The Pilgrims wanted to break away from the Church of England. Pilgrims were jailed and fined in England for starting their own church. They were afraid to stay in England. Many Pilgrims went to Holland in 1608. This group lived in Holland for 12 years.
The Pilgrims were very unhappy living in Holland. They decided to go to America. They bought a ship called the Speedwell. The ship was small and old. There were so many wanting to go to America that a second ship was needed. The Pilgrims made an agreement with some businessmen in England. The businessmen got the Pilgrims a ship named the Mayflower. They also bought them food and supplies. In return, the Pilgrims agreed to work for the businessmen for seven years. They agreed to send furs and lumber from the New World back to England.
One hundred and two people left from England. They were given land in what is now New York. Shortly after leaving England, the Speedwell became leaky and had to return to shore. Some passengers from the Speedwell stayed behind in England. Others crowded onto the Mayflower.
On November 11, 1620 after 66 days, the Mayflower came to Cape Cod. The Pilgrims had been granted a charter to settle in Virginia. Because strong winds blew them north, they felt the chart was not valid. Before going on shore, the men drew up a new charter called the Mayflower Compact. This compact stated that they would all take part in making laws for the settlement, and they would obey these laws.
They started a settlement which the Pilgrims called Plymouth Plantation. Their leader was William Bradford.
Pilgrim Village Built by Jason, Tammy, Malaki, and Kendra
The first winter was hard for the Pilgrims. They had to struggle to build shelter. In two or three months half of the people died. Half of the Pilgrims who survived were children. Only four women lived. An Indian named Squanto helped the Pilgrims. He taught them how to grow crops, hunt, and build shelter. Because of his help the Pilgrims survived.