Today’s Memorable U. S. Events
Memorable U. S. Event
December 21, 1620 – Pilgrims Land at Plymouth Rock
Plymouth Colony (sometimes New Plymouth) was an English colonial venture in North America from 1620 to 1691. The first settlement was at New Plymouth, a location previously surveyed and named by Captain John Smith. The settlement, which served as the capital of the colony, is today the modern town of Plymouth, Massachusetts. At its height, Plymouth Colony occupied most of the southeastern portion of the modern state of Massachusetts.
Founded by a group including separatists who later came to be known as the Pilgrim Fathers, Plymouth Colony was, along with Jamestown, Virginia, one of the earliest successful colonies to be founded by the English in North America and the first sizable permanent English settlement in the New England region. Aided by Squanto, a Native American of the Patuxet people, the colony was able to establish a treaty with Chief Massasoit which helped to ensure the colony’s success. The colony played a central role in King Philip’s War, one of the earliest and bloodiest of the Indian Wars. Ultimately, the colony was annexed by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691.
The Mayflower dropped anchor in Plymouth Harbor on December 17, 1620, and spent three days surveying for a settlement site. They rejected several sites, including one on Clark’s Island and another at the mouth of the Jones River , in favor of the site of a recently abandoned Native American settlement named Patuxet. The location was chosen largely for its defensive position; the settlement would be centered on two hills: Cole’s Hill, where the village would be built, and Fort Hill, where a defensive cannon would be stationed. Also important in choosing the site, the prior Indian villagers had cleared much of the land, making agriculture relatively easy. Although there are no contemporary accounts to verify the legend, Plymouth Rock is often hailed as the point where the colonists first set foot on their new homeland.
The area where the colonists settled had been identified as “New Plymouth” in maps by John Smith published in 1614. The colonists elected to retain the name for their own settlement—after their final point of departure from England: Plymouth, Devon. On December 21, 1620, the first landing party arrived at the site of what would become the settlement of Plymouth.
Colonial Cycle – Elizabethan Renaissance Era – First Turning, High (1589-1620)
Notable U. S. Birthday
Roger Williams – Founder of Rhode Island
Roger Williams (December 21, 1603 – April 18, 1683) was an English theologian, a notable proponent of religious toleration and the separation of church and state and an advocate for fair dealings with Native Americans. In 1644, he received a charter creating the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, named for the principal island in Narragansett Bay and the Providence settlement which provided a refuge for religious minorities. Williams is credited for originating either the first or second Baptist church established in America, which he is known to have left soon afterwards, exclaiming, “God is too large to be housed under one roof.”