Some Interesting Facts about the Pilgrims
A pilgrim is a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journey to a place of significance to their religious beliefs.
- The Pilgrims came to America to avoid the religious rules imposed by England. The Pilgrims were Calvinist Protestants. They followed the teachings of John Calvin on how to worship God.
- The pilgrims had asked the King to allow them to form their own church. The King denied the pilgrim’s request.
- The Pilgrims decided to move to Holland where religious freedom was practiced, and where they would be allowed to worship God as they saw fit.
- They lived in Holland until 1620, when they became dissatisfied with their situation and the effects that living in Holland was having on their children. In 1620, the Pilgrims moved back to England and prepared to leave for the New World.
- The Pilgrims sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to reach North America. They sailed on a ship named the Mayflower. It was a stormy voyage lasting sixty-six days.
- On December 11, 1620, the first Pilgrims (or Puritans, as they were first known) landed at Plymouth Rock. They came to the New World to read the Bible and worship God as they chose.
- They established the Plymouth Colony. Plymouth Colony was the second successful English colony in America. The first was Jamestown, Virginia, settled in 1607. The first governor of Plymouth Colony was John Carver.
- The first winter was a terrible time. There was much sickness and starvation. Almost half of the settlers at Plymouth Colony died the first winter, due to harsh weather, poor housing, and malnutrition. Of the original 102 settlers, there were only 47 left after the cold winter.
- The Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony soon met a man named Squanto, a Native American who spoke English, from the Pawtuxet tribe. Squanto acted as an interpreter between the Pilgrims and Native American tribes such as the Wampanoag.
- The Wampanoag Indians were the people who taught the Pilgrims how to get the land ready for planting. Squanto lived with the Pilgrims and taught them skills to survive such as planting corn, how to trap beaver, and where to fish.
- The crops did well, and in the fall of 1621 the Pilgrims had a great harvest. They were very thankful and decided to celebrate with a feast.
- The Pilgrim leader, Governor William Bradford, had organized the first Thanksgiving feast in the year 1621, in Massachusetts. The first Thansgiving feast was held in the presence of around ninety Wampanoag Indians and the Wampanoag chief, Massasoit, was also invited.
- The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted three days. The drink that the Puritans brought with them on the Mayflower was beer.
How can we characterize the Pilgrims?
The Pilgrims had to overcome difficulties they met on their way.
- naive, because they believed they could prosper in the unknown land
- they were religious fanatics, they wanted to worship their God
- they were decisive
- they were bigoted
- they were superheroes, they stood that hard winter
- they were friendly to Indians
The Puritans (the Pilgrims) thought of themselves as special people able to build ‘a city upon a hill’. They considered their success and increasing prosperity a sign of God’s grace and did not respect those who failed. They promoted hard work, self-reliance and believed in man’s unlimited ability to make progress. Even today their ideas are still popular. The special significance of succeeding in life has come to characterize the American culture ever since.
What clothes were typical of that time?
The clothing brought by the Plymouth colonists was typical of that worn by all English yeomen in the early XVII century. It was fashioned from wool and linen cloth, with some leather.
The Pilgrims did not always dress in drab colors as is commonly believed. They wore colorful clothing: green, red, blue, purple, gray, and brown.
Some of these colors had social significance – black was indicative of solid respectability; blue was frequently worn by children and servants and reddish-brown was a country-man’s color.
Women wore long petticoats, skirts, long aprons, white blouses and waistcoats. On their head they were wearing a white cap which was called biggin or coif. Women were wearing shoes without heels with bright buckles.
Men wore cloaks, caps, trousers. The Pilgrims wore buckles on their shoes or hats.