True facts about the Mayflower Pilgrims.
This history starts in Holland where the Pilgrims were living, having left England.
In 1609, Holland had signed a truce with its former war adversary, Spain. The truce was negotiated to last twelve years. English troops which had been stationed in Holland during that time to protect them from the Spanish were withdrawn. Among these troops was most likely a 25 year old soldier by the name of Myles Standish, who would make acquaintance with the Separatists, and eleven years later would become their military captain, leader, and one of the most prominent citizens of the Plymouth colony. In 1621, the truce would expire, and there was the grave possibility that Holland would again go to war with the still powerful country of Spain. It soon became apparent that the wisest thing they could do was to find a new place to live.
They had many other reasons for wanting to leave Holland as well. They were just barely making enough money to survive on, and their work was hard and tedious. They felt uncomfortable in their new cloth professions, and longed for their old profession of subsistance farming.
They realized also that the church membership was slowly passing into middle agea couple of the elders were even approaching the grand old ages of 50 and 60. Without a source of income, and no form of retirement, they realized they needed to come up with some new way to support themselves. Another of the major concerns to the Pilgrims was their children and future generations.
They were not necessarily looking for missionary work, to convert the natives of foreign place, but rather they wanted to start their own country with their own religious beliefs which they could pass on to their children and descendants without fear of persecution.
Around 1618, the proposition to remove to America was put forth to the general churchgoers for discussion and debate. The discussions raised many fears and doubts throughout the congregation. Some thought it was too dangerous.
Some thought that the "length of the voyage was such as the weak bodies of women and other persons worn out with age and travail could never be able to endure."
Others said that going to America could deprive them of food and clothing and that the drastic change of diet might harm them. Still others worried about the Indians, who several explorers reported were uncivilized, savage, and brutal; delighting in the torture of anyone they could capture and kill. William Bradford writes:
" It was granted the dangers were great, but not desperate. The difficulties were many, but not invincible. For though there were many of them likely, yet they were not certain. It might be sundry of the things feared might never befall; others by provident care and the use of good means might in a great measure be prevented; and all of them, through the help of God, by fortitude and patience, might either be borne or overcome."
At long last, after much debate and serious consideration, it was finally decided upon that they would try their best to make a voyage to America. While many of their fears and worries were genuine, it is ironic to note that on the voyage the only people to die were young men; not any women or elderly, and rather than being killed by Indians or starving to death, they were helped by the Indians who taught them how to grow corn, hunt for game, and gather edible shellfish and berries.
Copyright 2009 Little Pines Multimedia
Next: The Voyage
About the Author: Linda Cullum is from Cape Cod, MA, with a second home in Vermont. She is the author of "The History of the Pilgrims: In their Own Words" Ebook, co- written with Caleb Johnson, Mayflower descendent and historian, and "Learn to Sail! with Multimedia!" an Interactive Sailing training CDROM which teaches all aspects of Sailing including Knots, Rules of the Road, Weather with digital video from Sail Magazine, narration, animation and quizzes. Visit her websites at http://historyofthepilgrims.com/ and http://learntosail.net