Plymouth Colony and the famous Mayflower were founded by the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims invented Thanksgiving and negotiated peaceful terms with the Indians.
James I of England, the successor of Elizabeth I, made changes in the Church of England. Some people did not like these changes, so they left for Leiden, Holland. These were henceforward known as Pilgrims.
There they had a hard life, for the Pilgrims were farmers and the Dutch lifestyle did not suit them. They stayed there for more than a year.
Then, through a man connected with a shipping company, a passage was arranged for them to the New World. A ship took them to England and two ships were waiting in the harbor for them. The Speedwell and the Mayflower were loaded, and they sailed.
Shortly after they left the harbor, the Speedwell sprang a leak. The Pilgrims headed toward the nearby port of Dartmouth. There the leak was fixed and they set sail. A day later the ship sprang another leak and it was abandoned. The passengers and cargo of the Speedwell were loaded onto the already crowded Mayflower.
They finally sighted land months later, and they sailed up Plymouth Harbor in November, 1620. Before they landed, they drew up the Mayflower Compact, a document that tied the Pilgrims together morally.
The colonists had trouble that first year. They suffered from disease and famine. Almost half the population died and seven of the planned nineteen structures were built. When a new governor took office the next year, things got a little better.
Soon after, a meeting with the Indian chief Massasoit was followed by a treaty that avoided a war with the Indians.
Squanto, an Indian who was brought up in Europe, agreed to teach the settlers how to hunt, fish, grow crops, etc. Due to this, their colony survived much better the next winter.
On the anniversary of their landing in Plymouth, the Pilgrims had a great feast and gave thanks for their safe arrival and their now flourishing town as well as the people in it. We now call this Thanksgiving.
William Bradford, a later governor, wrote a book called Plymouth Plantation in which he recounted the entire history of Plymouth Colony.
Plymouth Colony was founded on the basis of free religion because, in fact, most settlers had come seeking freedom of religion. Plymouth Colony was one of the major colonies that were founded. It set an example for others to follow, an example of one that can overcome any odds, no matter how great.