Feb 17, 1621 CE: Standish Elected in Plymouth

Feb 17, 1621 CE: Standish Elected in Plymouth

On February 17, 1621, Miles Standish was elected commander of the Pilgrim community in Plymouth, Massachusetts.


9 - 12


Geography, Human Geography, Physical Geography, Social Studies, U.S. History

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On February 17, 1621, Capt. Miles Standish was elected commander, or military leader, of the Pilgrim community in what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts. Standish would maintain this position for the rest of his life. Although Standish sailed over on the Mayflower with the Pilgrims, he was not one of them. The Pilgrims were a British religious group seeking freedom to worship, and they hired Standish as a military adviser before the Mayflower set sail. The Pilgrims originally wanted to hire John Smith, who had already explored the New World and helped establish the British colony in Jamestown, Virginia, but Smith was too expensive. Standish was an important part of the new colony. He signed the Mayflower Compact, one of the oldest documents outlining democratic law in what would become the United States, and organized defense against aggressive Native American groups, including the Massachusett and the Narragansett.

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National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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