History Lessons: Apply local knowledge - The Pilgrim Fathers

England in the early 17th century was no place for religious non-conformists.

The Protestant Restoration had made life difficult for anyone not keen on the Church of England, causing a steady trickle of dissenters to head overseas for the Puritan lifestyle they craved. A small group of 'separationists' sailed for the New World in 1620, dreaming of a clean start. Landing in Virginia, they founded their first settlement, Plymouth. Not knowing their new homeland, they built a European town, and within three months half of them were dead - due to the 'foulness' of the local winter and their inadequate housing. That might have been that had it not been for Squanto, a Native American who introduced the settlers to maize and taught them to farm like locals. Their settlement was the second in what was to become the United States, and its founders' pluckiness became part of American lore. Exploring new territories in business can be as precarious, if you don't use local knowledge.

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