Pilgrim Myths

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The people we know as Pilgrims have become so surrounded by legend that we are tempted to forget that they were real people. Against great odds, they made the famous 1620 voyage aboard the ship Mayflower and founded Plymouth Colony, but they were also ordinary English men and women. To understand them, it is important that we look beyond the legend. This story will help you get to know these people, now known as the Pilgrims, through their first years in New England. England was a Roman Catholic nation until 1534, when King Henry VIII (reigned 1509-1547) declared himself head of a new national church called the Church of England. Although he and his daughter, Queen Elizabeth I (reigned 1558-1603), changed some things that made the Church of…show more content…
Members included the young William Bradford and William Brewster. Like others who refused to follow the Church of England’s teachings, some of them were harassed, fined or even sent to jail. When they felt they could no longer suffer these difficulties in England, they chose to flee to the Dutch Netherlands. There, they could practice their own religion without fear of persecution from the English government or its…show more content…
Although the Pilgrims had originally intended to settle near the Hudson River in New York, dangerous shoals and poor winds forced the ship to seek shelter at Cape Cod. Because it was so late in the year and travel around Cape Cod was proving difficult, the passengers decided not to sail further and to remain in New England. It was here, in Cape Cod Bay, that most of the adult men on the ship signed the document that we know as the Mayflower Compact. It laid the foundation for the community’s government. A party of the most able men began exploring the area to find a suitable place to settle. After several weeks, the exploring party arrived at what appeared to be an abandoned Wampanoag community. The plentiful water supply, good harbor, cleared fields, and location on a hill made the area a favorable place for

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