Squanto was a famous Native American of the Patuxet tribe. It is a branch of the Wampanoag Confederacy.
Hewas born around 1580. He was kidnapped and sold into slavery and then worked as an interpreter between the Pilgrim settlers at Plymouth.
Very little is known about Squanto’s early life, apart from he was born in southern New England. His people called themselves Ninnimissinuok.
The first reports of Squanto do not mention whether he is old or young. Some suggest he was in his twenties or thirties in 1614, which would make his birth year around 1580.
Throughout southern New England, dialects of Algonquin were spoken.
Although these languages were slightly different, they could be understood in the whole region and people could communicate and trade with each other.
Squanto lived on the coast in Cape Cod Bay. His people traded for a long time with Europeans before the famous Mayflower ship arrived.
Fishermen from northern France and southern England had been coming over every spring to fish for cod and take it back to Europe.
Trade with Europeans brought along unfamiliar diseases. When the Mayflower arrived, many villages of people had been wiped out.
It is thought that when Squanto was younger, he was kidnapped. However, historians disagree about exactly what happened.
All we know is that Squanto set off for Spain in 1614. That same year, John Smith headed an expedition to Maine and Massachusetts Bay to purchase furs and collect fish.
Another man named Thomas Hunt was in charge of a second ship. It was thought that Thomas Hunt captured Squanto and 20 other men and set sail to Malaga in Spain.
Squanto stayed with the ships and worked as an interpreter when Thomas Dermer returned to New England in 1619.
It was unusual for a Native American to speak English. When they arrived, they discovered that Squanto’s community had been wiped out.
They set off for the village of Nemasket and Pokanoket, where chief Massasoit was in charge.
Squanto lived with the Pokanoket and this is where he was when the Plymouth Colony was established.
Squanto did not know whether to side with the new colonists or create a confederacy (union) between the local communities in order to resist the encroaching Europeans.
Squanto decided to convince the leader, Massasoit to be friendly towards the Plymouth colonists.
Squanto worked with the Europeans as a translator. He told Massasoit’s and his men that King James wanted to trade and make peace.
A treaty was made between the Plymouth settlers and the Pokanoket people. During Massasoit’s lifetime, this treaty remained.
A man called Bradford remained and Squanto worked for him for the rest of his life. Bradford depended on Squanto all his life for support and help while he worked as governor of a colony.
Squanto provided advice on how to live in the area (for example what to plant and how to hunt and trade).
In 1622, Squanto became sick and died suddenly.
Who captured Squanto?
Where did Squanto live?
What was Squanto famous for?
When was he enslaved?
Where did he sail?