September 16th 1620- Mayflower departs England.
"The Mayflower sails from Plymouth, England, bound for the New World with 102 passengers. The ship was headed for Virginia, where the colonists—half religious dissenters and half entrepreneurs—had been authorized to settle by the British crown. However, stormy weather and navigational errors forced the Mayflower off course, and on November 21 the "Pilgrims" reached Massachusetts, where they founded the first permanent European settlement in New England in late December.
Thirty-five of the Pilgrims were members of the radical English Separatist Church, who traveled to America to escape the jurisdiction of the Church of England, which they found corrupt. Ten years earlier, English persecution had led a group of Separatists to flee to Holland in search of religious freedom. However, many were dissatisfied with economic opportunities in the Netherlands, and under the direction of William Bradford they decided to immigrate to Virginia, where an English colony had been founded at Jamestown in 1607.
The Separatists won financial backing from a group of investors called the London Adventurers, who were promised a sizable share of the colony’s profits. Three dozen church members made their way back to England, where they were joined by about 70 entrepreneurs—enlisted by the London stock company to ensure the success of the enterprise. In August 1620, the Mayflower left Southampton with a smaller vessel—the Speedwell—but the latter proved unseaworthy and twice was forced to return to port. On September 16, the Mayflower left for America alone from Plymouth.
In a difficult Atlantic crossing, the 90-foot Mayflower encountered rough seas and storms and was blown more than 500 miles off course. Along the way, the settlers formulated and signed the Mayflower Compact, an agreement that bound the signatories into a “civil body politic.” Because it established constitutional law and the rule of the majority, the compact is regarded as an important precursor to American democracy. After a 66-day voyage, the ship landed on November 21 on the tip of Cape Cod at what is now Provincetown, Massachusetts.”
This week in history:
- September 15th 1821 - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua gain independence.
- September 16th 1630 - The Massachusetts village of Shawmut changes its name to Boston.
- September 17th 1849 - Harriet Tubman 1st escapes slavery in Maryland with two of her brothers.
- September 18th 1850 - Congress passes the Fugitive Slave Act as a part of the Compromise of 1850.
- September 19th 1893 - New Zealand is the first country to gain women suffrage.
This commemorative envelope of the Mayflower can be seen at the Hoboken Historical Museum.
September 9 1776- Congress renames the nation “United States of America”.
"On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress formally declares the name of the new nation to be the "United States" of America. This replaced the term "United Colonies," which had been in general use.
In the Congressional declaration dated September 9, 1776, the delegates wrote, “That in all continental commissions, and other instruments, where, heretofore, the words ‘United Colonies’ have been used, the stile be altered for the future to the “United States.”
A resolution by Richard Henry Lee, which had been presented to Congress on June 7 and approved on July 2, 1776, issued the resolve, “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States….” As a result, John Adams thought July 2 would be celebrated as “the most memorable epoch in the history of America.” Instead, the day has been largely forgotten in favor of July 4, when Jefferson’s edited Declaration of Independence was adopted. That document also states, “That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES.” However, Lee began with the line, while Jefferson saved it for the middle of his closing paragraph.
By September, the Declaration of Independence had been drafted, signed, printed and sent to Great Britain. What Congress had declared to be true on paper in July was clearly the case in practice, as Patriot blood was spilled against the British on the battlefields of Boston, Montreal, Quebec and New York. Congress had created a country from a cluster of colonies and the nation’s new name reflected that reality.”
This week in history:
- September 8th 1892 - 1st appearance of “Pledge of Allegiance”.
- September 9th 1543 - Mary Stuart, at nine months old, is crowned “Queen of Scots” in the central Scottish town of Stirling.
- September 10th 1608 - John Smith elected president of Jamestown, Virginia colony council.
- September 11th 1959 - Congress passes a bill authorizing food stamps for poor Americans.
- September 12th 1940 - 4 teens, following their dog down a hole near Lascaux, France discover 17,000-year-old drawings now known as Lascaux Cave Paintings.
This item is a replica of an early American flag featuring thirteen stars and thirteen stripes. It can be viewed at the Oak Lawn Public Library.