The Pilgrims lived on the Mayflower through much of the winter, ferrying back and forth to build their settlement and storage. The conditions were cold and deplorable, a bitter winter. Over half of the original settlers died that first winter. In the spring and summer of 1621, a Native American, Squanto - who had been captured by John Smith in 1614-15, taken to England bound for slavery, but escaped and returned to North America - encountered and proceeded to help the settlers learn to plant, hunt, harvest and live in this "New World". He acted as liaison and translator between the local tribes and the Pilgrims.
In the fall of 1621, in the midst of abundance, the Pilgrims and the Natives shared a feast in celebration of the magnificent harvest, and peace. This is now known as the First Thanksgiving.