Most people think that the Pilgrim Fathers went to Massachusetts directly from England. In fact, they settled in the Netherlands for a decade first. Specifically, they lived in Leiden. However, by 1618 there was a threat of a Spanish invasion of the Netherlands to restore Catholicism, so the Pilgrim Fathers decided to look for religious freedom in the New World.
However, the Spanish were not only indirectly responsible for the first permanent English colony in North America but they were also responsible for the most quintessentially American holiday.
The First Thanksgiving was a harvest festival to celebrate with the local Wampanoag Indians the Pilgrims’ first successful harvest in 1621 (after half of the Pilgrims had died in the previous months). But where did the settlers get the idea for a celebratory banquet? Well, every year on 3rd October the people of Leiden celebrated – and still celebrate – a special feast to thank God for the defeat of the Spanish in the siege of 1574. The Pilgrim Fathers adopted the idea of a thanksgiving feast to celebrate deliverance from adversity and turned it to their own purposes; thus was born Thanksgiving.
 if it weren’t for – without the intervention of
 Spaniards – Spanish people
 Pilgrim Fathers – a group of 102 Puritan pioneers from England who went to Massachusetts and founded the first permanent English-speaking colony in North America in 1620
 to settle in – go to live in
 the Netherlands – Holland
 threat – danger
 because of Dutch interference in Bohemia
 to look for – try to find
 harvest festival – celebration of the annual harvest
 harvest – collection of crops (= agricultural produce)
 settler – colonist
 defeat of – triumph against, victory over
 siege – encirclement, situation in which a town is surrounded and attacked
 deliverance – salvation
 to turn sth. to one’s own purposes – use sth. in a different way
 thus – in this way