The history of turkeys

As 10 million homes across Britain prepare to tuck into one, Julian Humphrys looks at the history of the bird that will never vote for Christmas

Land girls on an Essex turkey farm round up the turkeys for the last time. (Photo by Reg Speller/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

This article was first published in the Christmas 2014 issue of BBC History Magazine

So, do they come from Turkey?

No. They’re native to the Americas. They got the name because when Europeans first came across them they incorrectly thought they were a form of African guinea fowl which, because they were imported into Europe from Turkey, were commonly known as turkey fowl.

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