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Why Pilgrims Arriving in America Resisted Bathing

When the Mayflower Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth in the early 17th century, they didn’t smell terrific, according to Native American accounts. Unlike the Wampanoag, these Europeans didn’t bathe regularly. A surviving member of the Patuxet nation named Tisquantum (or “Squanto”) even tried and failed to convince them to start washing themselves, according to a 1965 biography.

“Bathing as you and I know it was very, very uncommon [among western Europeans] until the later part of the 18th century,” says W. Peter Ward, a professor emeritus of history at the University of British Columbia and author of the new book The Clean Body: A Modern History.

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Source: geneanet

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