Difference between revisions of "Plymouth, Massachusetts"

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On December 8, 1620, the ''Mayflower'' arrived in Plymouth Harbor, after a previous stop at Provincetown Harbor on the tip of Cape Cod. The ship had sailed earlier that year from England, carrying 102 passengers: a mix of English Separatists, [[Protestant]] dissidents from the [[Church of England]], and so-called "Strangers," non-Separatists recruited to bolster the colony the Separatists intended to establish in North America. (Both groups are commonly known as "Pilgrims" today, though the term would more accurately apply to the Separatists alone.) The original intent had been to establish a colony near the [[Hudson River]], but stormy weather en route had driven the ''Mayflower'' farther north, and the Pilgrims chose the relative shelter of Plymouth Harbor for a settlement site instead.
 
On December 8, 1620, the ''Mayflower'' arrived in Plymouth Harbor, after a previous stop at Provincetown Harbor on the tip of Cape Cod. The ship had sailed earlier that year from England, carrying 102 passengers: a mix of English Separatists, [[Protestant]] dissidents from the [[Church of England]], and so-called "Strangers," non-Separatists recruited to bolster the colony the Separatists intended to establish in North America. (Both groups are commonly known as "Pilgrims" today, though the term would more accurately apply to the Separatists alone.) The original intent had been to establish a colony near the [[Hudson River]], but stormy weather en route had driven the ''Mayflower'' farther north, and the Pilgrims chose the relative shelter of Plymouth Harbor for a settlement site instead.
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[[Image:Thanksgiving.jpg|right|275px]]
  
 
The Pilgrims came ashore on December 12, and quickly set up a fortified post. During the ensuing months, the colony was battered by illness and harsh weather, and by spring, approximately half the original passengers had died. At that point, however, the Pilgrims began to recover, after several members of the Pokanoket tribe made contact with them, most notably Samoset and [[Squanto]], and provided assistance in fishing and agriculture in the New World. Later that year, the governor of Plymouth Colony, John Carver (who died shortly afterward and was succeeded by [[William Bradford]]), signed a treaty of alliance with the Pokanoket chief, Massasoit; following the harvest in September and October, the two groups would come together for a celebratory feast, subsequently commemorated as the first Thanksgiving.<ref>Nathaniel Philbrick, ''Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War'', p. 117-18.</ref>
 
The Pilgrims came ashore on December 12, and quickly set up a fortified post. During the ensuing months, the colony was battered by illness and harsh weather, and by spring, approximately half the original passengers had died. At that point, however, the Pilgrims began to recover, after several members of the Pokanoket tribe made contact with them, most notably Samoset and [[Squanto]], and provided assistance in fishing and agriculture in the New World. Later that year, the governor of Plymouth Colony, John Carver (who died shortly afterward and was succeeded by [[William Bradford]]), signed a treaty of alliance with the Pokanoket chief, Massasoit; following the harvest in September and October, the two groups would come together for a celebratory feast, subsequently commemorated as the first Thanksgiving.<ref>Nathaniel Philbrick, ''Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War'', p. 117-18.</ref>

Revision as of 20:13, 17 November 2019

Plymouth is a town in and one of the two county seats of Plymouth County, Massachusetts. It had a population of 56,468 at the 2010 census.

Plymouth is among the oldest existing municipalities in the United States. It is famous for having been founded by the Pilgrims, who landed on the site in 1620 and named both their colony and the community itself for the port in England they departed from in the Mayflower. Their role in being among the first English settlers in North America, and their holding of the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621, gave the Pilgrims a prominent place in American history, and Plymouth today is a major tourist attraction.

History

The future site of Plymouth was at one time part of the territory of the Pokanokets (also known as the Wampanoag), one of several prominent tribes in the area between Cape Cod, Massachusetts Bay, and Narragansett Bay. Not much is known about the tribe before European contact in the early 17th century. Between 1600 and 1620, a number of European explorers and fishing expeditions sailed into the region and surveyed the coastline, including Frenchman Samuel de Champlain in 1605 and English captain John Smith in 1614. From 1616 to 1619, an outbreak of disease (possibly bubonic plague) brought by some of these expeditions ravaged the Pokanokets, killing the vast majority of the tribe and leaving the survivors in a very weak position.

On December 8, 1620, the Mayflower arrived in Plymouth Harbor, after a previous stop at Provincetown Harbor on the tip of Cape Cod. The ship had sailed earlier that year from England, carrying 102 passengers: a mix of English Separatists, Protestant dissidents from the Church of England, and so-called "Strangers," non-Separatists recruited to bolster the colony the Separatists intended to establish in North America. (Both groups are commonly known as "Pilgrims" today, though the term would more accurately apply to the Separatists alone.) The original intent had been to establish a colony near the Hudson River, but stormy weather en route had driven the Mayflower farther north, and the Pilgrims chose the relative shelter of Plymouth Harbor for a settlement site instead.

Thanksgiving.jpg

The Pilgrims came ashore on December 12, and quickly set up a fortified post. During the ensuing months, the colony was battered by illness and harsh weather, and by spring, approximately half the original passengers had died. At that point, however, the Pilgrims began to recover, after several members of the Pokanoket tribe made contact with them, most notably Samoset and Squanto, and provided assistance in fishing and agriculture in the New World. Later that year, the governor of Plymouth Colony, John Carver (who died shortly afterward and was succeeded by William Bradford), signed a treaty of alliance with the Pokanoket chief, Massasoit; following the harvest in September and October, the two groups would come together for a celebratory feast, subsequently commemorated as the first Thanksgiving.[1]

The Pilgrim colony grew only slowly over the next several decades. The community of Separatists in England was relatively small, limiting the capacity for growth through immigration; moreover, Plymouth was less suitable as a port than other points on the New England coast. It would therefore rapidly be eclipsed by Massachusetts Bay Colony after the arrival of the Puritans at Boston in 1630. Furthermore, after the 1650s relations with the Wampanoag and other nearby tribes deteriorated, and the colony would, like the rest of New England, be devastated by King Philip's War in 1675-76. After the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the reorganization of the English government, Plymouth Colony ceased to exist as a separate legal entity, being consolidated into Massachusetts Bay Colony. After this point, the town of Plymouth became something of a backwater for the rest of the colonial era, its livelihood mostly based on fishing and shipping. Unlike some other Massachusetts communities, it was not particularly involved in the political activities of the pre-Revolutionary period, though there was an active Sons of Liberty organization; in 1774, it seized Plymouth Rock, the boulder on the shore where the Pilgrims were believed to have landed, and put it on display in the town square.[2]

During the late 18th and 19th century, shipbuilding became increasingly important to the Plymouth economy, with many long-distance sailing vessels constructed in or near the town. Light manufacturing appeared as well, with the Plymouth Cordage Company (a producer of rope) serving as the community's largest employer until well into the 20th century. At the same time, memory of Plymouth's early prominence in colonial history was revived; the Pilgrim Society was founded in 1820, followed in 1824 by the Pilgrim Hall Museum, the country's oldest public museum still in operation.[3]

Some of the town's traditional livelihoods would fade away during the mid- and late 20th century. Plymouth's population and overall prosperity nonetheless surged, though, owing to the growing tourism industry and to the arrival of new residents from the Boston area and other parts of Massachusetts, attracted by its low tax rates.[4]

Plymouth is currently preparing for "Plymouth 400," a year-long celebration and commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the town's founding and its importance to American history.[5]

References