The Great Migration may refer to the Winthrop Fleet of 1630; wherein 1,000 passengers migrated from England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in eleven ships. It may also refer more generally to the Puritan migration of approximately 70,000 refugees from England to what is now the Northeastern United States, the Chesapeake Bay area, and the Caribbean during the 1630s.

Many Puritans immigrated to North America in the 1620-1640s because they believed that the Church of England was beyond reform. However, most Puritans in both England and New England were non-separatists. They continued to profess their allegiance to the Church of England despite their dissent from Church leadership and practices.

Most of the Puritans who emigrated settled in the New England area. However, the Great Migration of Puritans was relatively short-lived and not as large as is often believed. It began in earnest in 1629 with the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and ended in 1642 with the start of the English Civil War when King Charles I effectively shut off emigration to the colonies. From 1629 through 1643 approximately 21,000 Puritans emigrated to New England. This is actually far less than the number of British citizens who emigrated to Ireland, Canada, and the Caribbean during this time.

Emigration resumed under the rule of Oliver Cromwell, but not in large numbers as there was no longer any need to "escape persecution" in England. In fact, many Puritans returned to England during the war.

Ships of the Great Migration Edit

See Winthrop Fleet for information about the eleven ships (and those on them) who came over between April and July 1630.

External Links Edit

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Sources Edit

  1. The Puritan Migration: Albion's Seed Sets Sail by Claire Hopley, HistoryNet. Accessed 3 July 2007.

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