Who were the
Puritans?

    The first Europeans to establish permanent settlements in New England were English. They were predominantly from a group known as Puritans, because of their religious views: In the tradition of John Calvin, they wanted more pure-that is, biblically based-religious practices than they found in the Church of England.

    Many of the Puritans fled religious persecution in England to settle elsewhere so that they could practice Christianity as they saw fit. In America, the churches that they founded came to be known as Congregational churches. These were independent congregations, each striving to follow the Christian teachings as set forth in the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments.  

Who were the
Pilgrims?

    The first of these English settlers to arrive in New England are known as the Pilgrims. They had a Puritan religious outlook, but were much readier to separate from the Church of England than were other Puritans. They immigrated first to the Netherlands, where they settled in the city of Leiden for several years, before making the trip to America in 1620. They planned to settle in northern Virginia but arrived far north of their intended destination, making them the first Europeans to establish permanent settlements in what came to be called New England.