How did the pilgrims get their name?

Plymouth Settlers

The term “pilgrim” was used by William Bradford to describe the first Plymouth settlers.

A long time ago, people we now call the Pilgrims came to America and settled the first permanent colony of people from the Old World.

They named their little New England village Plymouth in honor of Plymouth, England—the harbor from which they had sailed on the Mayflower in 1620.

The term “Pilgrim” may come from Gov. William Bradford’s early accounts of the Philgrims’ life.

He wrote that “they knew they were pilgrims” when they left their old homes, seeking freedom to follow their own religious beliefs and way of life in the New World.

But it wasn’t until two centuries after their arrival that these first settlers popularly became known in American history as the Pilgrims.

The Pilgrims knew themselves as the “Old Comers,” since they were the first to colonize the New World, while later generations referred to the Pilgrims as the “Forefathers.”–Dick Rogers




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