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Pilgrim Fathers, The

Pilgrim Fathers, The

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Item Number:
30 min.
Closed Caption:
TMW Media Group
Grade Level:
8 - 12
Told by two British historians from near the Pilgrims' home villages in Nottinghamshire, England and interspersed with dramatic recreations this program probes their roots in the England of the 1600s. It explores their reasons for leaving England as well as the perilous journey they took to get to America.

The story begins in Nottinghamshire where Separatists - worshippers wanting to reform the then highly intolerant Church of England - were in danger from the Crown. They believed in greater freedom of religion than the authorities would permit. Fearing for their lives, they decided to leave England and create a community where they were free to practice their beliefs. After a failed attempt at the dangerous journey they managed to escape to Amsterdam where they spent twelve long years before their decision to move to the New World.

The program reenacts not only the Pilgrims' religious services but the perilous journey by just over a hundred men, women, and children in the Mayflower and another leaky vessel, one of which had to be abandoned, over months at sea through storms and terrible conditions. On November 9 1620, they spotted land - Cape Cod on the East Coast of North America - over 3,000 miles from the start of their journey in Nottinghamshire.

The Pilgrims found a rich land with cornfields, timber and rivers teeming with fish. They set up their new colony - Plimoth - now modern Plymouth, Massachusetts. From these humble beginnings their influence helped shape the nation into the United States of America that we know today.

Although we credit the Pilgrims for Thanksgiving, this program explains why this brave group is far more significant, because the quest for religious freedom matters far more than a celebratory harvest feast. The tale ends with the historic Mayflower Compact, the first self-governing agreement in America.

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