13 years after the first permanent English colony in Jamestown, the passengers of the Mayflower landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
I had always been taught that the English came to Massachusetts because they wanted religious freedom. Last month in Plymouth I learned that that isn't entirely the reason that everyone came.
By the early 1600s, many English people had found religious freedom in the Netherlands. However, as immigrants, the English got only the hardest and lowest paying jobs. Instead of going to school, the English children had to join in the work just for survival. Several of the families who were on the Mayflower left the Netherlands to return to England and subsequently set sail for the New World because they were losing their English customs and wanted a better life for their children in a land where they could continue to ensure religious freedom..
They must have really had it bad, too, because crossing the ocean 400 years ago was no luxury cruise. In fact, you had to be hardy and determined to make it to the other side in fair health.
We got to learn this up close and personally, thanks to the Mayflower II, a full scale reproduction of the original Mayflower, which is authentic to the point that it has sailed across the Atlantic Ocean.
After getting to take an interesting and educational tour of the Mayflower II, we walked down the street a bit and got to see the famous Plymouth Rock.
It looked a little different than I thought it might...
We enjoyed our short adventure to Plymouth, not only learning a lot, but getting to feel what it's like being in such an historic locale. Now, we were well on our way to learning about early 17th century life in the colonies. What would happen next?