Standish, Myles or Miles (1584?–1656), the military leader of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony. Standish was born in Lancashire, England. A soldier of fortune, he was hired by a group of English Separatists to accompany them to America on the Mayflower in 1620. At Plymouth, he handled relations with the Indians and devised measures for defense. In England, 1625–26, he was successful in borrowing money for supplies but was unable to obtain land rights for the colonists. After his return, Standish was named an undertaker (trustee) of the colony; he continued to hold important posts the rest of his life. With John Alden, he founded Duxbury, Massachusetts, and settled there in 1632.
Longfellow's poem The Courtship of Miles Standish has no basis in fact.