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             The Massachusetts area was first permanently settled by a group of separatists from the Church of England known as the Pilgrims. This group was composed of Puritans and other exiles, seeking to flee from religious persecution in their homeland of England. The first move they made was to the city of Leiden in the Netherlands where there was the freedom of worship but, the Pilgrims did not want to stay long, for fear that their children would grow to accept the Dutch culture and not recognize their English heritage. After many years spent in Holland, contacts of the Pilgrims in England arranged an agreement with the Virginia Company that would allow the Pilgrims to obtain land in the new world to settle. However, stated in this agreement, the Pilgrims, who would found what was known as the Plymouth Colony, were indentured into service for the Virginia Co. for seven years.
             To prepare for their voyage to the new world, the Pilgrims sought investors to put forth the finances for the trip. Also, they received council from people who had already been to the new world. Among these people, was Capt. John Smith who played a significant role in the colonial settlement of Jamestown, Virginia. .
             The Pilgrims embarked on their journey from Plymouth, England on September the 16, 1620. The vessel that they crossed the Atlantic Ocean, which was overcrowded with roughly one hundred and two colonists, was called the "Mayflower". Traversing the sea was a rough sixty-six day trip but the group finally arrived in the Massachusetts area on November 21, 1620 and set anchor off the tip of Cape Cod. Before the settlers set foot on shore, it was decided that the colony must have order if they intended to survive. So, all the men signed a document called the "Mayflower Compact", which laid down the rules of the colony. A man named William .
             Bradford was elected as the governor. The "Mayflower Compact" served as the official constitution of the Plymouth Colony for many years.

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