As of September 1620, a merchant ship called the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, a port on the coast of England (http://www.history.com/topics/mayflower). The Mayflower’s cargo was dry goods and wine but the ship also carried passengers, about 102 of them, who were all hoping to start a new life on the other side of the Atlantic. Forty of these passengers were Protestant Separatists–they called themselves “Saints”. These saints hoped to establish a new church in the New World. The colonists who crossed the Atlantic on the Mayflower were often referred to as “Pilgrims.”
Let us discuss the Pilgrims before the Mayflower. In 1608, a congregation of displeased English Protestants left England and moved to Leyden which was a town in Holland. These “Separatists” did not want to pledge allegiance any longer to the Church of England. Why was this? This is so because they believed the Church of England was nearly as corrupt as the Catholic Church it had replaced. They were different from the Puritans (http://www.history.com/topics/mayflower). The Separatists hoped they would be free to worship as they liked in Holland.
In fact, the Separatists who called themselves “Saints”, did find religious freedom in Holland liked they had hoped. Instead they found a secular life that was more difficult to move around than they’d anticipated. As an example, Dutch craft guilds excluded the migrants, so they were demoted to menial, low-paying jobs. What was worse was Holland’s easygoing, cosmopolitan atmosphere, which proved disturbingly seductive to some of the Saints’ children. Separatist leader William Bradford wrote these young people were “drawn away,”, “by evill [sic] example into extravagance and dangerous courses”. Devout S...
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...mayflower). It was so bad that in fact, without the help of the area’s native people, it is probable that none of the colonists would have survived. Samoset, an English-speaking Pawtuxet, helped the colonists form an alliance with the local Wampanoags. The Wampanoags taught them how to gather shellfish and grow corn, to hunt local animals, beans and squash. The Plymouth colonists celebrated their first successful harvest with a three-day festival of thanksgiving. We still observe this feast today.
Eventually, the Plymouth colonists were subsequently immersed into the Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Mayflower Saints and their descendants believed that it is only them that had been especially chosen by God to act as a guiding light for Christians around the world.
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