The earliest pilgrims to America were called "Puritans" because they hoped to restore Christianity to its "ancient purity". The Puritans, originated in England in the early 1500's, rejected grand churches with towering domes. They believed in a simple life and in the power of prayer. Eventually, they gained control over the Church of England. The success of the Puritan movement angered some Puritans who held strict Christian beliefs. Some broke away from the main group of Puritans, and were called "Separatists". One group of Separatists rose in the village of Scrooby, England. Wanting religious freedom, they moved to Holland in 1608. After many years, the Scrooby Separatists grew tired of Holland and decided to move on, this time to America. The vast, adventurous land was exiting to Britain. Twice in the late 1500's, England had tried to make colonies on the Roanoke Island off the coast of present day North Carolina. The first successful colony began in 1607, when a band of one hundred colonists, led by Captain John Smith, founded Jamestown which is now in Virginia.
A "Pilgrim" is a person who goes on a journey for religious purposes. History has called the Scrooby Separatists pilgrims because they journeyed to America to worship as they pleased.
In England, the pilgrims were met by another group who hoped to go to America also. They, however, did not go for religious purposes. They were mostly farmers and tradesmen. The pilgrims were displeased and called the new addition of people the "Strangers", and referred to themselves as the "Saints". They boarded two ships, but one leaked so badly, it had to be left behind in Plymouth, England. The party of 102 passengers boarded the Mayflower and started to the new world.