Why did the Pilgrims have a difficult first winter in Plymouth?

1 Answer
Oct 3, 2017

They were not prepared to spend a winter on their own.


The Pilgrims landed on Cape Cod in October 1620. The growing season was over and they had to fend for themselves. The 50 Pilgrims, there were 50 "others," were forced to leave England quickly and planned poorly for their setting up in the New World. By the time they reached North America they were already short of provisions and nearly out of water. When the landed at what is today Provincetown MA, the first thing they did was set out in search of fresh water. They found none. The Mayflower left them there while it looked for a better port, and found that port at Plymouth.

The Pilgrims first had to make shelters for their winter ordeal and find water and what food they could. Unfortunately for them, they had no knowledge of the local wild life and even if they had, they lacked the knowledge of how to capture it.

The did reach some minimal help from the local Native Americans but it was not enough to sustain them through the winter and it did not protect them from the diseases the either had brought with them or contracted upon arrival. Come spring, there were about 1/2 of the original party left.