Monday, November 20, 2006

The Mayflower Pilgrims: from England to America via Leyden

The Pilgrims were in deep political trouble in England. They had no use for the church established by Henry VIII when he broke with Rome. Their viewpoints led to imprisonment, fines for holding their church services and failure to attend the worship services at the Established Church, and even death. Because they wished to be free of the Church of England, they were referred to as "Independents," Separatists," or "Brownists," after preacher Robert Browne. The name "Pilgrim" came many years thereafter, based on William Bradford's words: "So they left the good and pleasant city, which had been their resting place near 12 years. But they knew they were pilgrims and looked not much on those things, but lifted up their eyes to the Heavens, their dearest country . . ."

Holland was a liberal country, offering shelter to those seeking freedom of conscience, and many of American's Pilgrims first settled in the University town of Leyden, Holland.

There are a number of current pictures of the England known to the Pilgrims here if you would like to see them, and a webpage with interesting links and very good information about the Pilgrims here. If you take a few minutes to look over these websites before Thanksgiving, you'll have a much better idea about the Pilgrims come Thursday. If you by chance saw Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower on the History Channel on Sunday, you may be particularly interested.

Note: In honor of Thanksgiving, we have several posts on the Pilgrims which you might like. You can view them all at by clicking here.


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