When the Pilgrims landed in New England in November 1620, they faced huge odds: not enough food, disease, a cold winter and an unfamiliar landscape. Half of the colony died that first year. But by the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims and the other members of the Mayflower colony celebrated their good fortune with a harvest feast, later described as the first Thanksgiving.
Historians attribute several things to their success. They made important alliances with local Native American tribes, triangulating a dispute between two rival groups in their favor. They were also determined to live in, rather than exploit, the resources of the New World, as did some previous colonists. But perhaps the biggest reason for their success was technology.
Full story at Discovery News.