Sunday, June 6, 2010

Is Plymouth Rock Real?

plymouth rockPlymouth Rock is where America was first permanently settled... but is Plymouth Rock real? Since there is no account by the Pilgrims that they landed on any sort of rock, how do we know that Plymouth Rock is actually what is claimed? What is claimed is that the Mayflower Pilgrims first stepped foot upon a rock in Plymouth Harbor. So who claimed the Pilgrims stepped foot onto a rock? The exact location of the rock was passed down from generation to generation, with 94 year old Thomas Faunce pointing out what is today "Plymouth Rock." It's the first piece of solid rock that the Pilgrims stepped foot on... in Plymouth, Massachusetts, that is.

Let's first examine the facts:

* The Pilgrims landed in Provincetown, MA first. That means Cape Cod is truly the birthplace of America in a way, not Plymouth. Plymouth just got more hype because that's where they settled.

* There are no written records by the Pilgrims of stepping foot on a rock in Plymouth.

* The rock was not identified by an actual Pilgrim, but by a descendant named Thomas Faunce. Faunce claimed that many respected Pilgrims showed him the location of the rock. It is upon his story that Plymouth Rock became the landmark that it is today.

* The rock has been split, chipped, and moved. Before the rock was enclosed, tourists would carve pieces of the rock off. Some have even appeared on Ebay (though who knows if they're real or not).

* The rock's location today is not where it was originally. It has been moved several times since, until its present location along the waterfront in the enclosure, right on Plymouth Bay.

* Plymouth Rock is a massive tourist attraction for the town of Plymouth. Whether or not it is the real deal, it remains a national symbol from which the United States was derived.

What do you think about Plymouth Rock? Do you think it's the actual rock the Pilgrims landed upon, or was it a legend that was made reality? I'd like to hear your comments below.

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