Audience versions of this page: FamilyOn November 11, 1620, 41 “Pilgrims” signed the Mayflower Compact. The Mayflower Compact was the first governing document of what would become Plimouth Plantation—today, the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Pilgrims—at the time called “Separatists” or “Saints”—were seeking greater religious freedom in the British colonies of the New World.The settlers’ ship, the Mayflower, was anchored off Cape Cod when the document was drafted and signed. When they left the port of Plymouth, England, a month earlier, colonists were intending to settle near the mouth of the Hudson River—then a part of the British colony of Virginia. However, stormy weather and shifting sandbars forced the ship north to the safer harbor of what is now Provincetown, Massachusetts.Mayflower passengers did not have permission, from either the British colonial government or Native American inhabitants, to settle in the region. For this reason, some passengers still wanted to stick to the original plan and head back south. The Mayflower Compact was designed to formally unite all passengers as a legal, legitimate colony loyal to King James I.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry anchor Verb
to hold firmly in place.
people and land separated by distance or culture from the government that controls them.
group of organisms or a social group interacting in a specific region under similar environmental conditions.
to plan and outline.
sketch or outline.
official or standardized.
to make public-policy decisions for a group or individuals.
part of a body of water deep enough for ships to dock.
Encyclopedic Entry: harbor inhabitant Noun
to expect or aim to do something.
allowed by law.
following a set of laws or rules.
place where a river empties its water. Usually rivers enter another body of water at their mouths.
Encyclopedic Entry: mouth Native American Noun
person whose ancestors were native inhabitants of North or South America. Native American usually does not include Eskimo or Hawaiian people.
New World Noun
the Western Hemisphere, made up of the Americas and their islands.
authorization to do something.
early settler of Plimouth Colony, Massachusetts.
place on a body of water where ships can tie up or dock and load and unload cargo.
Encyclopedic Entry: port region Noun
any area on Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.
Encyclopedic Entry: region sandbar Noun
underwater or low-lying mound of sand formed by tides, waves, or currents.
person who migrates and establishes a residence in a largely unpopulated area.
severe weather indicating a disturbed state of the atmosphere resulting from uplifted air.
human settlement larger than a village and smaller than a city.
state of the atmosphere, including temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation, and cloudiness.
Encyclopedic Entry: weather