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The Separatists were members of a radical religious movement in England in the 16th and 17th centuries. William Brewster, in 1606, led a portion of this group to Leiden, the Netherlands, to avoid further religious oppression from the English government. Some members of this Separatist group then voted, ten years later, to relocate to America. In order for them to afford such a journey, the Separatists received funding from a group of London investors, in return for produce from America. A ship called the Mayflower set off on September 16th, 1620, carrying a group of 102 passengers, including these Separatists. On November 21st, the Mayflower arrived near present-day Provincetown, Massachusetts, and on December 21st of the same year, they landed on the site of the Plymouth Colony. (Encarta, "Pilgrims")
The Indians native to this area were called the Patuxet tribe. However, in 1618, the Patuxet had been completely wiped out by a disease that had swept the East Coast. Within a span of three years, 90-96% of coastal New England population had been obliterated by this plague. The disease had probably started to spread in 1617, by British and French fishermen who had been fishing off the Massachusetts coast. "The plague that ensued made the Black Death pale in comparison." (Loewen, 80)
So by the time the Pilgrims had reached the New World in 1620, they came to a land where disease and plague had killed almost everyone in sight. Howard Simpson describes the sight the Pilgrims had stumbled across in America: "Villages lay in ruins because there was no one to tend them. The ground was strewn with the skulls and the bones of thousands of Indians who had died and none was left to bury them." Historians speculate that this "plague" could have been any disease, from the bubonic plague to others such as hepatitis, small pox, chicken pox, or influenza. (Loewen, 80-81)
The only surviving member of the Patuxet tribe was Tisquantum, or "Squanto," who had been in England during the time of the plague. Squanto accepted the Pilgrims and became part of the Plymout
Quotes talked about in this paper
- Howard Simpson describes the sight the Pilgrims had stumbled across in America: "Villages lay in ruins because there was no one to tend them. The ground was strewn with the skulls and the bones of thousands of Indians who had died and none was left to bury them." ...
- "The mythic origin of ‘the country we now know as the United States' is at Plymouth Rock, and the year is 1620." James W. Loewen stresses ...
- Loewen goes on to describe the horrors the native peoples of America went through due to the diseases and other such terrible things the white "settlers" brought to the "New World." ...
- Loewen does briefly mention the fact that the Pilgrims had Manifest Destiny in mind when he said, "The English Separatists [had] already [seen] their lives as a divinely inspired morality play…" ...
Names referenced in this essay
James W. Loewen, Johnson, Linda Scott, William Brewster, Howard Simpson, James W. Lies,
Locations talked about in this research material
Americas, United States, England, New England, Leiden, Provincetown, London, New York,
Health Conditions included in this essay
Facility talked about in this paper
Keywords included in this paper
Manifest Destiny, the pilgrim, Loewen, Mayflower, My Teacher, religious beliefs, separatists, Mayflower Compact, America, Lies My Teacher Told Me, disease, predestination, plymouth colony, native people, original sin, United States, New World, puritan, group, adam and eve, bubonic plague, religious movement, New England population, religious persecution, Plymouth Rock, separatist movement, 17th centuries, chicken pox, Patuxet, Howard Simpson, mindless optimism, the mayflower, small pox, Body Politic, First Thanksgiving, is born, Linda Scott, forbidden fruit, John Calvin, Black Death, Atlantic ocean, Encarta, personal rights, history textbooks, divinely, Christian Faith, Squanto, New York, England, misinformation,