1620 Migration

Migration to the New World

After careful thought, the congregation decided to leave Holland to establish a farming village in the northern part of the Virginia Colony. At that time, Virginia extended from Jamestown in the south to the mouth of the Hudson River in the north, so the Pilgrims planned to settle near present-day New York City. There they hoped to live under the English government, but they would worship in their own, separate church. Because their own money wasn’t enough to establish their village, they entered into an agreement with financial investors. The company of investors would provide passage for the colonists and supply them with tools, clothing and other supplies. The colonists in turn would work for the company, sending natural resources such as fish, timber and furs back to England. All assets, including the land and the Pilgrims’ houses, would belong to the company until the end of seven years when all of it would be divided among each of the investors and colonists. The colonists and investors had many disagreements, but eventually the Pilgrims were able to leave Europe for America.

The entire congregation could not come to America together. Those who could settle their affairs in Leiden went first while the greater number, including their pastor John Robinson, remained behind. The congregation purchased a small ship, Speedwell, to transport them across the sea and to use for fishing and trading in America. At Southampton, a port in England, they were joined by a group of English colonists who had been gathered by the investors. Speedwell and Mayflower – a ship rented by the investors – departed for America together. After twice turning back to England because Speedwell leaked, they were forced to leave the ship. As a result, many families were divided when some passengers had to be turned back for lack of space. A month after first leaving England, on September 6, 1620, Mayflower set out alone with 102 passengers. For more information on the voyage of Mayflower and the Mayflower Compact, please visit Mayflower: The Journey, the People, the Ship and the Mayflower Compact.

Learn more about the MOVE TO AMERICA.