Peter C. Mancall, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences The 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ voyage to Plymouth will be celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic with a “remembrance ceremony” with state and local officials and a museum exhibit in Plymouth, England. An autonomous marine research ship named “The Mayflower” has been equipped with an AI navigating system that will allow the ship to trace the course of the original journey without any humans on board. Yet as a scholar of early 17th-century New England, I’ve always been puzzled by the glory heaped on the Pilgrims and their settlement in Plymouth. Native Americans had met Europeans in scores of places before 1620, so yet another encounter was hardly unique.

 

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