Mayflower Pilgrims Land on Plymouth
December 21, 1620
November 21, 1620 (N.S.) – The Mayflower arrives inside
the tip of Cape Cod, with the Pilgrims and Planters.
Plymouth Colony settlers sign the Mayflower Compact
(November 11, 1620 O.S.). December 21 – Plymouth Colony:
William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims lands on what
is now known as Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Plymouth Colony (sometimes New Plymouth, or Plymouth
Bay Colony) was an English colonial venture in North
America from 1620 to 1691. The first settlement of the
Plymouth Colony was at New Plymouth, a location previously
surveyed and named by Captain John Smith. The settlement,
which served as the capital of the colony, is today the
modern town of Plymouth, Massachusetts. At its height,
Plymouth Colony occupied most of the southeastern portion
of the modern state of Massachusetts.
Founded by a
group of Separatists initially known as the Brownist
Emigration and Anglicans, who together later came to be
known as the Pilgrims, Plymouth Colony was, along with
Jamestown and other settlements in Virginia, one of the
earliest successful colonies to be founded by the English
in North America, and the first sizable permanent English
settlement in the New England region. Aided by Squanto, an
American Indian of the Patuxet people, the colony was able
to establish a treaty with Chief Massasoit which helped to
ensure the colony's success. It played a central role in
King Philip's War, one of the earliest of the Indian Wars.
Ultimately, the colony was merged with the Massachusetts
Bay Colony and other territories in 1691 to form the
Province of Massachusetts Bay.
Despite the colony's
relatively short history, Plymouth holds a special role in
American history. Rather than being entrepreneurs like
many of the settlers of Jamestown, a significant
proportion of the citizens of Plymouth were fleeing
religious persecution and searching for a place to worship
as they saw fit. The social and legal systems of the
colony became closely tied to their religious beliefs, as
well as English custom. Many of the people and events
surrounding Plymouth Colony have become part of American
folklore, including the North American tradition known as
Thanksgiving and the monument known as Plymouth Rock.