The Great Dirth of the 1590's

1590 - 1600

In England, the entire country was hit by a series of poor harvests in the 1590s which put pressure on a limited supply of food. Food prices rose and the poor starved to death.

1605-1619 Squanto is Captured by English

1605 - 1619

While captured, Squanto (Tisquantum) is taken to England and taught the language and customs of the English. When Squanto returns, he learns of the plague that wiped out his entire village. He is the only survivor and lives with neighboring tribes until he joins the Plymouth colony and becomes a pivotal aide to their survival.

William Brewster Fined & Flees to Holland


Brewster was fined for meeting with Puritans in England. Brewster's church (along with Bradford) had to flee to Holland--where there was freedom for Protestants.

1607 Jamestown is settled



1616 - 1619

1616-1619 Plague wipes out Patuxet and Wampanoag Tribes. The plague was brought over by European fisherman. The Indians suffered between a 50-90% loss of population. The Wampanoag was hit the hardest and their entire village was abandoned and left with the bones of the dead in heaps.

Thirty Years War (Religious war in Europe)

1618 - 1648

The Separatists are Funded


A group of investors agrees to pay for the Pilgrims to journey to the New World as long as they agree to pay them back AND take non-Separatist passengers as well. They were given a charter to govern the colony when they landed north of Jamestown in Virginia.

1620 Mayflower Voyage

September 6, 1620

102 passengers. Half are Separatists (Puritans/Pilgrims)--"Saints" and the other half are adventurers and investors--"Strangers." 30 are children, 20 are women, 10 Are indentured servants and 4 are orphans. Voyage takes 66 days. The Mayflower used to carry wine, so all the alcohol that's been spilt over the years keeps diseases at bay and only one passenger dies on the voyage over. One baby is born at sea and is named Oceanus. They were headed for Virginia, north of Jamestown, but landed much farther to the north--near Cape Cod--in Massachusetts. Because they've landed north of where they intended, they decide to write the Mayflower Compact before disembarking the ship. The Compact will establish rules and a governing body for the new colony (since the charter they had taken with them was no longer applicable since they missed their original target destination).

John Howland falls overboard

October, 1620

John Howland, an indentured servant, falls overboard and is rescued. He survives and marries in Plymouth. He works off his indenture and his heirs include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Franklin Roosevelt, Humphrey Bogart, Chevy Chase, and both George Bushes.

Mayflower Lands

November 1620

The Mayflower arrives off of Cape Cod, 200 miles north of their intended destination. They settle in the very place that the Patuxet and Wampanoag plague had killed off the Indian settlements. As a result, they find cleared land, suitable for immediate settlement.

The Pilgrims choose an area to settle

December 8, 1620

The Pilgrims settle at Patuxet. They find burial mounds--one with corn seed. Later they will make reparations for stealing this seed from the Natives.

William Bradford's Wife Dies

December 12, 1620

Bradford's wife dies by falling overboard of the Mayflower prior to settling at Patuxet. She may have slipped and she may have committed suicide. Cause is unknown.

First Winter

December 24, 1620

They anchor a mile off shore and slowly, over weeks, ferry the people and supplies from the Mayflower to the settlement. The freezing conditions and lack of supplies, food, and shelter kills a great many of them. There were several deaths per day and by the end of the first winter, 1/2 of them were dead. The Mayflower itself was used as a hospital for the sick and dying. Bradford said they buried their dead at night to disguise the numbers of dead from the Indians. Another colonist said that the sick and dying were propped in the woods against trees to look like a forest sentinel to the Natives.

Peace Treaty between Wampanoag & Plymouth Colony

March 1621

Samoset greets the colonists in English and tells them the story of the Patuxet plague. The Wampanoag have been watching the Pilgrims and realize that an alliance between the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims would be mutually beneficial. Since the Wampanoags were wiped out by the plague, other stronger tribes were threatening them. Several days later, Squanto returns and the Pilgrims and Wampanoags sign an official treaty. Squanto agrees to stay with the Pilgrims to help them learn how to plant, harvest, and build in order to survive.

Governer Carver dies and Bradford Succeeds him

April 1621

Pilgrims Trade with Natives

July 1621

Pilgrims begin to trade with other Native tribes and make reparations for stealing corn seed when they first arrived from a burial mound.

1621 The First Thanksgiving

October 1621

A three day feast with Plymouth colonists & Wampanoag tribe included deer, turkey, and fish. Games were played and it was a celebration of the first successful harvest after 1/2 of the Plymouth colonists died the year before.

More settlers arrive

November 9, 1621

35 more settlers are sent along with a letter admonishing the Pilgrims for not sending any payment back to the investors. There were no relief supplies on this ship--only more mouths to feed just in time for winter.

Three more ships arrive to compete nearby

December 1621

The Pilgrim's investors sent three more ships of investors to set up a rival trading post a few miles north of Plymouth. These new arrivals disintegrates quickly. They are unable to make peace with natives, they are starving, at war with natives... The Pilgrims try to distance themselves from this new colony as well.

1622 indian Massacre at Jamestown


The Powhatan killed 1/4 of Jamestown population--men, women, and children--in a surprise attack.

Massasoit Tips Colonists of Impending Attack

March 1622

Massasoit lay dying and Winslow helps to heal Massasoit. Massasoit warns Winslow that the entire regioin of Indians are planning to band together to kill all Europeans from the area--from Jamestown to the rival trading post to the north. Plymouth will be destroyed as well.

Plymouth strikes first

April 1622

Standish, Bradford, etc. go to nearby trading post and invite Indians to trade. When the Indians enter into the building, Standish locks the doors and they kill them. They take the head of one of the Indians back to Plymouth and put it on a stake at the front of the colony to serve as a warning to Indian tribes nearby.

Investors Give up and File Bankruptcy


Convinced that Plymouth would not ever pay them back, file bankruptcy. Eight of the colony's members vow to pay back the debt anyway.

Plymouth & Beaver Trade


Beaver furs begin to go up in value in 1627 and Plymouth colony travels to Maine to hunt beaver and they send pelts back to England until their debt is paid off. This encourages other investors to invest in a new colony--Massachusetts.

Massachussets is Established


Boston is established quickly and most are Puritans. The Bostonians visit those from Plymouth and the Plymouth colonists offer advice to the new colony about how to get along with the Indians, etc.

Bradford Dies


Bradford is later called "The Father and blessing of all Colonies."

King Philip's War


Massasoit's son, Metacom (King Philip) leads attack on Massachusetts and Plymouth colonies. He is killed and his head is placed on a stake and placed at the front of Plymouth colony.