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Squanto was born near Plymouth, Massachusetts around the year 1580. He was a member of the Patuxet tribe, a branch of the Wampanoag Confederation. Squanto was captured along the coast of what is present day Maine in 1605 by Captain George Weymouth, who was exploring the area at the time. Weymouth brought Squanto and four other Penobscot Indians to England. In England, Squanto lived with a man named Ferdinando Gorges who taught him English. Later, Gorges hired Squanto as a guide and interpreter. Squanto returned as a guide to North America for John Smith. Squanto was kidnapped yet again by John Smith’s lieutenant, Thomas Hunt. He was sold into slavery in Spain, but eventually escaped and fled to monastery where he lived for several years.
Back to North America; Introduced to the Pilgrims at Plymouth
After persuading the monks to let him go back to North America, Squanto returned in 1619 aboard another of John Smith’s ships, only to discover that most of the Patuxet had been killed off by a plague the previous year. A visiting Wampanoag Chief introduced Squanto to the Pilgrims of Plymouth near where his village used to be. It is believed that Squanto helped the Pilgrims recover after a particularly hard winter by teaching them how to grow maize by using the local method of burying fish as fertilizer.
Back and Forth
Squanto was captured again by the Wampanoag when he was sent on a mission for Governor William Bradford to gather intelligence. The Plymouth colony sent ten settlers to rescue Squanto. He was found and brought back to the welcoming arms of the Plymouth Pilgrims. Squanto continued to aid the Pilgrims and went on diplomatic missions to mend the rift between the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims. On his return from one of these critical missions, Squanto fell ill and died a few days later in the year 1622.
Where is he Buried?
He is believed to be buried in an unmarked grave, possibly in a Pilgrim cemetery. Squanto’s legacy lived on, and peace was achieved between the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims for another fifty years.