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We Fed the Pilgrims MFS Summer Lecture Series

Wednesday July 12, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

We Fed the Pilgrims:  Early European Settlement of New England

Mike Dekker

During the last half of the 16th century, a huge cod fishing industry was created in the Grand Banks east of Newfoundland. Most of the fishing crews came over seasonally. At the beginning of the 17th century this industry was expanding along the Nova Scotia and Maine coast. The cod season here was earlier than in the Grand Banks. By 1610 many English crews were coming yearly to fish and sold most of these fish to Catholic Europe. By 1620 there were permanent year-round settlements on islands in the Gulf of Maine. In 1623, the pilgrims in New Plymouth sent ships to these settlements to buy fish.

Throughout the colonial period, the export of dried and salted fish, especially cod, was the primary driver of the New England economy. The Atlantic fishery was of such economic importance that it figured heavily in war, peace, and diplomacy. However, despite the seemingly unlimited supply of cod as seen by the colonial settlers, the industry now is near collapse from overfishing and climate change.

Growing up and residing in Mid Coast Maine, Mike Dekker has developed a life-long passion for the region’s past. An avid student of early American history and material culture, he presents educational programs for historical societies, museums, historic sites, schools, and the public. Mike is the author of the book The French and Indian Wars In Maine, which uncovers the tragic and largely forgotten story of the six wars which ravaged Maine between 1675 and 1760. In 2017 Mike participated in an international conference hosted by the Maine Ulster Scots Project and the Ulster-Scots Agency dedicated to the history and culture of the Scots-Irish. The paper Mike presented at the conference, Resistance and Reprisal: The Scots-Irish of Mid-Coast Maine During the French and Indian War has been published in the book 1718-2018 Reflections on 300 Years of the Scots Irish in Maine.

This is the fifth of eight in our 2023 Summer Lecture Series. This year’s lectures will be held on Wednesday evenings. The lectures will be held at the Bath Freight Shed and via Zoom.  FMI


Wednesday July 12, 2023
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Maine’s First Ship
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Bath Freight Shed
27 Commercial Street
Bath, ME 04530 United States
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