1 Uninc. town (1990 pop. 45,608), seat of Plymouth co., SE Mass., on Plymouth Bay; founded 1620. Diverse light manufacturing is important to the economy. The town, with summer resort facilities and major historic attractions, has a large tourist industry. Its harbor, now used by fishing boats and leisure craft, was the scene of the famous landing by the Pilgrims in 1620, and Plymouth was the first permanent European settlement in New England (see Pilgrims; Plymouth Colony). Most famous of its many monuments is Plymouth Rock, returned to its original site in 1880; according to legend, the Pilgrims stepped on this boulder, now much diminished by souvenir takers, when disembarking from the Mayflower. The Mayflower II, a replica of the original ship, is moored there. The sites of the first houses are marked by tablets on Leyden St., the first street laid out by the Pilgrims. A number of 17th-century houses on nearby streets are maintained as museums. Cole's Hill and Burial Hill contain graves of many of the first settlers, and Pilgrim Hall has numerous valuable relics. Near the site of the original village is the 80-ft (24-m) granite National Monument to the Forefathers (1889). Nearby Plimoth Plantation is a re-creation of the early settlement and also Wampanoag homes. The town also has a wax museum and a marine museum and aquarium. Myles Standish State Forest is to the south.
See E. A. Stratton, Plymouth Colony (1987).
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