This post will briefly cover the roots of the founding of Plymouth Colony, the first English settlement in New England. The Virginia Company (of London), who had sponsored the Jamestown settlement, signed a contract with the Pilgrims, a group of English religious separatists, to settle in the mouth of the Delaware or Hudson Rivers. So, in September 1620, the Pilgrims set sail for the New World aboard the Mayflower. But in the end, they were blown off course and settled in Plymouth instead.
The founding of the colony was December 1620, when the three-masted merchant ship landed on the shores of Cape Cod, in present day Massachusetts, at Plymouth Rock. This occurred after they anchored first at Provincetown on November 21st. Though more than half of the original settlers died during that grueling first winter, the survivors were able to secure peace treaties with neighboring Native American tribes and build a largely self-sufficient economy within five years.
The area was named Plymouth by the explorer John Smith of Jamestown, which was the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Smith had been the leader of that colony during its first, difficult years, and was largely responsible for its survival. After leaving Jamestown in 1609, he lead a new voyage along the northern American coast in 1614, when he named the area “New England”, and reported that it had immense potential in fish, furs, and other mundane resources.