A Pilgrim Primer

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English Separatists, a wing of the new Puritan movement, had fled oppression at home and found refuge in the Netherlands around 1607. In 1620, part of the congregation decided to build a new life in the New World. Their pastor, John Robinson, stayed behind and did not live to join his flock in America.

The Mayflower carried 102 passengers, 20 to 30 crew members, and two dogs. Approximately half of the passengers were Separatists (Pilgrims, or “Saints”), and half were “Strangers” (non-Separatist settlers recruited by the voyage’s backers).

Two babies were born before the Mayflower reached Plymouth: Oceanus Hopkins (at sea) and Peregrine White (at anchor in Provincetown Harbor).

The Mayflower‘s destination was the mouth of the Hudson River, but poor weather and unfavorable winds made a Cape Cod landing more expedient.

The Mayflower was 65 days at sea before the crew sighted land.

Between November 1620 and March 1621, 52 passengers perished of disease, starvation, and exhaustion.


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