Blog Post #513 – Pilgrims as Entrepreneurs

Coaching for Life Success – Entrepreneurship Plus

https://www.history.com/topics/colonial-america/mayflower

Okay, this is not quite your normal entrepreneurship blog.  It is about the 102 people on the Mayflower – being ‘entrepreneurs’.

For probably a variety of reasons, but primarily for religious reasons, they set off from Plymouth England for the New World.  They had a charter from the Virginia Company to establish a colony. They really landed north of where the charter was – but they settled in what is now Massachusetts.  After two rough months crossing the ocean, to be on land again, even if not quite the location they envisioned was better than being on the Mayflower another day.

In some respects, the ‘separatists’ were entrepreneurs – setting off to find a new life, a new career, a new location, new tasks.  

The separatists had moved from England to Holland to avoid religious persecution, but found that in Holland, while they were free to worship as they saw fit, that they couldn’t get the jobs and income that they wanted since there were ‘immigrant’ (maybe not unlike the immigrants coming to the United States today).  

I look at them (and the Jamestown colony which was founded thirteen years early) as leaving all that they knew for a wild and untamed land.  Yes, they were free to worship, but not free from discomfort.

Of the 102 that started on the journey, the reports say only 53 survived the first winter which was spent living on the Mayflower; and then when they built houses and started living off the ship, even more died of malnutrition, disease, and exposure to the elements (it was a long trip back to an English hospital!!!)

I have tried to imagine what their lives must have been like.  Could I live in a drafty log cabin (without electricity and a toilet)?  Could I live on shellfish and other fish from Cape Cod? (Yes, I do like cod – like with fish-and-chips – but every day?).  Then everyday working communally they built more houses, more infrastructure – in the new environment.

I have lived in Connecticut for thirteen years – and while it is not Cape Cod, it was hit by the winter Noreasters; by rain in the summer.  I can imagine being chilled to the bone almost constantly – and the drafty houses would not keep the rain, the snow, and the cold out very well.  Plus, summers in New England could bring flies, mosquitoes, and some unpleasant days too.

I’m guessing that if the people were offered a free trip back to England, they may have opted to take it – even if it meant renouncing their faith practices and beliefs.  But, they stayed.

Yes, they did befriend the Indians (Native Americans), yes, it eventually did prosper, yes, there are those that really can trace their heritage back to the Mayflower.  

I’m glad they made it – I’m glad for all those that came after looking for the new utopia, for a new adventure and a new life.  Entrepreneurs? Yes, in that sense of quitting all that they had known for the unknown of a new land.

Thank you, Pilgrims!!!  You set an early standard of living through trials and hardships – to make a new life!!

Bruce

 

Posted by Bruce White

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