In 1630 John Winthrop sailed on the Arbella in a fleet of eleven ships with approximately 750 people, including shareholders of the Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay in New England, who brought with them the original charter of Massachusetts secured from King Charles I in 1629. The charter granted governance over the land between the Charles and the Merrimack Rivers (land north of the Plymouth Bay Colony). Power was invested in a governor, a court of assistants, freemen who were the first stockholders, and later, larger landowners. Representatives of these groups constituted the first General Court.
John Winthrop is greeted in Salem by John Endecott who had arrived with other settlers five years earlier, and had served as governor until Winthrop's election.