The Pilgrim Fathers arrive at Massachusetts
Having arrived some 500 miles distant from their intended destination of Virginia, the settlers and crew of the Mayflower found themselves facing a bitter winter, many of them suffering from the effects of bad diet during their voyage, and from diseases brought on by the cramped quarters and poor hygiene on the ship. To make matters worse the Anglican and Puritan factions were at one another’s throats.
A small party of some of the fitter colonists and crew began to explore the area by boat, bumping into native people who fled from them. The party spent a couple of days on what is now Clark’s Island, at the tip of Cape Cod, mending their damaged boat and regaining some strength, before landing at what is now Plymouth, the first point there at which William Bradford and his companions embarked supposedly being the legendary Plymouth Rock.
In New England today the event is commemorated by the celebration of Forefathers’ Day. They had happened on a defensible area cleared previously by native people, with a decent harbour to boot. Many of the group would die over the coming months, but it would have gone worse had they not found such a site. Some survived. Their colony was established.