The Council of New England
The Council of New England was established on this day four hundred years ago (3 November 620, o.s.), and was disbanded (although with no apparent changes in land titles) in 1635. It provided for the establishment of the Plymouth Colony, the Colony (and eventually the State) of New Hampshire, the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the New Haven Colony, and the eventual State of Maine. It was largely the creation of Sir Ferdinando Gorges. Some of the persons involved had previously received a charter in 1606 as the Plymouth Company and had founded the short-lived Popham Colony within the territory of northern "Virginia" (in present-day Maine). The company had fallen into disuse following the abandonment of the 1607 colony. In the new 1620 charter granted by James I, the company was given rights of settlement in the area now designated as New England, which was the land previously part of the Virginia Colony north of the 40th parallel, and extending to the 48th parallel. The Council would have full legal rights of governance and administration over the colonial plantation, and the members of the Council would elect a President to oversee administrative affairs. Although this explicitly covered the land that the Pilgrims would eventually land on and settle, they were ignorant of this grant because they had been at sea for more than two months when the charter was issued. They only found out about it when the Fortune arrived in November 1621, over a year from now.