On December 11, 1622, Plymouth colonist Edward Winslow wrote a letter to his "dear friend" describing the feat we know today as 'The First Thanksgiving.' At the time of his writing, the celebration had no such moniker. The event was, as Tom Begley of the Plimoth Patuxet in Massachusetts told History Channel, “[celebrating] the end of a successful harvest."

The First Thanksgiving was a three-day celebration featuring military exercises, feasting, and diplomacy between indigenous Native American people of the area and the colonists. There was likely no pie, and chances are there weren't mashed potatoes at the event.

Today's Thanksgiving has evolved from the gathering in Plymouth. George Washington created the official national celebration of Thanksgiving after Congress requested he "recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

Today's Thanksgiving celebrations look very different from that first celebration in Plymouth, but the spirit of giving thanks has not. Thanksgiving has a unique and storied history here in the U.S., with surprising twists and turns and equally surprising facts contributing to its powerful impact on U.S. holiday culture. How much do you know about the holiday? Let's dive into the mind-blowing facts about America's day of Thanksgiving!

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20+ Facts You Probably Don't Know About Thanksgiving!

What states have towns named 'Turkey'? How many turkeys are eaten every Thanksgiving? Who invented pardoning a turkey? Find the answers to these and more here!

Gallery Credit: Phylicia Peterson, Townsquare Media Laramie/Cheyenne

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