Thomas and the Dorchester crew were at Cape Ann in 1624
1 for the purpose of establishing a colony. Other than commerce, there were several reasons for leaving England.2 After the 1492 voyage of Columbus, exploration of the east coast had continued without stop. English ships traveled up and down the coast, mapped the area, looked for spots to fish or to settle. John Cabot's3 explorations for the English is an example. Cape Cod was visited and named as early as 1606 because of the plentiful fish found in the region. Settlement attempts were made at several points, from Maine (Popham Colony) down, with Virginia being a well-known survivor. Jamestown was founded in 1607. While Newfoundland found success very early, in 1588, there were other attempts. The effort at Roanoke Colony (North Carolina) ended in tragedy in the 1580s.     

1. See Cape Ann retrospective
2. See Plus or minus the arrival
3. See Gardner's Beacon, Vol. III, No. 1

Contributor: Gardner Research