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Americans also trace the Thanksgiving holiday to a 1621 celebration at the Plymouth Plantation, where the settlers held a harvest feast after a successful growing season.
For slavery among Native Americans, see Slavery among Native Americans in the United States.
Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel enslavement, primarily of Africans and African Americans, that existed in the United States of America in the 18th and 19th centuries after it gained independence and before the end of the American Civil War.
Slavery had been practiced in British North America from early colonial days, and was legal in all Thirteen Colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Setting aside time to give thanks for one's blessings, along with holding feasts to celebrate a harvest, are both practices that long predate the European settlement of North America.
The first documented thanksgiving services in territory currently belonging to the United States were conducted by Spaniards in the 16th century.
But the rapid expansion of the cotton industry in the Deep South after the invention of the cotton gin greatly increased demand for slave labor, and the Southern states continued as slave societies.
The event that Americans commonly call the "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in October 1621.Most of these states had a higher proportion of free labor than in the South and economies based on different industries.They abolished slavery by the end of the 18th century, some with gradual systems that kept adults as slaves for two decades.The group's London Company charter specifically required "that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned...in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God." Three years later, after the Indian massacre of 1622, the Berkeley Hundred site and other outlying locations were abandoned and colonists moved their celebration to Jamestown and other more secure spots.