Mayflower, ship

Mayflower, ship that in 1620 brought the Pilgrims from England to New England. She set out from Southampton in company with the Speedwell, the vessel that had borne some of the English separatists from the Netherlands back to England for the momentous voyage. However, the Speedwell proved unseaworthy, and the ships put back to Plymouth, where the Mayflower took on some of the smaller ship's passengers and supplies. The Mayflower, under the captaincy of Christopher Jones, then set sail alone on Sept. 16. After a two-month voyage the ship sighted land (Cape Cod) on Nov. 19. Some time was spent in selecting a suitable place for the colony, and on Dec. 26 the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth. Before landing, an agreement for the temporary government of the colony by the will of the majority was drawn up in the famous Mayflower Compact. Much effort has been spent on the identification of the Mayflower. It is known that she was a wineship, of 180 tons burden, and presumed that she was of a type commonly used in that period. In 1957 a British group sponsored the voyage of a replica of the original Mayflower from Plymouth, England, to Plymouth, Mass. The vessel was given to the United States as an expression of international goodwill and remains on exhibit at Plymouth, Mass.

See studies by W. Charlton (1957), C. Gill (1970), and N. Philbrick (2006).

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