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Mayflower Pilgrims Land on Plymouth Rock
December 21, 1620

Plymouth Rock 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.

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