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1620: The First Year


(60 Minutes)

   In 2020, the 400th Anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims came but was overshadowed by the Covid Pandemic. There were no celebrations or commemoration ceremonies marking this event in our history. This was a time of great difficulty for most Americans.

   In 1620, the Pilgrims also faced adversity.  They came to these shores seeking religious freedom and found an untamed inhospitable wilderness fraught with innumerable dangers.  They struggled with disease and death and survived through the grace of God and with the help of the "People of the Dawn" - the Wampanoag Nation.

   The first part of the talk will examine the difficult voyage over the Atlantic and the decision to land on Cape Cod rather than the intended destination; near the Hudson River.  Then a visual overview will be given of the three explorations of the Cape made by the Pilgrims in which satellite imagery is compared with 19th Century maps of the land explorations which were based on first-hand accounts. Additionally, their "first encounter" with the Nauset people will be chronicled followed by a discussion on the reasons why Plymouth (Patuxet) was the eventual choice for settlement. (A booklet will be made available to the audience with directions to the locations and sites should they want to explore themselves.)

   The second part of the talk will focus the beginnings of Plymouth Colony with a short discussion on the history of "Plymouth Rock." Then the discussion will turn to the original aboriginal inhabitants of Patuxet and the plague of 1618 that obliterated nearly 100% of the village and where the site of that village might have been. Also, the laying out and building of the colony will be illustrated with a street diagram of the first dwellings and their inhabitants. The second part of the lecture will close by recalling the great sickness that took nearly 50% of the colony during that first harsh winter.

   The final part of the talk will recount the early scant encounters with the Wampanoag people, the appearance of Samoset followed by a description of the arrival of Massasoit and his retinue in March of 1620/21 and the treaty he forged with the people of Plymouth.

Booklet with locations from lecture

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    Christopher Daley