The second permanent English settlement in the Americas was formed at the end of 1620. Sailing across the Atlantic on The Mayflower, the Pilgrims landed in modern day Cape Cod, MA and named their settlement Plymouth. The Mayflower passenger list provides some interesting insights into who was part of the expedition, and what their goals and intentions were.
The British Empire was in its infancy at this time in history. Their first permanent colony in the Americas had been formed in 1607. The struggles of the Jamestown colony in the early years are well documented. Without significant support from ships and supply lines the settlement surely would have met the same fate as the first British colony in the south (the lost Roanoke colony).
There were some noted differences between Jamestown and Plymouth. First: the relations with natives were more cordial in Plymouth. The Pilgrims likely would not have survived either without the help of the local Wampanoag.
Second: the Pilgrims brought along women and children, as opposed to Jamestown which was initially solely men. It is argued that this fact helped to maintain relations with the natives.
Despite the differences, both settlements provided a foothold in the Americas for the British to continue sending colonists. The Mayflower and its passengers played an important role in that.
The Mayflower Passenger List
In total there were 50 men, 19 women, 14 young adults, and 19 children. The young adults ranged between the ages of 13 and 19. The children were all 12 or younger. These individuals could be considered some of the first immigrants to the eventual United States.
It is well known that the Pilgrims sailed to the Americas in search of religious freedom. What’s less well known is that only 37 of the passenger were Pilgrims. The rest (65) of the 102 total passengers were paying members in search of a new life, and crew members of the ship.
A few other interesting facts about The Mayflower passengers is that there were 3 pregnant women aboard the ship. One gave birth mid-voyage, and another gave birth when the ship was anchored in Cape Cod harbor.
There were also 18 servants aboard the ship, some serving the Pilgrim members. John Carver was the original governor of the settlement, though when he died in early 1621, William Bradford replaced him.
Sadly, of the 102 passengers, only about half survived through the first winter due to lack of supplies, malnutrition and harsh weather.
The Plymouth colony and its inhabitants have left a far reaching legacy. Historians estimate that there are nearly 35 million direct descendants from the passengers on board: a staggering number.