The Mayflower was a boat that carried 102 pilgrims from England to America. It arrived in America in late 1620.

Not the First Visitors

Despite its place in American history, the people aboard Mayflower were not the first Europeans to arrive in the New World. Indeed, people had been visiting America for a century before the Mayflower arrived (including John Smith, famous for the Pocahontas story).

However, the Plymouth colony was the first religious group (rather than explorers or entrepreneurs), and the birth of Peregrine White was the first English child born by settlers in the New World.

The Voyage

The Mayflower was not supposed to be the only boat on the journey. However, it’s sister ship ‘Speedwell’ had to return to England twice and was then judged unsuitable for the journey. The Mayflower, as a result, sailed alone.

The First Colony

The passengers aboard the Mayflower established a colony called Plymouth, named after the English town the boat had left.

The problems, and success, of the Plymouth colony gave rise to Thanksgiving after the native Americans helped the settlers survive, especially the first difficult winter.

The acts at Plymouth have become the consensus that the natives helped the locals. That white Europeans eventually took over the entire continent and wiped out many of the natives has made that story tinged with sadness.

Although the Plymouth colony did not last long (by 1678 Plymouth was far smaller than other colonies), it was the start of a wave of pilgrims arriving in America. This was the beginning of a sustained effort by white Europeans to settle. In the 1630s ‘The Great Migration’ began, and America would be changed forever.