The Pilgrims

Some 100 people, many of them seeking religious freedom in the New World, set sail from England on the Mayflower in September 1620. That November, the ship landed on the shores of Cape Cod, in present-day Massachusetts. A scouting party was sent out, and in late December the group landed at Plymouth Harbor, where they would form the first permanent settlement of Europeans in New England. These original settlers of Plymouth Colony are known as the Pilgrim Fathers, or simply as the Pilgrims.

The Mayflower Voyage

The group that set out from Plymouth, in southwestern England, in September 1620 included 35 members of a radical Puritan faction known as the English Separatist Church. In 1607, after illegally breaking from the Church of England, the Separatists settled in the Netherlands, first in Amsterdam and later in the town of Leiden, where they remained for the next decade under the relatively lenient Dutch laws. Due to economic difficulties, as well as fears that they would lose their English language and heritage, they began to make plans to settle in the New World. Their intended destination was a region near the Hudson River, which at the time was thought to be part of the already established colony of Virginia. In 1620, the would-be settlers joined a London stock company that would finance their trip aboard the Mayflower, a three-masted merchant ship, in 1620. A smaller vessel, the Speedwell, had initially accompanied the Mayflower and carried some of the travelers, but it proved unseaworthy and was forced to return to port by September.

Some of the most notable passengers on the Mayflower included Myles Standish, a professional soldier who would become the military leader of the new colony; and William Bradford, a leader of the Separatist congregation and author of “Of Plymouth Plantation,” his account of the Mayflower voyage and the founding of Plymouth Colony.

Did you know? Humphrey Bogart, Julia Child and presidents James Garfield and John Adams are just a few of the celebrities who can trace their ancestors back to the Mayflower.

The Mayflower Compact

Signing of the Mayflower Compact

Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

Rough seas and storms prevented the Mayflower from reaching their initial destination in Virginia, and after a voyage of 65 days the ship reached the shores of Cape Cod, anchoring on the site of Provincetown Harbor in mid-November. Discord ensued before the would-be colonists even left the ship. The passengers who were not separatists–-referred to as “strangers” by their more doctrinaire peers—argued the Virginia Company contract was void since the Mayflower had landed outside of Virginia Company territory. William Bradford later wrote, “several strangers made discontented and mutinous speeches.”

The Pilgrims knew if something wasn’t done quickly it could be every man, woman and family for themselves. While still on board the ship, a group of 41 men signed the so-called Mayflower Compact, in which they agreed to join together in a “civil body politic.” This document would become the foundation of the new colony’s government. Signed on November 11, 1620, the Mayflower Compact was the first document to establish self-government in the New World.

Settling at Plymouth

After sending an exploring party ashore, the Mayflower landed at what they would call Plymouth Harbor, on the western side of Cape Cod Bay, in mid-December. During the next several months, the settlers lived mostly on the Mayflower and ferried back and forth from shore to build their new storage and living quarters. The settlement’s first fort and watchtower was built on what is now known as Burial Hill (the area contains the graves of Bradford and other original settlers).

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More than half of the English settlers died during that first winter, as a result of poor nutrition and housing that proved inadequate in the harsh weather. Leaders such as Bradford, Standish, John Carver, William Brewster and Edward Winslow played important roles in keeping the remaining settlers together. In April 1621, after the death of the settlement’s first governor, John Carver, Bradford was unanimously chosen to hold that position; he would be reelected 30 times and served as governor of Plymouth for all but five years until 1656.

The First Thanksgiving

HISTORY: Thanksgiving

Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

The native inhabitants of the region around Plymouth Colony were the various tribes of the Wampanoag people, who had lived there for some 10,000 years before the Europeans arrived. Soon after the Pilgrims built their settlement, they came into contact with Tisquantum, or Squanto, an English-speaking Native American. Squanto was a member of the Pawtuxet tribe (from present-day Massachusetts and Rhode Island) who had been seized by the explorer John Smith’s men in 1614-15. Meant for slavery, he somehow managed to escape to England, and returned to his native land to find most of his tribe had died of plague. In addition to interpreting and mediating between the colonial leaders and Native American chiefs (including Massasoit, chief of the Pokanoket), Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn, which became an important crop, as well as where to fish and hunt beaver. In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims famously shared a harvest feast with the Pokanokets; the meal is now considered the basis for the first Thanksgiving holiday.

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The first Thanksgiving likely did not include turkey or mashed potatoes (potatoes were just making their way from South America to Europe), but the Wampanoag brought deer and there would have been lots of local seafood plus the fruits of the first pilgrim harvest, including pumpkin.

Relations with Native Americans

After attempts to increase his own power by turning the Pilgrims against Massasoit, Squanto died in 1622, while serving as Bradford’s guide on an expedition around Cape Cod.

Other tribes, such as the Massachusetts and Narragansetts, were not so well disposed towards European settlers, and Massasoit’s alliance with the Pilgrims disrupted relations among Native American peoples in the region. Over the next decades, relations between settlers and Native Americans deteriorated as the former group occupied more and more land. By the time William Bradford died in 1657, he had already expressed anxiety that New England would soon be torn apart by violence. In 1675, Bradford’s predictions came true, in the form of King Philip’s War. (Philip was the English name of Metacomet, the son of Massasoit and leader of the Pokanokets since the early 1660s.) That conflict left some 5,000 inhabitants of New England dead, three quarters of those Native Americans. In terms of percentage of population killed, King Philip’s War was more than twice as costly as the American Civil War and seven times more so than the American Revolution.

The Pilgrim Legacy in New England

Repressive policies toward religious nonconformists in England under King James I and his successor, Charles I, had driven many men and women to follow the Pilgrims’ path to the New World. Three more ships traveled to Plymouth after the Mayflower, including the Fortune (1621), the Anne and the Little James (both 1623). In 1630, a group of some 1,000 Puritan refugees under Governor John Winthrop settled in Massachusetts according to a charter obtained from King Charles I by the Massachusetts Bay Company. Winthrop soon established Boston as the capital of Massachusetts Bay Colony, which would become the most populous and prosperous colony in the region.

Compared with later groups who founded colonies in New England, such as the Puritans, the Pilgrims of Plymouth failed to achieve lasting economic success. After the early 1630s, some prominent members of the original group, including Brewster, Winslow and Standish, left the colony to found their own communities. The cost of fighting King Philip’s War further damaged the colony’s struggling economy. Less than a decade after the war King James II appointed a colonial governor to rule over New England, and in 1692, Plymouth was absorbed into the larger entity of Massachusetts.

Bradford and the other Plymouth settlers were not originally known as Pilgrims, but as “Old Comers.” This changed after the discovery of a manuscript by Bradford in which he called the settlers who left Holland “saints” and “pilgrimes.” In 1820, at a bicentennial celebration of the colony’s founding, the orator Daniel Webster referred to “Pilgrim Fathers,” and the term stuck

The Pilgrims

Some 100 people, many of them seeking religious freedom in the New World, set sail from England on the Mayflower in September 1620. That November, the ship landed on the shores of Cape Cod, in present-day Massachusetts. A scouting party was sent out, and in late December the group landed at Plymouth Harbor, where they would form the first permanent settlement of Europeans in New England. These original settlers of Plymouth Colony are known as the Pilgrim Fathers, or simply as the Pilgrims.

The Mayflower Voyage

The group that set out from Plymouth, in southwestern England, in September 1620 included 35 members of a radical Puritan faction known as the English Separatist Church. In 1607, after illegally breaking from the Church of England, the Separatists settled in the Netherlands, first in Amsterdam and later in the town of Leiden, where they remained for the next decade under the relatively lenient Dutch laws. Due to economic difficulties, as well as fears that they would lose their English language and heritage, they began to make plans to settle in the New World. Their intended destination was a region near the Hudson River, which at the time was thought to be part of the already established colony of Virginia. In 1620, the would-be settlers joined a London stock company that would finance their trip aboard the Mayflower, a three-masted merchant ship, in 1620. A smaller vessel, the Speedwell, had initially accompanied the Mayflower and carried some of the travelers, but it proved unseaworthy and was forced to return to port by September.

Some of the most notable passengers on the Mayflower included Myles Standish, a professional soldier who would become the military leader of the new colony; and William Bradford, a leader of the Separatist congregation and author of “Of Plymouth Plantation,” his account of the Mayflower voyage and the founding of Plymouth Colony.

Did you know? Humphrey Bogart, Julia Child and presidents James Garfield and John Adams are just a few of the celebrities who can trace their ancestors back to the Mayflower.

The Mayflower Compact

Signing of the Mayflower Compact

Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

Rough seas and storms prevented the Mayflower from reaching their initial destination in Virginia, and after a voyage of 65 days the ship reached the shores of Cape Cod, anchoring on the site of Provincetown Harbor in mid-November. Discord ensued before the would-be colonists even left the ship. The passengers who were not separatists–-referred to as “strangers” by their more doctrinaire peers—argued the Virginia Company contract was void since the Mayflower had landed outside of Virginia Company territory. William Bradford later wrote, “several strangers made discontented and mutinous speeches.”

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The Pilgrims knew if something wasn’t done quickly it could be every man, woman and family for themselves. While still on board the ship, a group of 41 men signed the so-called Mayflower Compact, in which they agreed to join together in a “civil body politic.” This document would become the foundation of the new colony’s government. Signed on November 11, 1620, the Mayflower Compact was the first document to establish self-government in the New World.

Settling at Plymouth

After sending an exploring party ashore, the Mayflower landed at what they would call Plymouth Harbor, on the western side of Cape Cod Bay, in mid-December. During the next several months, the settlers lived mostly on the Mayflower and ferried back and forth from shore to build their new storage and living quarters. The settlement’s first fort and watchtower was built on what is now known as Burial Hill (the area contains the graves of Bradford and other original settlers).

Recommended for you

Who Was Squanto and What Was His Role in the First Thanksgiving?

Louisiana

Paris Commune of 1871

More than half of the English settlers died during that first winter, as a result of poor nutrition and housing that proved inadequate in the harsh weather. Leaders such as Bradford, Standish, John Carver, William Brewster and Edward Winslow played important roles in keeping the remaining settlers together. In April 1621, after the death of the settlement’s first governor, John Carver, Bradford was unanimously chosen to hold that position; he would be reelected 30 times and served as governor of Plymouth for all but five years until 1656.

The First Thanksgiving

HISTORY: Thanksgiving

Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

The native inhabitants of the region around Plymouth Colony were the various tribes of the Wampanoag people, who had lived there for some 10,000 years before the Europeans arrived. Soon after the Pilgrims built their settlement, they came into contact with Tisquantum, or Squanto, an English-speaking Native American. Squanto was a member of the Pawtuxet tribe (from present-day Massachusetts and Rhode Island) who had been seized by the explorer John Smith’s men in 1614-15. Meant for slavery, he somehow managed to escape to England, and returned to his native land to find most of his tribe had died of plague. In addition to interpreting and mediating between the colonial leaders and Native American chiefs (including Massasoit, chief of the Pokanoket), Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn, which became an important crop, as well as where to fish and hunt beaver. In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims famously shared a harvest feast with the Pokanokets; the meal is now considered the basis for the first Thanksgiving holiday.

The first Thanksgiving likely did not include turkey or mashed potatoes (potatoes were just making their way from South America to Europe), but the Wampanoag brought deer and there would have been lots of local seafood plus the fruits of the first pilgrim harvest, including pumpkin.

Relations with Native Americans

After attempts to increase his own power by turning the Pilgrims against Massasoit, Squanto died in 1622, while serving as Bradford’s guide on an expedition around Cape Cod.

Other tribes, such as the Massachusetts and Narragansetts, were not so well disposed towards European settlers, and Massasoit’s alliance with the Pilgrims disrupted relations among Native American peoples in the region. Over the next decades, relations between settlers and Native Americans deteriorated as the former group occupied more and more land. By the time William Bradford died in 1657, he had already expressed anxiety that New England would soon be torn apart by violence. In 1675, Bradford’s predictions came true, in the form of King Philip’s War. (Philip was the English name of Metacomet, the son of Massasoit and leader of the Pokanokets since the early 1660s.) That conflict left some 5,000 inhabitants of New England dead, three quarters of those Native Americans. In terms of percentage of population killed, King Philip’s War was more than twice as costly as the American Civil War and seven times more so than the American Revolution.

The Pilgrim Legacy in New England

Repressive policies toward religious nonconformists in England under King James I and his successor, Charles I, had driven many men and women to follow the Pilgrims’ path to the New World. Three more ships traveled to Plymouth after the Mayflower, including the Fortune (1621), the Anne and the Little James (both 1623). In 1630, a group of some 1,000 Puritan refugees under Governor John Winthrop settled in Massachusetts according to a charter obtained from King Charles I by the Massachusetts Bay Company. Winthrop soon established Boston as the capital of Massachusetts Bay Colony, which would become the most populous and prosperous colony in the region.

Compared with later groups who founded colonies in New England, such as the Puritans, the Pilgrims of Plymouth failed to achieve lasting economic success. After the early 1630s, some prominent members of the original group, including Brewster, Winslow and Standish, left the colony to found their own communities. The cost of fighting King Philip’s War further damaged the colony’s struggling economy. Less than a decade after the war King James II appointed a colonial governor to rule over New England, and in 1692, Plymouth was absorbed into the larger entity of Massachusetts.

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Bradford and the other Plymouth settlers were not originally known as Pilgrims, but as “Old Comers.” This changed after the discovery of a manuscript by Bradford in which he called the settlers who left Holland “saints” and “pilgrimes.” In 1820, at a bicentennial celebration of the colony’s founding, the orator Daniel Webster referred to “Pilgrim Fathers,” and the term stuck

Thatcher and her tussles with Europe

Thatcher & Kohl

She passionately fought and won a number of battles against what she saw as the excessive powers of Brussels.

Europe also ultimately brought about Mrs Thatcher’s downfall as prime minister, as her increasingly anti-EU views led the pro-Europeans in her party to move to oust her.

Yet Margaret Thatcher had not always been so vehemently opposed to European-wide initiatives.

In 1975, for instance, she played a key role in campaigning for the UK to remain in the European Community.

And in 1978 she was arguing for consideration of a common European approach to defence. She had also criticised the then Labour government for failing to sign up to the exchange-rate mechanism (ERM).

VAT battle

Once in government, however, her patience with her colleagues on the continent quickly began to fray.

In 1980, she called for the UK’s contributions to the then EEC to be adjusted, warning that otherwise she would withhold VAT payments. “I want my money back!” she exclaimed.

The battle lasted four years and finally ended in victory for Thatcher but damaged relations with other EC countries.

Then came Westland – Michael Heseltine’s battle to keep the helicopter company in European hands with a takeover by a European consortium.

Mrs Thatcher was insistent that the US firm Sikorsky should have it instead.

She won, he quit and the affair caused further concern among pro-European Tories.

In 1988 there came the controversial “Bruges speech”.

‘No. No. No.’

“We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level, with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels,” Mrs Thatcher declared.

It delighted the right of her party but horrified those more well-inclined towards Europe.

All of this came against a backdrop of a government split over whether to join the ERM, which Mrs Thatcher eventually agreed to do in October 1990, little knowing that she was in the final days of her premiership.

In the same month, despite increasing divisions within her party over Europe, she came up with another soundbite.

The then president of the European Commission, Jacques Delors, had called for the European Parliament to be the democratic body of the community, the commission to be the executive and the Council of Ministers to be the senate.

“No. No. No,” Thatcher famously told the Commons on 30 October 1990.

It was too much for some. Two days later, the then deputy prime minister, Geoffrey Howe, quit the government and sparked the beginning of her downfall as prime minister.

His devastating Commons speech following his resignation prompted Michael Heseltine to challenge Mrs Thatcher’s leadership. Within a few weeks, she was heading out of Downing Street.

But despite all her battles over Europe, Mrs Thatcher did also sign the Single European Act, which created the single European market – one of the biggest acts of European integration.

In her 1993 book, The Downing Street Years, she defended the decision, saying: “Advantages will indeed flow from that achievement well into the future.”

Major’s troubles

By 2002, however, she had changed her mind, believing signing up to the single market had been a terrible error.

After being ousted from Downing Street in 1990, Mrs – later to become Baroness – Thatcher continued to make her views known.

As her successor, John Major, fought Tory rebels over the Maastricht treaty, her disdain for increasing EU integration burned as brightly as ever.

In 1995 she criticised Mr Major’s government for signing the treaty and returned to the fray the following year, saying the UK might have to pull out of the EU.

Once William Hague took over the Tory reins, she eagerly embraced his anti-euro currency stance and regularly ensured she had her say at party conferences and during the 2001 general election campaign.

Later that year she made her feelings known about former chancellor Ken Clarke’s bid for the Conservative leadership, saying he would lead the party to “disaster”.

Super state

“He seems to view with blithe unconcern the erosion of Britain’s sovereignty in Europe,” she said, adding that his leadership would put Europe “at the forefront of politics”.

And although illness forced Lady Thatcher to step out of the limelight, it did not stop her making her increasingly outspoken views on the EU known.

In her 2002 book, Statecraft, she suggested the European single currency was an attempt to create a “European super state” and would fail “economically, politically and socially”.

She called for a “fundamental re-negotiation” of Britain’s links with the EU, stopping short of calling for withdrawal but nevertheless suggesting that the UK should pull out of common agricultural, fisheries, foreign and defence policies.

“Most of the problems the world has faced have come from mainland Europe,” she wrote. “And the solutions from outside it.”

Source https://www.history.com/topics/colonial-america/pilgrims

Source https://www.history.com/topics/colonial-america/pilgrims

Source https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-11598879

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