story. He may have been the Native American whom George Weymouth took to England in 1605 and then returned with John Smith in 1615. He was certainly kidnapped along with other Indians by one of Smith's men, Capt. Thomas Hunt, who took them to the Mediterranean port of Málaga, Spain, to be sold into slavery. Squanto managed to escape to England and return home in 1619 with Capt. Thomas Dermer, only to find that his tribe had been wiped out by disease.

In the spring of 1621, Squanto met the Pilgrim settlers and showed them how to grow maize and fish. Since he spoke English, he played a vital role as an interpreter between the Pilgrims and the surrounding Native Americans. He also facilitated a treaty between Wampanoag Chief Massasoit and the whites. Squanto was serving as guide and interpreter on William Bradford's expedition around Cape Cod when he contracted smallpox and died.

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