The first Europeans to establish permanent settlements in New England were English. They were predominantly from a group known as Puritans, because of their religious views: In the tradition of John Calvin, they wanted more pure-that is, biblically based-religious practices than they found in the Church of England.
Many of the Puritans fled religious persecution in England to settle elsewhere so that they could practice Christianity as they saw fit. In America, the churches that they founded came to be known as Congregational churches. These were independent congregations, each striving to follow the Christian teachings as set forth in the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments.