On the 16th September 1620 (*6th September), the first Pilgrims set sail in “The Mayflower” from Plymouth, England to the New World. Carrying 102 persons in a ship probably measuring only 27 meters long, the voyage took 66 days to reach Cape Cod, at what is now Provincetown, Massachusetts on 21 November 1620 (* November 11). Where on board the ship the pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact, by which the signers agreed to follow laws for the “general good of the colony.” This was the first framework of government written and enacted in the territory that is now the U.S. A. The pilgrims finally reached their destination of Plymouth Massachusetts just after Christmas on the 26th (* 16th December), where they established their colony.
Were the Pilgrims the first settlers in America? They were the first Pilgrims to America, though not the first European settlers. The first permanent European settlement was in 1565 at a place called St Augustine, in present-day Florida, founded by the Spanish. The first English settlement was established in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, we have on the Embassy website from the 400th anniversary information on the settlement at Jamestown http://london.usembassy.gov/gb.html#jamestown
* During the time of the Mayflower, England and its colonies were using the Julian calendar which dates differ to the Gregorian calendar used today, it wasn’t until 1752 that Britain and its colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar.