King James I, ruler of Scots, Ireland and England was somewhat tolerant of other religions that existed in his kingdom. It was because of such tolerances that devotees of the Catholic Church decided to assassinate him and place his nine ?year old daughter onto the throne as Catholic Head of State in 1605. But the plot did not go well and made things harder for other faiths, especially Catholics.
The name of the infamous plot was known as the Gunpowder Treason Plot that took place on November 5, 1605 involving the conspirators Thomas Wintour, Thomas Bates, Guy Fawkes, Christopher Wright, Francis Tresham, Sir Evarard Digby, Robert Keyes, John Wright, Thomas Percy, Ambrose Rookwood and Robert Wintour. Eight of the conspirators were tried, found guilty and convicted in an English court of law. The ones who stood trial were executed and suffered the dreaded fate of being drawn and quartered for everyone to see.
In due course, the Gunpowder Treason Plot helped King James lose faith in religious tolerance as penalties against Catholics and other anti Protestant monarchial and state radicals got worse. In 1606, the Oath of Allegiance Act was passed which would punish anyone who denied papal authority. Then in 1611, the King James Bible was published which helped Protestant faith and damned Catholic worship.
Searching For Religious Freedom
Traditional Protestant worshipers grew intolerant of dissent which was active among the masses. It would cause many to become non-compliant to the state-sponsored faith and partake in vigorous mass departure. One such group of people was known as the Pilgrims. These religious separatists left England and ventured to the Netherlands seeking religious freedom secretly violating English law. There were numerous attempts to leave, but finally they were able to get through arriving in Amsterdam via a Dutch ship in 1607. It would be here that they would make lives for themselves as laborers and artisans before becoming embittered with other radical religious and not -so religious groups co-existing with them. The English Separatists wanted out, but the next best place, other than Holland existed thousands of miles away called America after taking advantage of the political and economic freedoms offered in the Netherlands.
The Plymouth Colony
In 1620, the Pilgrims left the Netherlands and sailed on the long voyage to America inside the cramped ship called the Mayflower. Some Pilgrims also came concurrently on the lesser-known ship called the Speedwell. In December of 1620, the Mayflower finally entered America by way of Plymouth Harbor. This was the place where the Plymouth Colony would see life located in Massachusetts. It is known as Plymouth, Massachusetts today.
Behind our romantic view of the first Thanksgiving lies a history of hardship, suspicion and disagreement. Find out what the first months in the New World were really like for the pilgrims.
What do you know about the first Thanksgiving? You'll find some interesting details among these facts about pilgrims.