Thanksgiving Timeline, 1541 - 2001
November 30, 1777

After the U.S. victory over British forces in the October 1777 Battle of Saratoga, the Continental Congress recommended that the colonies observe a day of thanksgiving. The commander-in-chief of the Continental forces, George Washington, issued General Orders setting aside Thursday, December 18 "for Solemn Thanksgiving and Praise."

All thirteen colonies celebrated on December 18 while Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont sponsored additional thanksgiving observances on separate days. The tradition of thanksgiving days sponsored by the Continental Congress continued through 1784 with proclamations such as the October 1782 decree.

George Washington's Personal Handwriting, Black Ink on White Paper
George Washington's General Orders on November 30, 1777.
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