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The Mayflower: A Story of Courage and Community
Transcript of The Mayflower: A Story of Courage and Community
During the sixteenth century in England there were several attempts to reform the Church of England when King James came to power in 1603. He began to prosecute and jail those who openly believed the Church of England needed to be purified of its false ceremonies and superstitious rituals. One of the groups was called Puritans because they insisted on purity and practice in church. Instead of trying to make changes and work together they separated themselves from the Church of England, which was considered an illegal act. Now known as Separatists, they formed their own secret congregations in a small village in Nottinghamshire called Scrooby. Soon the authorities were onto them, and the group agreed to flee from England, and after many failed attempts in 1607, they settled in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 1608. Then they emigrated to the town of Leiden in 1609.
The Mayflower was a merchant ship hired by a London stock company. It sailed from London to Southampton to begin loading food and supplies on July 1620. While the Pilgrims were still living in the city of Leiden, they hired a ship called the Speedwell to take them from Delfshaven, Netherlands to Southampton, England to meet up with the Mayflower on July 22nd. The Speedwell leaked on the voyage from the Netherlands to England, so they spent the next week fixing it up. On August 5Th the two ships set sail for America. The Speedwell begin leaking again, so they stopped at Dartmouth, England for repairs. The two ships again set sail for America around August 21st. Three-hundred miles into the voyage the Speedwell begin to leak again. Frustrated with their inability to fix the ship, they returned to Plymouth, England. Deciding to continue on and leave the leaky Speedwell behind, the cargo on the Speedwell was transferred over to the Mayflower. The Mayflower finally took off on September 6, 1620 from Plymouth, England heading to America.
The Voyage on the Mayflower
In spite of moving to Holland for the country’s religious tolerance, things were starting to get a little shaky. Some feared a Dutch treaty with Spain was soon to expire possibly resulting in a blockade. Others feared they would lose their English heritage. They thought it was possible to recreate the English village they so desperately craved by sailing to the New World without King James and his bishops interfering.
There were about twenty to thirty crew members on the Mayflower during its voyage to New England which consisted of sailors and officers of the ship.
There were a 102 passengers on board and a 104 if you counted the two dogs; a Spaniel and a Mastiff.
The captain of the ship, known as the Master, was Christopher Jones.
The Mayflower didn’t have private rooms with windows and beds for each person because before the Mayflower sailed to New England, it had been sailing around Europe carrying wine and cloth.
The cargo was probably stored in the lower decks of the ship in one large open storage area where the ship now carried the passengers. Thin-walled cabins had been built in the storage area overflowing with people and their possessions like chests of clothing, furniture, casks of food, and a few books.
There were no windows because windows at the time might have let sea water in and would have ruined the cargo. The storage area was always cold and damp because water would leak in anyway.
What was unique about these passengers is unlike the usual noblemen, craftsmen, and servants that explored the new world, there were women and children willing to go through any and everything to worship how they pleased.
There were three pregnant mothers: Elizabeth Hopkins, Susanna White, and Mary Allerton during this journey. Elizabeth Hopkins was the only one to give birth during the voyage.
It was 65 days before land was sighted on November 9, 1620. Early morning on November 11, the Mayflower came to a secured stop in what is today Provincetown Harbor. Some of the passengers were unhappy with the decision to stay at Cape Cod because their intended destination was to settle in a region near the Hudson River. The Pilgrims did not have permission to settle in this area, so they decided to create a document called the
This document, which all the adult men signed, gave them temporary rights to establish a government until they got permission from England. On November 15th William Bradford, Edward Tilley, and 14 other men set out to explore the land and saw a group of Indians and a dog coming their way. The Indians ran off and the Pilgrims chased after them hoping to make contact, but they never did. On December 6, a group of Pilgrims began the search for a better location on which to build a permanent settlement. The Pilgrims spent five weeks exploring Cape Cod before settling in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
The first direct contact with a Native American was in March 1621, when Wampanoag leader Massasiot visited the settlement with greetings and gifts.
With the arrival of the Pilgrims, Massasiot saw an opportunity to increase the power of the Wampanoag Indians.
The two different groups signed a treaty of mutual support and respect on March 22, 1621.
Massasiot insure there would be peaceful relations, but most importantly this alliance would give them better access to European trade goods.
With goods like firearms, the Wampanoags were able to increase their power among the tribes in the region.
Plymouth Colony began to lay the foundation for democracy in the American colonies as the colonists decided to govern themselves.
They didn’t have permission to settle in Plymouth, so this document they created called the
gave them the temporary right to govern themselves. This independent self-rule later led to Town Meetings and elected legislatures in New England.
Along with establishing their government, they also stressed education. They formed the first formal school in 1635 called the Roxbury Latin school and later Harvard College to train ministers in 1636. Education was important to the colonists because they wanted their children to be able to read the Bible. By 1700, 70 percent of men and 45 percent of women in New England could read and write.
The Foundation of America
Mayflower, by Nathaniel Philbrick, is a book which includes some of William Bradford and Edward
Pilgrims had the
same worries as we do today.When you're trying to establish yourself in a foreign land, it's difficult, but being embraced and welcomed by the native people can be a blessing.
The peace treaty lasted for more than fifty years.
Massasiot sent two of his people one of them being Squanto, to teach the Pilgrims agricultural techniques.
Without these lessons or the food supplied to them, the little colony would not have survived.
That fall the fifty-three surviving Pilgrims had a traditional harvest feast and invited Massasiot. In return Massasiot brought along several of his people and food to the celebration that Americans would later call
. The villagers ate, drank, and played games. Most of them stood, squatted, or sat around outdoor fires. Some of the foods they had were wild turkey, geese, berries, corn, squash etc.
During this time the Pilgrims did not refer to this feast as the First Thanksgiving. Instead this was a time for spiritual devotion to God for a successful harvest after a year of sickness and scarcity.
The Indian Impact on the Pilgrim's Survival
The Pilgrims and the
William Bradford/Plymouth Governor
Bradford was an English Separatist and leader of settlers at Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts.
He served as governor for over 30 years after the previous governor, John Carver, died.
His journal was published as Of Plymouth Plantation.