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Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor by William Halsall (1882)
Name: Mayflower
General characteristics
Tonnage: 180
Crew: 25–30

The Mayflower was the ship that transported the English Separatists, better known as the Pilgrims, from Plymouth, England, to Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States (which would become the capital of Plymouth Colony), in 1620.[1] There were 102 passengers and a crew of 25–30.

The vessel left England on September 6, 1620 (Old Style)/September 16 (New Style),[2] and after a grueling 66-day journey marked by disease, which claimed two lives, the ship dropped anchor inside the hook tip of Cape Cod (Provincetown Harbor) on November 11/November 21.[1] The Mayflower was originally destined for the mouth of the Hudson River, near present-day New York City, at the northern edge of England's Virginia colony, which itself was established with the 1607 Jamestown Settlement.[3] However, the Mayflower went off course as the winter approached, and remained in Cape Cod Bay. On March 21/31, 1621, all surviving passengers, who had inhabited the ship during the winter, moved ashore at Plymouth, and on April 5/15, the Mayflower, a privately commissioned vessel, returned to England.[1] In 1623, a year after the death of captain Christopher Jones, the Mayflower was most likely dismantled for scrap lumber in Rotherhithe, London.[4]

The Mayflower has a famous place in American history as a symbol of early European colonization of the future US. With their religion oppressed by the English Church and government,[5] the small party of religious Puritan separatists who comprised about half of the passengers on the ship desired a life where they could practice their religion freely. This symbol of religious freedom resonates in US society and the story of the Mayflower is a staple of any American history textbook. Americans whose roots are traceable back to New England often believe themselves to be descended from Mayflower passengers.

The main record for the voyage of the Mayflower and the disposition of the Plymouth Colony comes from William Bradford who was a guiding force and later the governor of the colony.

Mayflower arrived inside the tip of Cape Cod fishhook, 11 November/21 November 1620 (satellite photo, 1997)



The Mayflower was used primarily as a cargo ship, involved in active trade of goods (often wine) between England and other European countries,[6][7] (principally France, but also Norway, Germany, and Spain). At least between 1609 and 1622, it was mastered by Christopher Jones, who would command the ship on the famous transatlantic voyage, and based in Rotherhithe, London, England.[1] After the famous voyage of the Mayflower, the ship returned to England, likely dismantled for scrap lumber in Rotherhithe in 1623, only a year after Jones's death in March 1622. The Mayflower Barn, just outside the Quaker village of Jordans, in Buckinghamshire, England, is said to be built from these timbers, but this is likely apocryphal.[8]

Details of the ship's dimensions are unknown, but estimates based on its load weight and the typical size of 180-ton merchant ships of its day suggest an estimated length of 90–110 feet (27.4–33.5 m) and a width of about 25 feet (7.6 m).[6]

The ship had a crew of twenty-five to thirty,[7] along with other hired personnel; however, the names of only five are known, including John Alden.[7] William Bradford, who penned our only account of the Mayflower voyage, wrote that John Alden "was hired for a cooper [barrel-maker], at South-Hampton, where the ship victuled; and being a hopefull yong man, was much desired, but left to his owne liking to go or stay when he came here; but he stayed, and maryed here."[9]

Pilgrims' voyage

The Mayflower Memorial in Southampton.

Initially, the plan was for the voyage to be made in two vessels, the other being the smaller Speedwell, which had transported some of the Pilgrims embarking on the voyage from Delfshaven in the Netherlands to Southampton, England.

The first voyage of the ships departed Southampton,[10] on August 5/15, 1620, but the Speedwell developed a leak, and had to be refitted at Dartmouth on August 17/27.

On the second attempt, the ships reached the Atlantic Ocean but again were forced to return to Plymouth because of the Speedwell's leak. It would later be revealed that there was in fact nothing wrong with the Speedwell. The Pilgrims believed that the crew had, through aspects of refitting the ship, and their behavior in operating it, sabotaged the voyage in order to escape the year-long commitment of their contract.[11]

After reorganization, the final sixty-six day voyage was made by the Mayflower alone, leaving from a site near to the Mayflower Steps in Plymouth, England on September 6/16.[10] With 102 passengers plus crew, each family was allotted a very confined amount of space for personal belongings. The Mayflower stopped off at Newlyn in Cornwall to take on water.[12]

The intended destination was an area near the Hudson River, in "North Virginia". However the ship was forced far off-course by inclement weather and drifted well north of the intended Virginia settlement. As a result of the delay, the settlers did not arrive in Cape Cod until after the onset of a harsh New England winter. The settlers ultimately failed to reach Virginia where they had already obtained permission from the London Company to settle, due to difficulties navigating the treacherous waters off the southeast corner of Cape Cod.[13]

To establish legal order and to quell increasing strife within the ranks, the settlers wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact after the ship dropped anchor at the tip of Cape Cod on November 11/21, in what is now Provincetown Harbor.[1]

The settlers, upon initially setting anchor, explored the snow-covered area and discovered an empty Native American village. The curious settlers dug up some artificially-made mounds, some of which stored corn while others were burial sites. The settlers stole the corn and looted and desecrated the graves,[14] sparking friction with the locals.[15] They moved down the coast to what is now Eastham, and explored the area of Cape Cod for several weeks, looting and stealing native stores as they went.[16] They decided to relocate to Plymouth after a difficult encounter with the local native Americans, the Nausets, at First Encounter Beach, in December 1620.

During the winter the passengers remained on board the Mayflower, suffering an outbreak of a contagious disease described as a mixture of scurvy, pneumonia and tuberculosis.[1] When it ended, there were only 53 passengers, just more than half, still alive. Likewise, half of the crew died as well.[1] In spring, they built huts ashore, and on March 21/31, 1621, the surviving passengers left the Mayflower.[1]

On April 5/15 , 1621, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth to return to England,[1] where she arrived on May 6/16 , 1621.[17]


The Mayflower left England with 102 passengers plus crew. One baby was born en route, and a second was born during the winter of 1620-1621, when the company wintered aboard ship in Provincetown Harbor. One child died during the voyage, and there was one stillbirth during the construction of the colony. Many of the passengers were Pilgrims fleeing persistent religious persecution, but some were hired hands, servants, or farmers recruited by London merchants for the originally intended destination in Virginia.[citation needed]

These were the earliest permanent European settlers in New England.

Second Mayflower

A second ship called the Mayflower made a voyage from London to Plymouth Colony in 1629 carrying thirty-five passengers, many from the Pilgrim congregation in Leiden that organized the first voyage. This was not the same ship that made the original voyage with the first settlers. This voyage began in May and reached Plymouth in August. This ship also made the crossing from England to America in 1630, 1633, 1634, and 1639. It attempted the trip again in 1641, departing London in October of that year under master John Cole, with 140 passengers bound for Virginia. It never arrived. On October 18, 1642 a deposition was made in England regarding the loss.[18]

Mayflower II

After World War II, an effort began to reenact the voyage of the Mayflower. With cooperation between Project Mayflower and Plimoth Plantation, an accurate replica of the original (designed by naval architect William A. Baker) was launched September 22, 1956 from Devon, England, and set sail in the spring of 1957. Captained by Alan Villiers, the voyage ended in Plymouth Harbor after 55 days on June 13, 1957 to great acclaim.

Mayflower II masts in the fog

The ship is moored to this day at State Pier in Plymouth, and is open to visitors.[19]

Popular culture

The Mayflower voyage and the ship became famous as an icon of a perilous one-way trip to a new life, with many things named for it:

  • The Mayflower is the emblem of the English football club Plymouth Argyle F.C., who are known as "The Pilgrims".
  • The Mayflower theatre in Southampton is named after the Mayflower ship.
  • Yes member Jon Anderson & Vangelis (as "Jon & Vangelis") made a song about the ship called "The Mayflower" released on their album The Friends of Mr. Cairo.
  • The space-shuttle parody in the movie Airplane II: The Sequel is called Mayflower One.
  • Mark Carew wrote a book titled Flight of the Mayflower where NASA builds an intergalactic space ship (named the Mayflower) to travel to a new world due to the fact that Earth has become a place where terror, geo-political shift, ecological crisis and nuclear war are pandemic.
  • Bob Dylan sang about the Mayflower in the opening lyrics of his song Bob Dylan's 115th Dream.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Moritz, Bjoern (2003). ""The Pilgrim-Fathers’ Voyage with the 'Mayflower'" (history)". 
  2. ^ As England used the Julian Calendar and mainland Europe used the modern Gregorian Calendar at this time, dates were frequently recorded in both calendars. Here we continue the practice to avoid confusion, listing the Old Style (Julian) date, followed by the New Style (Gregorian) date.
  3. ^ Bradford, William. "Of Plymouth Plantation". 
  4. ^ "Mayflower Ship Facts". Retrieved 2007-04-26. 
  5. ^ Philbrick, pp. 4-5
  6. ^ a b Philbrick, p. 24
  7. ^ a b c "Crew Genealogy". Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  8. ^ "The Mayflower after the Pilgrims". Retrieved 2008-09-25. 
  9. ^ ""John Alden" (history)". Pilgrim Hall Museum. 1998-07-14. Retrieved 2008-09-16. 
  10. ^ a b "Press Kit - Mayflower II" (with history of the Mayflower). Plimouth Plantation Museum. 2004. 
  11. ^ Usher, p. 67
  12. ^ "Plaque in Newlyn, Cornwall". Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  13. ^ Cheney, Glenn Alan (2007). Thanksgiving: The Pilgrims' First Year in America. New London Librarium. ISBN 978-0-9798039-0-1. 
  14. ^ Philbrick, pp. 61-62
  15. ^ Winslow, Edward; William Bradford (1622). A Relation or Journal of the Beginning and Proceeding of the English Plantation Settled at Plymouth. London, England: John Bellamie. pp. 8–10. 
  16. ^ Philbrick, pp. 65-70
  17. ^ "Saga Of The Pilgrims" (historical analysis), John Harris, Globe Newspaper Co., 1983, webpages (no links between): UCcom-saga1 and UCcom-saga11
  18. ^ Pierson, RichardE.; Pierson, Jennifer. Pierson Millennium. Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, Inc. ISBN 0-7884-0742-2. 
  19. ^ "Mayflower II Background Information". Retrieved 2008-09-24. 



  • Plymouth Adventure (directed by Clarence Brown, 1952)
  • Mayflower: The Pilgrims' Adventure (1979)

External links

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Mayflower Bocawina National Park article)

From Wikitravel

North America : Central America : Belize : Stann Creek : Mayflower Bocawina National Park

Mayflower Bocawina National Park is in Stann Creek, Belize.


This park, near Hopkins and Silk Creek, has some partially excavated Mayan ruins, a very small museum featuring information on the dig and local fauna and flora. There are several hiking trails. The trail to Antelope falls is initially flat, and passes a large ruin that is mostly jungle-covered. As it nears the creek it becomes very steep. There are ropes in place at a few spots. The trail is subject to extreme erosion, but easy to see.

Established in 2001, the Park includes areas of Belize's FIRST protected area, the Silk Grass Forest Reserve. Mayflower national Park is co-managed by local stakeholders, Friends of Mayflower, the Conservation Division of Belize Forestry Department and assisted by the Archaeology Department.

The idea of making the area into a National Park first began with the Stann Creek Tour Guide Association. The District was desperate for destinations, besides the barrier reef and the dozens of small cayes off shore. The Association formed a steering committee, with members from other local stakeholder groups (Silk Grass Women's Group, the Maya Cultural Group) and other interested supporters.

The United Nations Development Programme/Global Environmental Fund gave the first financial assistance. These funds were used to host community meetings and form a basic development plan. The Steering Committee, along with the District's Women's Development Officer, trained 169 stakeholders in preparation for management. Funding for the 20 days training came from Belize's Basic Needs Trust Fund. Subject matter included Small Business Skills, Hospitality Management Skills, Handicraft Training and Conservation of Protected Areas.

Their mission was and is to "protect the bio-diversity of the area and to assist with the alievation of the poverty in the stakeholder base."

Since National Park declaration, Mayflower Bocawina National Park has successfully completed projects funded by UNDP/GEF, Ford Motor Company Foundation, Jaguar Fund, PACT (Protected Areas Conservation Trust) and BNTF.


The access road is located 5 1/2 miles down the Southern Highway. The gravel Mayflower Road leads 4 1/4 miles directly into the Park Plaza area. You may hike in, and almost anyone passing will pick you up.

Entrance Fee is $5 US per person, per day.


Things to do at the Park include wandering the Maya mounds, located in the area close to the Visitors Center. Birding in the plaza area, some of the best in Central America! Hiking the three accessable trails. The three trails radiate out from the plaza area and are easy, hard to not for the unfit! All trails end in beautiful waterfalls and pools for swimming.

Wardens are stationed in the area to register guests and advise them on trail conditions. NEVER leave the trails. Wildlife often seen are Black Howler Monkeys, Gibnut, and smaller cats in the late afternoon. Butterflies and moths are easy to spot.

Guests may camp in the Plaza area, with Warden's permission. $10 camp fee, no fires. Water from Silk Grass Creek (which runs through the Plaza area) is potable. There are small reptiles living in the creek.

  • Nanette Bemer, Mayflower Bocawina National Park, [1]. Mama serves vegan, vegetarian freshly cooked delcious meals within the park.  edit
  • Nanette Bemer, Mayflower Bocawina National Park (Mayflower Camp), 501-670-8019, [2].  edit


Mama Noots Backabush Nature Resort is located within the boundaries of the Mayflower Bocawina National Park.

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Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also mayflower


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Proper noun




  1. (nautical) A historical ship that transported the Pilgrims to America in the year 1620

Simple English


The Mayflower was the famous ship that transported the English Pilgrims, from Southampton, England, to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620.[1]



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