The Pilgrims


There were a number of children among the passengers of the Mayflower. This was of great importance to the survival of Plymouth Colony. Many of the children had become accustomed to hard labor since they needed to work in Leiden to help support their families. As with many immigrant families in 17th century Holland, the Pilgrim fathers were generally hired for the lowest paying occupations.


The group of 102 passengers who crowded aboard Mayflower for the crossing was not homogenous. Many of the passengers were members of the Leiden congregation, but they were joined by a number of English families or individuals who were hoping to better their life situations, or were seeking financial gain. These two general groups have sometimes been referred to as the "saints" and "strangers".

The Pilgrims were a group of English people who came to America seeking religious freedom during the reign of King James I. After two attempts to leave England and move to Holland, a Separatist group was finally relocated to Amsterdam where they stayed for about one year. From there the group moved to the town of Leiden, Holland, where they remained for about ten years, able to worship as they wished under lenient Dutch law.

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