The Mayflower Pilgrims: The First Generation

2020 was to be a year of grand celebration and remembrance for the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Mayflower on November 11, 1620. Sadly, COVID and the ill winds of political correctness and historical revisionism have put a damper on the commemoration and this incredible story.

The Pilgrims’ story and legacy deserve an accurate retelling. Some journalists have put a spin on this fascinating and complex story, unfairly depicting the Pilgrims as communists, intolerant and hypocritical religious zealots, or only as economic refugees. These portrayals are inaccurate, incomplete, and don’t consider the Pilgrims in the proper historical, religious, and cultural contexts.

Who Were the Pilgrims?

John Robinson’s Home in Scrooby where the Separatists held meetings.

The 102 men, women, and children we refer to as Pilgrims were three distinct groups of people who sailed on the Mayflower from England. Thirty-seven were Separatists from Leyden, Holland. The rest were “Strangers,” and either members of the Church of England, Puritans, or perhaps a few who didn’t identify with any religious group. Most of the Strangers were likely quite pious and participated in the Separatists’ religious and worship meetings.

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