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John Smith was one of the leaders of Jamestown, Virginia, the first English permanent settlement in North America, for nearly a year in 1608-1609, and probably the one who had done the most to ensure its survival. Severely injured by a gunpowder explosion in his canoe, he returned to England and wrote an account of the colony’s early history. In 1614 he recrossed the Atlantic and explored the coasts of Maine and Massachusetts; a map he published in 1616 was the first to contain the name "New-England" for the area. Meantime, in 1609, a group of religious dissidents (later called the Puritans) emigrated to the Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden (Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), which was governed by fellow Calvinists. In 1619 they obtained a land patent from the London Virginia Company which allowed them to resettle south of Cape Cod in Nieuw Nederland (New Netherland, the Dutch colony in North America, the future New York). Their ship, the “Mayflower,” left England in September 1620 with 102 passengers and about 30 crewmen. The group included the “Strangers,’ non-Calvinists recruited to provide technical expertise, such as the military leader Myles standish, and indentured servants. After a difficult 2-month crossing, they sighted land near cape Cod and decided to settle there. Smith had named the area of their new home "Accomack" but had renamed it New Plimouth, the second English settlement on the continent. In 1623, Emmanuel Altham visited the town and described it as “well situated upon a high hill close unto the seaside… In this plantation is about twenty houses, four or five of which are very fair and pleasant, and the rest (as time will serve) shall be made better. And this town is in such manner that it makes a great street between the houses, and at the upper end of the town there is a strong fort, both by nature and art, with six pieces of reasonable good artillery mounted thereon… This town is paled about with pale of eight foot long, or thereabouts, and in the pale are three great gates…” In 1691 the settlement merged with the larger Massachusetts Bay Colony centered on Boston to form the Province of Massachusetts Bay. In 1947 Henry Hornblower II established Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum to replicate the original settlement. In 1957 it acquired the “Mayflower II,” a full-scale reproduction with carefully chosen English oak timbers, hand-forged nails, hand-sewn linen canvas sails, hemp cordage, and the Stockholm tar used on 17th-century ships, and two years later it opened the 1624 English Village section which features historical interpreters who have been trained to speak, act, and dress appropriately for the period; they interact with their "strange visitors" in the first person, answering questions, discussing their lives and viewpoints, and participating in tasks such as cooking, planting, blacksmithing, or animal husbandry. In addition, third-person museum guides have been trained to answer inquiries that those in character are unable to answer in their roles. In 1973 the Wampanoag Homesite was established to replicate the lifestyle of the original inhabitants; it is “populated” by Native Americans from a variety of tribes.
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