In 1621, the Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower established the Plymouth Colony in present-day Massachusetts. That winter, half of them died from disease and starvation. The native Wampanoag people helped the remaining Pilgrims by teaching them how to farm and fish in the area.

This ushered in a time of peace and cooperation between the two groups, culminating in a treaty of mutual protection and trade. Centuries later, the US Mint issued a Wampanoag Treaty 1621 dollar coin to commemorate this important event in American history.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Wampanoag Treaty 1621 dollar coin was issued by the US Mint in 2020 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the 1621 treaty between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people that helped the Plymouth Colony survive.

The treaty brought 50 years of peace between the groups and shaped early America.

In this around 3000 word article, we will provide an in-depth look at the history behind this commemorative coin. We’ll explore the arrival of the Pilgrims, their struggles in the New World, and how the Wampanoag people helped them.

We’ll then examine the provisions of the treaty, why it was so significant at the time, and the aftermath. Finally, we’ll discuss the minting of the commemorative coin centuries later and its meaning.

Arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony

The arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony marked a significant event in American history. In 1620, a group of English Separatists, known as the Pilgrims, set sail on the Mayflower in search of religious freedom.

After a treacherous journey across the Atlantic, they arrived in what is now known as Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Hardships faced by the settlers in the New World

The settlers faced numerous hardships upon their arrival in the New World. They arrived in the late fall, which meant they had to endure a harsh winter without proper shelter or provisions. Many of them fell ill, and some even died due to the harsh conditions.

Despite these challenges, the Pilgrims persevered and laid the foundation for the establishment of Plymouth Colony.

Assistance from the native Wampanoag people

The Pilgrims were not alone in their struggle. The Wampanoag people, who had been living in the area for thousands of years, provided crucial assistance to the Pilgrims. They taught them survival skills, such as farming techniques and hunting methods, which helped the settlers overcome the challenges of their new environment.

The Wampanoag people also helped establish peaceful relations with other indigenous tribes, ensuring the survival of the Plymouth Colony.

Squanto’s role as mediator

Squanto, a member of the Wampanoag tribe, played a crucial role as a mediator between the Pilgrims and the Native American tribes. He had previously been captured and taken to Europe, where he learned English.

Upon his return to his homeland, Squanto used his language skills to bridge the communication gap between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people. His knowledge of both cultures proved invaluable in establishing a peaceful coexistence between the two groups.

Key Provisions of the 1621 Treaty

Mutual protection from hostile groups

The Wampanoag Treaty of 1621, also known as the “First Thanksgiving Treaty,” included several key provisions that aimed to establish a peaceful and mutually beneficial relationship between the Wampanoag people and the English settlers.

One of the key provisions of the treaty was the agreement for mutual protection from hostile groups. This provision ensured that both the Wampanoag and the English would come to each other’s aid in case of any threat or attack from external forces.

By forming an alliance based on mutual protection, the Wampanoag and the English settlers were able to create a stronger defense against potential adversaries. This provision not only helped to safeguard the interests of both parties but also fostered a sense of trust and cooperation between them.

Agreements on trade and land use

Another crucial aspect of the 1621 treaty was the establishment of agreements on trade and land use. The treaty recognized the rights of the Wampanoag people to their ancestral lands and acknowledged their sovereignty over these territories.

At the same time, it allowed the English settlers to establish settlements and engage in trade within Wampanoag territory.

These agreements laid the foundation for a mutually beneficial economic relationship between the Wampanoag and the English. The Wampanoag people shared their knowledge of the land, its resources, and hunting techniques with the English, while the English introduced new agricultural practices and trade goods.

This exchange of knowledge and resources contributed to the economic prosperity of both parties and helped to build a stronger bond between them.

Promotion of peace and goodwill

One of the most significant provisions of the 1621 treaty was the promotion of peace and goodwill between the Wampanoag and the English settlers. The treaty aimed to establish a lasting peace by resolving conflicts through peaceful negotiations and dialogue rather than resorting to violence.

This provision played a crucial role in maintaining harmony and preventing misunderstandings or disputes from escalating into full-scale conflicts. By promoting peace and goodwill, the treaty fostered an atmosphere of trust, respect, and cooperation between the Wampanoag and the English settlers.

Aftermath of the Treaty

After signing the Wampanoag Treaty in 1621, both the Wampanoag tribe and the colonists experienced significant changes in their relationship and the overall landscape of the region. Here is a look at the key developments that followed the treaty:

50 years of peace between Wampanoag and colonists

The treaty between the Wampanoag tribe and the Plymouth colonists marked the beginning of a remarkable period of peace that lasted for nearly five decades. During this time, both parties maintained a cooperative relationship, sharing knowledge, resources, and engaging in trade.

The Wampanoag provided valuable guidance to the settlers, teaching them essential survival skills and helping them adapt to the harsh New England environment. In return, the colonists provided the Wampanoag with tools, weapons, and other goods.

Growth and expansion of Plymouth Colony

The peaceful coexistence between the Wampanoag and the Plymouth colonists played a significant role in the growth and expansion of the Plymouth Colony. With the Wampanoag’s assistance, the settlers were able to establish successful agricultural practices, which led to increased food production.

As a result, the colony thrived, attracting more settlers from England and expanding its territory. The Wampanoag, too, benefited from this growth, as trade with the colonists provided them with access to new goods and technologies.

Deterioration of relations in the 1660s and 1670s

Unfortunately, the peaceful alliance between the Wampanoag and the colonists began to deteriorate in the 1660s and 1670s. Several factors contributed to this decline, including increasing tensions over land ownership, cultural differences, and the encroachment of European settlers on Native American territories.

These tensions eventually led to conflicts, such as the King Philip’s War, which erupted in 1675 and resulted in significant losses for both the Wampanoag and the colonists.

For more detailed information regarding the aftermath of the Wampanoag Treaty, you can visit reputable historical websites such as or Pilgrim Hall Museum.

The Wampanoag Treaty 1621 Commemorative Coin

Creation for the 400th anniversary in 2020

The Wampanoag Treaty 1621 Commemorative Coin was created to mark the 400th anniversary of the historic treaty between the Wampanoag people and the Pilgrims. This treaty, also known as the “First Thanksgiving,” is a significant event in American history, symbolizing the spirit of cooperation and goodwill between different cultures.

The idea to mint a commemorative coin for this occasion was initiated by the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) in collaboration with the United States Mint. The coin was intended to honor the shared history and cultural heritage of the Wampanoag people and the early settlers.

Obverse and reverse design

The obverse design of the Wampanoag Treaty 1621 Commemorative Coin features a depiction of a Wampanoag leader extending a hand in friendship to a Pilgrim. This symbolizes the peaceful interactions and mutual respect between the two groups.

The reverse side of the coin showcases a scene from the First Thanksgiving feast, with the Wampanoag people and Pilgrims gathered together to celebrate and give thanks.

Minting and circulation

The Wampanoag Treaty 1621 Commemorative Coin was minted by the United States Mint in limited quantities. It is available in both gold and silver versions, with the gold coin being the rarer of the two. The coins were first released in 2020, coinciding with the 400th anniversary of the treaty.

These commemorative coins are legal tender, but their value goes beyond their face value. They hold historical and cultural significance, making them highly sought after by collectors and individuals interested in American history.

Significance of the coin

The Wampanoag Treaty 1621 Commemorative Coin serves as a reminder of the importance of unity, understanding, and respect between different cultures. It commemorates a pivotal moment in American history when two groups came together to forge a peaceful relationship.

The coin also highlights the enduring contributions of the Wampanoag people to the shaping of the United States.

By owning and displaying this coin, individuals can show their appreciation for the diverse history and cultural heritage of the United States. It serves as a tangible symbol of the values that the First Thanksgiving represents – gratitude, cooperation, and the celebration of diversity.


The 1621 treaty between the Pilgrims and Wampanoag was a landmark agreement that ensured the survival and growth of the fledgling Plymouth Colony. It initiated a long period of cooperation and peace that shaped the early history of America.

The issuance of the Wampanoag Treaty 1621 dollar coin centuries later commemorates this pivotal event. The coin serves as a tangible symbol of the alliance, mutual assistance, and goodwill between the two disparate groups that left an enduring impact.

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