Provincetown 400

What is Provincetown 400?

Provincetown 400 will celebrate the Pilgrim’s Landing in Provincetown on November 11, 1620. That day, they wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact, which historians see as the foundational document for democracy.

The town is planning a year-long celebration with special events to recognize this important milestone in American history.

We’ll update our site as details become available, and you can visit the committee’s Facebook page. This page month, the Provincetown Tourism Board launched the Where Project, a competition which asks students to research the topic of “where in the world did the Pilgrims first land“. See the “Where” website for details about the competition.

Provincetown 400

The History of the Pilgrims Landing

On November 11, 1620, the Pilgrims first anchored in America in what is now known as Provincetown, MA. Before they set foot on land, the Pilgrims wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact on that same day. The signing of the Compact is the foundation of American democracy, making Provincetown its true birthplace.

Provincetown Bar Relief

Photo courtesy of Building Provincetown by David W. Dunlap. Read David’s description
of this iconic Provincetown memorial.

Pilgrims in Provincetown

Mourt’s Relation, a book which describes the first year the Pilgrim’s landed in the new world included a passage describing the harbor and land like this:

It is a harbor wherein 1000 sail of ships may safely ride, there we relieved ourselves with wood and water, and refreshed our people, while our shallop was fitted to coast the bay, to search for an habitation: there was the greatest store of fowl we ever saw. 1

The settlers original destination was Virginia, but strong southern winds had prevented them from sailing further south. As the settlers replenished their food and water, the scouting party continued inland and up the coast.

During this time, the Pilgrims had several clashed with the Nauset Native American tribe. These Native Americans were suspicious of the pilgrims because of their previous experiences with European sailors. These sailors captured many of their tribe and took them to sell into slavery. Additionally, the Europeans introduced diseases that significantly reduced the tribes numbers. Given the tensions between the two groups, the Pilgrims set sail up the coast.  On December 16, 1620, they landed in what is now Plymouth, MA.

Past First Landing Celebrations

To commemorate the first landing, Provincetown began construction on the Provincetown in 1907.  Two presidents visited Provincetown during its construction. President Theodore Roosevelt attended the official laying of the monument’s cornerstone. President William Taft attended the official opening of the monument on August 5, 1910. In the summer of 2010, Provincetown held a 100 Anniversary celebration in honor of the building of the monument.

Check back frequently, as we’ll be adding historical facts and details about the upcoming 2020 celebration.

Provincetown 400 Facebook |


1 Winslow, Edward; William Bradford (1622). A Relation or Journal of the Beginning and Proceeding of the English Plantation Settled at Plymouth. London, England: John Bellamie. p. 6.
http”// Provincetown: Pilgrims First Landing Spot. Published 06/15/16