Plymouth Colony

Plymouth Colony was one of the early colonies in the United States. The people of Plymouth Colony also celebrated the first “Thanksgiving”.

Origins

In 1620 a group of people known as Pilgrims arrived to the New World on a ship called the Mayflower. These men, women, and children had left England to have religious freedom and start a new life. They landed on the modern day state of Massachusetts.

The First Winter

The first year for the pilgrims was not an easy one; during the first winter almost half of the pilgrims died from various illnesses, lack of food, shelter, and the cold. Because of this, the people of the colony were very weak. Things got better though after the winter.

Interaction With The Native American’s

At first the Pilgrims and the Native’s had a very tense interaction. The Pilgrims worried for their safety and organized a standing militia, to be prepared for any attack.

The tense interaction soon changed between the Pilgrims and the Native’s when the unbelievable happened. A Native named Samoset walked into Plymouth on March, 1621; and announced these words “Welcome, Englishmen!” he then explained to the rather surprised Pilgrims that he had learned English from English trappers up North.

Samoset helped the Pilgrims by introducing them to the Wampanoag tribe, the two groups agreed to live side by side without any issues. Samoset introduced them to a Native named Squanto.

  Squanto, had been kidnapped by the English. When he returned home he had discovered his family tribe had been all killed by diseases. Since he really had nowhere to go he joined the Pilgrims, and taught them how to farm, and be prosperous in the New World.

The First Thanksgiving

The first year anniversary of the pilgrims arrival in November 1621; the fifty-three surviving Pilgrims decided to hold a celebration for their success of going through this one year. This celebration of “thanking God for getting them through the first year,” lasted for three days and was also like a harvest festival. The Native’s joined in too.

Conclusion

Plymouth Colony underwent some hardship but in 1623 they were in a good place. Eventually the Colony was absorbed by a neighbouring colony called Massachusetts Bay colony.

Elizabeth The 1st

Elizabeth 1st, was a very important figure in English history. She was queen of England from 1558-1603.

Early Life

Elizabeth was the daughter of Anne Boylan who was the second wife of Elizabeth’s father, King Henry the 8th, this meant she was a princess. She was born in Greenwich England, in September 7th, 1533.

 Her mother was charged with the crime of adultery from her father, and was executed, when Elizabeth was only two years old! These charges were probably false, since Henry was displeased with Anne since she did not bear him a son, for an heir .

After this, Elizabeth and her older half sister Mary (Mary was the daughter of Henry and his first wife),were announced as illegitimate children, and were cut off from the line of heirs to the English throne. This favored her younger half brother, Edward, who was the son of Henry and his third wife Jane Seymor.

Even though Elizabeth was considered an illegitimate child she still was raised quite well; she lived with a governess, and got a pretty good education, excelling in the music and language arts.

 After her father’s death in 1547, her younger brother Edward became King. Her brother’s time as King did not last for long; Edward had always been very weak in health, his bad health eventually caught up to him and he died in 1553. His death caused much political turmoil since Edward had left no heirs of his own but had chosen his cousin Lady Jane Grey, who was a devoted Protestant, instead of his oldest half sister Mary who was a devoted Catholic. This was because Edward was a Protestant, and he did not want Mary to rule since she would probably make England a Catholic nation.

But Mary soon gained popularity with the English people, and after only nine days of ruling Jane was unseated from the English throne and was thrown into prison, and Mary was crowned queen. This was not good for Elizabeth since she was a Protestant; to make matters worse for her, plans of a rebellion against Mary was uncovered in 1554. This plan contained details, that if the rebellion succeeded Elizabeth would be crowned queen. Right after this Elizabeth was thrown into prison, even though she denied that she had anything to do with this rebellion. And she was soon released, but she was never fully free because she was under close watch.

Her Time As Queen

In 1558 Mary died, leaving no heir of her own, Elizabeth became queen. In the beginning it was not exactly easy for Elizabeth, Mary had died when a lot of political and religious issues were going on, like a war between England and France, and the increasing tension between Protestants and Catholics.

Elizabeth took action right away on these issues, and these issues soon ended, but others arose throughout her reign such as the tension between Spain and England, and then there were attempts to remove her off the throne, the greatest effort to remove her came from Mary Queen of Scots, who was Elizabeth’s cousin. In 1567 in got so out of hand that Elizabeth had to imprison Mary. Mary was executed in 1587 for treason.

Even with all these issues during her reign she proved to be a very good and just ruler, and stood strong against many suitors. She was never married and is often referred to as the “virgin queen”.

Later Years And Death

Near the end of her reign and death, England was in troubled times, there were food shortages since the crops were failing in Ireland and many rebellions and riots. Her power began to fade, but she remained close and supportive to the citizens.

Elizabeth died on March 24th, 1603.

Legacy 

Elizabeth was remembered well even though the end of her reign was not exactly the best; she was a stable ruler most of her long reign, and was a great problem solver. Her reign is often said to have been the “Golden Age”, since creativity and art bloomed thanks to her.

Lady Jane Grey

Lady Jane Grey is a mostly forgotten figure in history, but she was queen of England in the 16th century after Edward the 6th, for a very short time.

Early Life

Jane was born in Leicestershire England in 1537, Henry Grey, who was marquess of Dorset, but later on the Duke of Suffolk, and Lady Frances Brandon, who was the daughter of Princess Mary of England,  and sister of Henry the 8th. This meant that Jane was in the line of succession to the English throne, rather distantly.

She received a great education during her childhood, and learned about the Protestant faith, she soon was a committed Protestant.

She married quite young to Lord Guildford Dudley.

Crowning

Edward the 6th, who was King at the time had always had been very weak in health, and he became ill, so he had to choose an heir, since he had no children, it was assumed that he would choose his eldest sister Mary, but instead he chose Jane because she was a Protestant this was because Edward was a protestant and he did not want Mary to make England a Catholic nation again.

Four days after Edward died, Jane became queen of England in July 10th, 1553.

Time as Queen

Jane was queen for a very short time nine days to be exact! 

This was because Mary, Edward’s sister had gained support to claim the throne, since Jane had lost most of her support, and in July 19th, Mary was declared Queen of England.

Death

Jane was thrown into prison, and was executed in February 12th, 1554 along with her husband, for high treason.

Protestant Reformation Summary

The Catholic church controlled europe for many years until the 16th century, when some men discovered the false teachings of the Catholic church, and decided not to let it go on but instead to stand up and fight against it, and make a change.

The Beginning

Some people before the actual reformation started noticed the false teachings of the Catholic church but never really took action. This went on for some time until 1517, when a man named Martin Luthur published the ninety-five theses of the issues of the church, on a church door in Wittenberg, Germany. This was the jump start of this movement.

The Reformation Spread

Many people were very interested and moved by Luthur’s teachings, and began following his belief, soon the reformation had spread all over Germany, the reformation kept growing bigger and spread to different countries all over Europe, these countries included France, England, Italy, Poland, and etc.

The Beliefs

The reformers beliefs were put together into five latin phrases.

  1. Sola Scriptura- ‘Scripture Alone’
  2. Sola Fide- ‘Faith Alone’
  3. Sola Gratia- ‘Grace Alone’
  4. Sola Christus -’Through Christ Alone’
  5. Sola Deo gloria-’To God Alone Be The Glory’

The Reaction From the Catholics

The Catholics of course were not very pleased with this movement, so they tried to hire people to get rid of the reformers. This did not work since the reformers were strong in their belief, and did not give up.

The End

The end of the reformation in 1648 after a peace treaty.


Gerhard Groote

Most of you probably have never heard of the name Gerhard Groote, but now you will know. He was an early Protestant reformer before Martin Luther.

Early Life

Groote was born in the Netherlands in 1340 to a wealthy family. When he was only ten years old the black plague swept over his small town, killing many people including his parents. After his parents’ death he inherited all of his father’s wealth.

 He was very wealthy at a very young age. These riches made him grow up into a spoiled brattish young man, he wasted his life and wealth on partying and traveling. But he was very educated since he went to the best schools.

His Conversion to Christanity

Groote changed through; during one of his travels he came across an Augustinian Monk, who was preaching the bible. He stopped and listened to the preaching and his life was changed forever. He converted to Christianity that very day. His change of character from the spoiled rich guy to a man of faith was quite remarkable.

After his Conversion

He went home, and began reading through his huge library. For months he read these books extensively, doing nothing except reading. He tried to go to church many times but was disgusted by all the misteachings, heresy, and over, all corruption of the church, so he decided to stay at home and plunge into the work of God that way.

His Schools and Preaching

Around the time of his conversion, the black plague spread through his town again, he luckily did not become ill. He noticed the many now parentless boys on the streets in his town; he wanted to help them. He brought several of these boys to his home, and gave them food, water, and a roof over their heads, while doing this he kept them busy by teaching them how to read, write, and taught them the Gospel. 

Groote bought the house next door, and turned that into a similar school but for girls, he taught them the same way he did with the boys.

His schools were known as great schools of learning. Thanks to his wealth he was able to start several more schools, like his first two, he got some of his first students to help him run the new schools, he was never short of teachers because of this. His schools were somewhat unnoticed.

This is because many other events such as the Hundred Years War were going on during this time, the schools were just know, as places of learning for orphaned children

He began preaching, and traveled, gaining a large number of followers.

Death

Another wave of the Black Plague went through his town again in 1384. Groote wasn’t so lucky this time and died from the illness.

After Death

Groot’s schools did not disappear right after his death, thanks to his mission, his schools lasted for another hundred and fifty years, thanks to his system, where the older students would teach the new group of students.

Many of his students became future reformers. Men such as Martin Luther, Thomas a Kempis, Martin Bucier, Ulrich Zwingli, John Knox,  and John Calvin all went to Groot’s schools.


John Cabot


John Cabot was the first European explorer to visit the mainland of North America after the Vikings. I will be summarizing his life.

Early Life

Cabot was born in 1450 in Italy; he was the son of a spice merchant, and grew up with Italian sea men, so he learned navigation and sailing at a young age when he was in Venice

He married at twenty four, and had three boys. He became a citizen of Venice in 1476, but moved to England in 1488, apparently because he had some issues with money, and was being chased.

Cabot was very interested by expeditions and voyages of early explorers who had gotten sudden riches, such as Christopher Columbus. He wanted to go exploring too, to gain wealth.

Expeditions 

He met up with King Henry the 7th of England (who funded his voyage), who gave him permission to seek out and discover some new lands for England to colonize. In 1479 Cabot set out for his first voyage, on a ship called the Matthew.

Fifty days on sea they landed in North America on the now Canadian province of Newfoundland; Cabot like Columbus thought he had landed in Asia; he then claimed this new land for England.

He sailed back to England and made another journey the following year. This journey was somewhat of a mystery since his entire fleet of five ships and three hundred men disappeared, including himself. Know one knows what happened on that expedition.

Conclusion  

Even though Cabot did not have a lot of time to explore thanks to his disappearance, he still gave England a claim to the New World.