In doing some research concerning the history and traditions of our celebration of “Thanksgiving” here in the US, I came across something that really peaked my curiosity. What I found was that a dozen or so countries around the world have issued one or more postage stamps depicting either the “Mayflower” (the ship which the first wave of pilgrims journeyed) and/or honoring those pilgrims in general or individual passengers that landed at Plymouth Rock, Massachusettes on November 21, 1620. (November 11 to those of you using the Julian calendar, as did the pilgrims themselves).
Among those countries, I found stamps issued by: the United States, Bangladesh, Chartonia, Great Britain, Guinea, Isle of Man, Oman, GrenadaUganda, Burkina Faso, Canada, Antigua, Liberia, and more. The question I was not able to find an answer to, is “Why?” Why would any country, other than the US, have any connection to or interest in honoring the Mayflower or those pilgrims?
While the ship did depart from an area of London, England known at the time as “Plymouth”, the pilgrims were fleeing that country due to oppressive (deadly) means of dealing with those who defied the rules of the Catholic Church. They were not government-sponsored explorers or emissaries that Britain could claim bragging rights in the more traditional manner. So had their issuance of such stamps been with the attitude “Thank G-d, we got rid of them buggers! They’re your problem now.”? Or was it simply a matter of commerce in that they saw the US as a great marketplace that they sought to exploit by appealing to our vanity? Me thinks that is the most likely explanation, not only for Britain, for all of the other countries as well. What do you think? And while you’re at it, anyone ever heard of Burkina Faso before? Or am I the only one so ignorant?
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