American History Shaped by Colonial Beer Run
Today's American history tidbit: the Pilgrims' momentous decision to land at Plymouth Rock, it seems, owed largely to a dire need to replenish the ship's beer supply.
When the brew cache was cashed, tempers (and fevers) ran high on board the Mayflower.
The definitively informed Cecil Adams at The Straight Dope has, well, the straight dope:
"We could not now take time for further search or consideration, our victuals being much spent, especially our beer, and it being now the 19th of December" (Mourt's Relation, 1622, commonly attributed to colonists William Bradford and Edward Winslow).
The colonists used up their beer by Christmas. At first the ship's captain gave them a little out of the crew's supply, but when sickness, possibly scurvy, began felling the travelers (about half died that first winter), things got ugly. "As this calamity fell among the passengers that were to be left here to plant, and were hasted ashore and made to drink water that the seamen might have the more beer, and one in his sickness desiring but a small can of beer, it was answered that if he were their own father he should have none" (Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation, circa 1650). The captain relented when his own men began getting sick too, evidently not wanting it to be known to history that, in addition to being late, lost, etc, he was the SOB who hogged the beer.
Handcrafted by Flip on November 26, 2005 |
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A little post-holiday-yet-Thanksgiving-related beer history: American History Shaped by Colonial Beer Run. The Pilgrims landed where they did (Plymouth Rock), which [Read More]
Tracked on Nov 28, 2005 6:06:02 PM