Mediterranean Mexican Diet: Turkey
So was Squanto an Aztec Agent?
In the 1800's, one of the leading business magnates in the US supposedly created an article about how Squanto's turkeys that were served at the first Thanksgiving may have been gifted more directly from the Aztecs than first thought. Interestingly enough, a former editor and US Senator's family pointed out that the Senator had already said that when he said that Squanto had to have been an Aztec agent because there were no turkeys in Texas. So who actually was the first to talk about Squanto and the Aztecs when it came to turkey? Well, because their topic is similar, it looks like there is a common source for both sets of comments.
What the senator and the business magnate probably meant was that instead of the traditional viewpoint that Squanto and the Massachusetts natives shared their complete, original, culinary culture with the Pilgrims, it may be the case that the Massachusetts and other tribes were aware that turkeys actually came from Mexico and were traded up the coastline.
The note that Texas did not have too many turkeys meant that there may have been an ancient Aztec trade mission that traveled by ship to the southeast United States from Mexico, bypassing Texas.
An interesting series of 'wait a minutes!'
The historical trail backwards ends there until you go back about a hundred years from there and look at what the British were saying. Blackbeard's pirate ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge had a title that claimed that there was some warfare going on between the Queen's Charles 2 Stuart Templars and the Choiseul / Espinoza / Salazar Albuquerque and San Antonio Templars- otherwise known as the Anasazi-Aztec Templars. The ship's name, from the mid 1700s, also talks about Squanto and the Aztecs, saying that Squanto may have known the Aztecs. Finally, the ship's name also shares the source for its assertion, the Spanish-Aztec Nahuatl dictionary that contained some of the Aztec templar archives.
Wait a minute. So if the casual observer were to go read this dictionary, would they be able to see a translation pair that can be read as 'Squanto was an Aztec agent? Very true- and as the first edition of the dictionary was published in the 1600s, it probably does represent a plausible common source for later comments.
Wait a minute. So if the Aztec dictionary was written after the Pilgrims came, is it also maybe saying that the Aztecs were in touch with Squanto? Possibly. The Aztec Templars were formed by Juan Dominques Mendoza in San Antonio in the mid 1600s, with backing from Jacques Francois Choiseul. Mendoza was supposedly an Aztec himself, descended from Cuatehmoc's sister. He had lived in New Mexico, near Salazar, who was a descendant of Moctezuma. Salazar had lived there since the 1590's, giving him ample time to put together a communication network that would reach out and get in touch with Squanto.
Wait a minute. So if there weren't turkeys in Texas, it means that there might be a famous Aztec voyager like Columbus who visited the US East Coast before Columbus? Potentially. Since it is possible to date chicken bones by the site that they came from, the dating of turkey bones in the United States and Mexico should allow some future scholar to figure out just where and when that voyage might have occurred. Food for thought.
In cultural terms, the upshot is that the turkey that you enjoy each Thanksgiving has a history that is much richer than just the Pilgrims and Squanto. It is a food source that was developed in Mexico and then shared with Americans over a long period of time.