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Ok, ok, so turkeys evolved in North and Central America. However, the birds that the Pilgrim Fathers tucked into had come from Britain.

Europe’s first turkeys arrived in Spain in the early 1520s. They rapidly became popular across the continent’s upper classes, being traded by Turkish merchants. By the mid 1580s turkey had become a Christmas tradition in Britain leading Norfolk farmers to try and breed bigger, plumper and more docile varieties. Two of the breeds they produced, the Norfolk Black and the White Holland, are the ancestral stock for the majority of the domestic turkeys now in the USA.

The name ‘turkey’ was given to the birds by the British in reference to the Turkish traders who first brought the birds from Spain.

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15 May 2011
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