Pilgrim Facts: Lesson for Kids

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jeremy Cook

Jeremy taught elementary school for 18 years in in the United States and in Switzerland. He has a Masters in Education from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. He's taught grades 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8. His strength is in educational content writing and technology in the classroom

Have you ever wondered who the Pilgrims were and how and why they ended up in the New World? In this lesson, you'll find out how a group of brave people crossed the Atlantic Ocean in search of religious freedom. Updated: 06/09/2020

The Pilgrims

A pilgrim is a person who goes on a journey to a holy or religious place. But when we refer to ''the Pilgrims'' in the United States, we are referring to the people who crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the Mayflower and landed in present day Massachusetts. The Pilgrims were a group of people who believed in the religious teachings of John Calvin and called themselves Calvinist Protestants. They asked the King of England for permission to build and worship at their own church. However, as the official religion at the time was the Church of England, the King told them ''no.''

So the Pilgrims decided to leave England and set up a colony in the New World where they'd be free to practice their religion. They obtained money from English investors that allowed them to sail across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World in 1620.

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  • 0:04 The Pilgrims
  • 0:55 Mayflower Journey
  • 1:58 Pilgrim-Wampanoag Feast
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Mayflower Journey

A group of 102 Pilgrims under the leadership of Miles Standish sailed across the Atlantic Ocean aboard a ship called the Mayflower. Standish was not a Pilgrim; he was a British-trained officer hired by the Pilgrims to help them build their colony. During their voyage on the Mayflower, the Pilgrims endured very poor conditions, including a lack of living space and sea sickness due to stormy weather that resulted in them landing in the wrong spot. It took the Pilgrims more than two months to cross the ocean, and when they finally landed in November 1620, they found themselves in Massachusetts instead of Virginia.

Upon the Pilgrims' initial arrival on Cape Cod, all of the men signed the Mayflower Compact, which set forth the basic foundation of their new government. But they weren't done sailing yet. The Mayflower finally reached Plymouth in December, and the Pilgrims set about trying to make a settlement before the harsh winter began. During that first winter, half of the Pilgrims died.

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