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Pilgrim Fathers, in American colonial history, settlers of Plymouth, Massachusetts, the first permanent colony in New England (1620). Of the 102 colonists, 35 were members of the English Separatist Church (a radical faction of Puritanism) who had earlier fled to Leiden, the Netherlands, to escape persecution at home. Seeking a more abundant life along with religious freedom, the Separatists negotiated with a London stock company to finance a pilgrimage to America. Approximately two-thirds of those making the trip aboard the Mayflower were non-Separatists, hired to protect the company’s interests; these included John Alden and Myles Standish.
These first settlers, initially referred to as the Old Comers and later as the Forefathers, did not become known as the Pilgrim Fathers until two centuries after their arrival. A responsive chord was struck with the discovery of a manuscript of Gov. William Bradford referring to the “saints” who had left Holland as “pilgrimes.” At a commemorative bicentennial celebration in 1820, orator Daniel Webster used the phrase Pilgrim Fathers, and the term became common usage thereafter.
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United States: The New England colonies…settlers of Massachusetts Bay, these Pilgrims chose to “separate” from the Church of England rather than to reform it from within.…
American colonies: How colonization took placeThese Pilgrims placed themselves in partnership with a group of merchants and other businessmen who agreed to finance the venture. In return for advances of ready money, the colonists promised to labour for seven years, throwing all they produced into a common pool; both profits and…
Massachusetts: Religious heritageThe Pilgrims, who established the Plymouth colony in 1620, and the Puritan settlers went to Massachusetts mainly for religious reasons.
Religion continued to be important throughout the early development of Massachusetts. The Puritan Congregational Church remained the established church until an amendment to the state constitution…