What did Indians call homosexuals?
Gay pilgrimage site: Provincetown
A turn of the story the way I like it: Where once the fundamentally pious “pilgrim fathers” went ashore for the first time after crossing the Atlantic and thanked their creator for having survived the grueling journey alive, today countless rainbow flags flutter in the Wind, couples of men holding hands stroll down Commercial Street. We're in Provincetown, a 3,500-resident town on the northern tip of Cape Cod that has been a gay and lesbian vacation spot for more than 30 years. A ferry goes here from Boston, and accordingly many Bostonians obviously like to spend a weekend in "P’town": It's Sunday, and from our breakfast cafe at the harbor we see them walking towards the ferry with suitcases. Heterosexuals seem clearly in the minority here. And that's how it happened.
The first here were the Nauset Indians; they settled in the area as early as 1500, lived by fishing, growing corn and named the place Meeshawn. Some street names today are reminiscent of the indigenous people. At the beginning of the 17th century a man by the name of Bartholomew Gosnold discovered while sailing past that these waters were teeming with cod, and named the peninsula Cape Cod. Fatal was a little later when a certain Thomas Hunt visited this area - not only, because he kidnapped Indians and shipped them to the Old World as slaves. His sailors brought in a disease that became an epidemic and is said to have wiped out 75 percent of the indigenous people in what is now New England.
The pilgrim fathers continue on the pilgrimage
A little later, in 1620, the legendary landing of an astonishingly small sailing ship called the Mayflower in this very bay of Cape Cod. The English colonists used the Indian residents' corn stores, but soon turned their backs on Cape Cod. after they had found that they could not wrest anything even from the sandy soil. They sailed over to the mainland, on the other side of the bay, and founded Plymouth there - with the result that the place is now inundated by tourist buses and the rock that supposedly marks the landing site has meanwhile been scraped down to a boulder by souvenir hunters.
More about the "Pilgrim Fathers" and their first settlement over in Plymouth later. We stay first in Provincetown, where several memorial tablets and the Pilgrim Monument commemorate the colonists. It looks like an Italian torre, which may be because it is modeled after a tower from Siena.
After the British came other Europeans. Provincetown grew and became a center of whaling in the 19th century, while more and more artists moved to the bay. The manufacture of petroleum broke the whaling boom. Portland Gale, a devastating storm, destroyed many buildings. The fishery was on the bottom, but the artists filled the void, took over the houses and drew more and more creative spirits to Provincetown.
And who cuts the most creative hairstyles? Who makes the most unusual bouquets of flowers? Who knows - besides the Catholic Church - always the first to know where to live comfortably? Just.
And so it came about that Provincetown became a Mecca for gays and cheeky pilgrim fathers.
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