On september 16, 1620, the Pilgrims left the English port of Plymouth and headed for America. They were accompanied by a number of other emigrants they called “strangers”. The Pilgrims’ ship was an old trading vessel, the “Mayflower”. For years the Mayflower had carried wine across the narrow seas between France and England. Now it faced a much more dangerous voyage. For sixty-five days the Mayflower battled through the rolling waves of the north Atlantic Ocean. At last, on Novembre 9, 1620, it reached Cape Cod, a sandy hook of land in what is now the state of Massachusetts. Cape Cod is far to the north of the land granted to the Pilgrims by the Virginia Company. But the Pilgrims did not have enough food and water, and many were sick. They decided to land at the best place they could find. On December 21, 1620, they rowed ashore and set up camp at a place they named Plymouth.
But the Pilgrims were determined to succed. The fifty survivors built houses which were better. They learned how to fish and hunt. Friendly Amerindians gave them seed corn and showed them how to plant it. It was not the end of their hardships, but when a ship arrived in Plymouth in 1622 and offered to take passengers back to England, not one of the Pilgrims accepted.
Other English Puritans followed the Pilgrims to America. Ten years a much lager group of almost a thousand colonists settled nearby in what became the Boston area. The Boston settlement prospered from the start. Its population grew quickly as more and more Puritans left England to escare persecution. Many years later, in 1691, it combined with the Plymouth colonyunder the name of Massachusetts.