Plymouth was founded in 1620 by the puritan separatists from New England, who arrived in the colony sailing on the Mayflower. The settlers sought to establish an organization that was separate from the Church of England with simplified traditions but based on biblical values. The community embraced puritan values with strong English traditions and culture. The culture encompassed specific building styles, social activities such as cooking, and economic ones such as animal rearing. The colony lasted for about 70 years.
By the 17th century, England had known New World (North America) for years. The late sixteenth century had seen religious persecutions in England of intolerable proportions (Stratton, 1986). Despite the pilgrims finding solace in Holland, they experienced other challenges that prompted the search for a new place. The English pilgrims in Holland did not enjoy the privileges of citizenship (Stratton, 1986). They had limited employment possibilities and worked extremely hard to survive. "Religious perspectives" also were unfavourable as they put it. Besides, the 'temptations' against their religious standards were many (Stratton, 1986). So, the pilgrims decided to seek a new place for settlement.
Martin Pring was the first European to set foot in Plymouth. In 1603, he spent six weeks exploring the Massachusetts Bay. The Pring "party" was that of the separatists that before 1620 lived in Leiden's city in Holland (Stratton, 1986). It was a minority of the congregation that left for Plymouth in 1620 onboard Mayflower. They were joined on their voyage by other separatists from other regions. The expedition was supported by a group of businessmen referred to as the "adventurers." On December 11th, 1620, they arrived in Plymouth, where they decided to settle.
The place was named by Captain John Smith and later confirmed by Prince Charles. Before, the place was inhabited by the Wampanoag. It had since been deserted following a deadly disease that killed many natives (Cook, 1973). In total, those that arrived at Plymouth were ninety-nine after some succumbed on the way. Still more died until 1623 when the condition of the settlers improved. However, following some rebellion among the settlers, there was a Mayflower Compact that everybody at Plymouth had to sign to acknowledge their subjection to majority rule.
Not long, John Carver was "confirmed" as the governor, but died in the spring when William Bradford resumed power. Isaac Allerton acted as the assistant before the number of assistants were increased to seven (Cook, 1973). During this time, the people obtained food from the neighbouring Wampanoag. The settlers later learned to plant crops from the natives, thus alleviating the food shortage challenge. Despite good relations with the neighbouring Wampanoag under their chief Massasoit, the settlers maintained their English traditions. The Wampanoag helped the settlers to take necessary military precautions against the hostile Narragansett. Plymouth was not entirely isolated from the outside world as the English fishing ships and other ships engaged in colonizing ventures.
The Plymouth colony's end of existence came on October 17th, 1691, on the date of proclamation. However, this took effect on May 14th, 1692, during the arrival of the charter of the province of Massachusetts. Although the colony had such a short existence period, many notable worth activities were recorded. As such, the colony has been of great historical significance to modern-day Massachusetts and the world.
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Cook, S. F. (1973). The significance of disease in the extinction of the New England Indians. Human Biology, 485-508.
Stratton, E. A. (1986). Plymouth Colony, Its History & People, 1620-1691. Ancestry Publishing.