The History of the Mayflower

The Pilgrim’s Voyage

The History of the Mayflower

We all know the name of the ship that carried the citizens of Plymouth Colony to Massachusetts in 1620, but the history is less known. The Mayflower was a Dutch fluyt cargo ship designed to hold a large amount of cargo. She was roughly 100 ft long and could carry almost 200 tons. Captain Christopher Jones chartered the Mayflower early in her career to carry cargo between England and Norway. Jones transported cargo such as wine, wool, hemp, and hops.

The Journey

In 1620, exiled Protestants from Europe hired Captain Jones to sail them to America in a momentous trans-Atlantic journey. The Mayflower would be their ticket to religious freedom in the new world. Originally planning to use two ships, the Mayflower and the Speedwell, the latter springing multiple leaks at the start of the voyage, leaving the Mayflower the only vessel to make the journey. After the failed first attempt with the Speedwell, the Mayflower set sail in early September of 1620. The overcrowded ship made the strenuous 10 weeks at sea, the 132 passengers and crew onboard reached the shores of Cape Cod, Massachusetts 66 days later in November of 1620.

Out of all the voyages to the American colonies from 1620 to 1640, the Mayflower‘s first crossing of Pilgrim Fathers has become the most culturally iconic and important in the history of migration from Europe to the New World during the Age of Discovery.[5]

Richard bevan, history Channel: Sky History

Pilgrims used the ship as shelter during the harsh winter following their arrival. Diseases such as scurvy, pneumonia, and tuberculosis ravaged the settlers, and only 53 survived of the 132. the Mayflower would sail back to England in April 1621 once they were able to establish a settlement. After Captain Jones’ death in 1624, the Mayflower remained in waiting on the river Thames, until she was dismantled and sold for scrap. Her lumber was used to build barns in a village near Oxford, which still stands today.

Read more on the history of the Mayflower here.

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