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.
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.