The Plymouth Colony (1620–91) was founded by Pilgrims. Most of what we know about them comes from a History of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford. The Pilgrims were persecuted in England for their religious beliefs, so they settled in Holland. However, they did not want their children to become Dutch. Therefore, they decided to settle in America. Their voyage in the overcrowded Mayflower was difficult. They had planned to land in Virginia but arrived in modern-day Massachusetts by mistake. They then agreed to the Mayflower Compact as the basis for their government.
The first winter was difficult, and over half of the settlers perished. Then, they learned how to plant corn and celebrated what would become Thanksgiving Day. Nevertheless, the threat of famine was always real. Governor William Bradford ably led the group, and the development of a fur trade helped. However, the Pilgrims did not enjoy much success with their agriculture and did not have a staple crop.
In 1643, the Plymouth Colony joined the New England Confederation. This organization provided for mutual defense against Indians and settlement of border disputes among the colonies. A major conflict with the Indians, King Philips War (1675–76), nearly led to the demise of Plymouth Colony.
The colony ceased to exist in 1691. It that year, it joined Massachusetts Bay and Maine in a new colony.