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The Pilgrims: Voyage to Freedom


Part 2: The New World

The ocean crossing was long and difficult. Many of the Pilgrims wondered if they would ever see land. Two people died, and one baby was born. On November 9, they saw land.

Two days later, they dropped anchor at Cape Cod, which is now in Massachusetts. An advance party soon went ashore and looked for food and shelter, while most of the people stayed aboard the Mayflower. A group of Pilgrims, led by William Bradford, signed the Mayflower Compact, which said that they agreed to govern themselves and not take orders from other people.

More scouting of the new land followed, and the entire group finally went ashore and began to build a settlement. It was December 23, and the place was Plymouth.

The first winter was very hard. More than 40 people died. The rest of the Pilgrims made it through the winter. In the spring, they began to plant food and continued to explore their new home.

On March 16, Samoset and another Native American entered the Plymouth settlement and said, in English, "Welcome, Englishmen." The Pilgrims were amazed. Samoset explained that he had learned their language from English fishermen who had fished there in the winter. The two peoples exchanged greetings and ideas. They parted as friends.

A few days later, Samoset returned with Squanto, another Native American leader. The Pilgrims welcomed him, too. Soon, Massasoit, the leader of the large tribe the Wampanoag, visited Plymouth. The two peoples signed a peace treaty that would last 50 years.

The Native Americans had taught the Pilgrims how to plant wheat, barley, Indian corn, and peas. Soon, the settlement was growing lots of food. Later that year, in the fall, the Pilgrims celebrated the harvest. They invited their Native American friends to join them. This has become known as the first Thanksgiving.

The Plymouth colony thrived. More people were born, and more people arrived from Europe. Soon, other colonies sprung up. It wouldn't be long before English colonies filled the entire Eastern coast of North America.

The Pilgrims, in seeking freedom from religious punishment and economic hardship, had found in the New World new friends and a new way of life.

First page > The Need for Freedom > Page 1, 2

Graphics courtesy of ArtToday


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