In September 1620, the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, and set sail for a colony in Virginia. Two months later, treacherous waters forced the Mayflower to land at Cape Cod. On Nov. 11, 1620, the Mayflower first anchored off Provincetown, where the Mayflower Compact was signed. After exploring for a month, the Pilgrims moved north to settle Plymouth, at which time oral history suggests they first stepped on Plymouth Rock.

Exact Date Unknown

The first pilgrims arrived via shallop in Plymouth Harbor on Dec. 8, 1620. These were a few men who explored the region. The entire Mayflower arrived in Plymouth Harbor on Dec. 16. When the Mayflower and its Pilgrims arrived at the actual Plymouth Rock, however, is a mystery. No documents from the time recorded the existence of the rock. The story of it was transmitted by word of mouth, and it was not until the 18th century that the rock became part of the popular understanding of the Mayflower's landing.