The Pilgrims were originally known as Separatists because they wanted to separate from the Church of England, select their own leaders, and establish their own practices. The persecution they endured as a result of their beliefs caused them to flee to Holland. However, this was unsatisfactory, because they wanted to...
The Pilgrims were originally known as Separatists because they wanted to separate from the Church of England, select their own leaders, and establish their own practices. The persecution they endured as a result of their beliefs caused them to flee to Holland. However, this was unsatisfactory, because they wanted to retain their English language and way of life. The leaders eventually decided to relocate to America. They obtained two ships to transport the colonists to the New World, the Speedwell and the Mayflower. Because the Speedwell quickly developed leaks and had to return to England, the Mayflower carried on the voyage alone.
The Pilgrims, who called themselves Saints, were joined by numerous other colonists, whom they referred to as Strangers. The voyage was rough, and many passengers became sick on the way. They were originally supposed to settle near the Virginia Colony, but bad weather caused them to change their plans and settle on the shore of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Because they were no longer in the Virginia Colony's territory, the men signed a document known as the Mayflower Compact that became the foundation of government for the fledgling colony.
During the first winter, over half the colonists died due to severe weather conditions, poor shelter, and lack of adequate nutrition. The Native Americans in the area assisted the Pilgrims in learning how to fish, hunt game, and plant crops.
The beliefs and character traits that enabled the Pilgrims to survive the persecution, difficult voyage, and hostile environment of the New World included their solidarity and respect for their leaders. These traits enabled them to remain united in the face of adversity and agree on basic governing principles such as those found in the Mayflower Compact.
The text of this compact expresses their commitment to remain united and obey laws established for the good of the colony "for the glory of God." Their belief that God was with them in their search for a place where they could freely practice their religious beliefs was a strong factor in their survival.
The same religious zeal that caused the Pilgrims to remain steadfast in establishing their colony in the New World eventually caused a negative and limiting effect on Native American relations.
As in the rest of New England, the Pilgrims were intent on expanding their colony, which involved the acquisition of more and more land. This eventually resulted in the Native American uprising known as King Philip's War. While there were quite a few casualties among the colonists, the vast majority of those killed were Native Americans.