The First Thanksgiving

America’s first Thanksgiving

1598: Juan de Onate holds a festival to give thanks for a safe passage across the Rio Grande River – it is referred to as the first Thanksgiving feast in America – 23 years before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock. The Pilgrims must have brought with them a better pr team.
1598, Don Juan de Oñate, a Spanish nobleman and conquistador born in Zacatecas, Mexico, led a group of 500 colonists and 7,000 head of livestock (including horses, oxen and cattle) from southern Chihuahua to settle the province of New Mexico. The caravan traveled a northeasterly route for weeks across the desert until it reached the banks of the Río Grande in the San Elizario area. The thirsty travelers drank the cool water and then celebrated with a Thanksgiving Mass and enjoyed a feast of fish, fowl and deer on April 30, 1598. This is considered to be the “First Thanksgiving” celebrated in the present-day United States. Oñate performed the ceremony of La Toma (Taking Possession) in which he claimed the new province for King Philip II of Spain or Rey Felipe II de España.

All of the following images were taken with the Nikon D5000 and the Nikkor 18-200mm vr. This superb combination let me shoot this event all day long without fiddling around for other lenses. I took over 800 images of this event with no problems. All I had to worry about was getting the picture.

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The San Elizario Chapel presented the perfect setting for the reenactment of America’s first Thanksgiving.

Reenactment of Don Juan de Onate coming to the area of what is today San Elizario, Texas.

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The El Paso Mission Trail Association put on a super show.
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