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The Tragic Aftermath of the First Protestant Thanksgiving Service

November 27, 2008

In 1564, a group of French Protestants (Huguenots), in order to flee persecution by French Catholics, landed near present-day Jacksonville, Florida, and set a day of Thanksgiving on June 30, 1564. Their leader, René de Laudonniere wrote, "We sang a psalm of Thanksgiving unto God, beseeching Him that it would please Him to continue His accustomed goodness towards us." Whether there was a Thanksgiving fellowship meal afterwards is not known; what is known are the tragic events that followed this joyful Thanksgiving service.

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