Episode 213: Rebecca Fraser, The Pilgrims of Plimoth

In 1621, the Pilgrims of Plimoth (or Plymouth) Colony and their Wampanoag neighbors came together to celebrate their first harvest. Today we remember this event as the first Thanksgiving.

But what do we really know about this holiday and the people who celebrated it?

So much of what we know about the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving comes to us through myth and legend, which is why Rebecca Fraser, author of The Mayflower: The Families, the Voyage, and the Founding of America, joins us to help suss out fact from fiction.

About the Show

Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.

It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.

Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.

Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.

Episode Summary

Rebecca Fraser, a writer, biographer, and the author of The Mayflower: The Families, the Voyage, and the Founding of America, joins us to explore the historical facts behind the Pilgrims and their establishment of Plimoth Colony in 1620.

As we investigate the lives and experiences of the Pilgrims, Rebecca reveals details about the group we know as the Pilgrims and why they chose to migrate to North America; How the Pilgrims experienced their transatlantic crossing aboard the Mayflower; And information about how the Pilgrims established Plimoth Colony and celebrated the so-called first Thanksgiving.

What You’ll Discover

  • The Pilgrims
  • The Pilgrims’ time and lives in the Netherlands
  • Worship of the Scrooby Congregation in Leiden
  • How the Pilgrims’ faith differed from Anglicanism
  • Differences between the Pilgrims and the Puritans
  • Pilgrims’ decision to settle in North America
  • Mayflower and the Pilgrims’ transatlantic voyage to North America
  • Goods the Pilgrims brought to build their new homes in Plimoth
  • How and why the Pilgrims came to settle at Plimoth
  • The Pilgrims’ interactions with Native American peoples
  • The Mayflower Compact
  • Building Plimoth Colony
  • The first Thanksgiving
  • Biggest misconception about the Pilgrims and Plimoth


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Time Warp PlainTime Warp Question

In your opinion, how might the history of New England and North America have been different if the Pilgrims stayed in the province of Holland?

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