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Habitats of the Pilgrims and Wampanoag People in 1620s

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Amy and I love to travel, explore and learn about new places.  People have been drawn to wild places and far off lands for a very long time.  This week paddled into Plymouth, Massachusetts.  In 1620, almost 400 years ago, a group of 102 settlers left England on a sailboat to start a new colony in the newly discovered land across the Atlantic Ocean.  Their boat was called the Mayflower and they are known as the Pilgrims.  The Pilgrims were planning to start a colony in Virginia, but a storm blew them off course. They first landed on Cape Cod and decided to start a new life and build a town about 25 miles away where they found fresh water and a good place to build their town.

North America was a new, wild land for the Pilgrims, but North America was already home to many groups of native people. The native people living around Cape Cod were the Wampanoag.  It is estimated that there were between 50,000 and 100,000 Wampanoag people living in 67 villages in the early 1600s.  The Wampanoag had been living there for thousands of years before the Pilgrims arrived and the food they ate, houses they lived in and tools they used were very different from the things the Pilgrims brought with them from England.

The Wampanoag and the Pilgrims were living in the same place, the same habitat, but they lived very differently.  We were able to visit Plimoth Plantation and learn about what it was like to live in Massachusetts in the 1620s.  It was very interesting to learn about how the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims lived.



This is the outside of a traditional Wampanoag house, called a wetuash. It is made out of a framework of cedar saplings and sheets of tree bark.



9_21_12insideWampanoagThis is the inside of a Wampanoag house.  There is a fire in the middle surrounded by beds covered in animal skins.



9_21_12PilgrimHouse This is a typical house that the Pilgrims would have lived in. It is a timber frame structure with wooden shingles and a thatch roof.


9_21_12insidePilgrimThis is the inside of a Pilgrim’s house. It includes several things that came from England. It is insulated with daub, which is a mixture of clay, earth and grass.


9_21_12WampanoagGarden This is a Wampanoag garden, full of corn, squash, beans, pumpkin, sunflowers and melon. They would also hunt and fish.


9_21_12PilgrimGarden This is a typical Pilgrim’s garden. Many of the plants were grown from seeds that were brought from England, like onion, lettuce, and wheat. Some of these plants didn’t grow well in the Massachusetts climate, so they grew some native plants like corn. They also raised cattle, goats and pigs.


Further Exploration and Sources

Interactive Thanksgiving activity:

Plimoth Plantation website:

Plymouth history:

Information about the Wampanoag people:

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