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Who were they?

Who Were The Pilgrims & How Did They Get Their Name?

In 1620, a group of 102 men, women, and children boarded a ship called “Mayflower” to sail to a new land. 

Some were known as Separatists, seeking religious freedom.  They fled the English rule of King Henry VIII to Leiden, Holland, but later realized their future (and that of their children) was not what they had hoped.  They decided to sail to America.

The rest of the people were known as Strangers, as they were not a part of the religious group. This group of individuals included men of various skills, merchants, indentured servants, and even a family of young orphans.  The Separatists believed these people would increase their chances of survival in the new land.

When writing in his journal of the voyage, William Bradford referred to these individuals as “Pilgrims.”    He wrote:
So they lefte ye  goodly & pleasante citie which had been ther resting place near 12 years; but they knew they were pilgrims, & looked not much on those things, but lift up their eyes to ye heavens, their dearest cuntrie, and quieted their spirits.  
(Of Plimoth Plantation, Chapter 7, pg 72)