The Mayflower landed this day in history, in 1620. Here’s the story.
The Mayflower was the ship that transported English separatists, known today as Pilgrims, from Plymouth in England to the New World. There were 102 passengers, and the crew is estimated to have been about 30, but the exact number is unknown. This voyage has become an iconic story in some of the earliest annals of American history, with its story of death and of survival in the harsh New England winter environment. The culmination of the voyage in the signing of the Mayflower Compact is an event which established a rudimentary form of democracy, with each member contributing to the welfare of the community.
The Mayflower first anchored in what would become the harbor of Provincetown, Massachusetts on November 11, 1620. The ship was headed for Virginia, but eventually reached New England. There are varying theories as to how this happened. They include: violent storms threw the ship off course; a navigation error; the Dutch bribed the captain to sail north so the Pilgrims would not settle near New Amsterdam; and the Pilgrims on the Mayflower, who comprised only 35 of the 102 settlers aboard the Mayflower, hijacked the ship to land far from Anglican control.
The Pilgrim settlers, realizing that the party did not have a patent to settle in the region, subsequently signed the Mayflower Compact. The Pilgrims went on to explore various parts of Cape Cod, but soon a storm and violent fights with local Native Americans forced the migrants to sail westward into Cape Cod Bay.
The Pilgrims eventually came across the sheltered waters of Plymouth Harbor on December 17. The appealing protected bay led to a site at the present-day Harbor District being chosen for the new settlement after three days of surveying.
Why do we share all of this? One reason. We need to be reminded of our history, and the amazing set of circumstances that led to this becoming the most amazing country in the history of the world.
It all began on this day in history – 1620.
We thought you should know.