See Caleb Johnson's Mayflower Introduction Page (Official Site)
The Mayflower was the famous ship that transported the English Separatists, better known as the Pilgrims, from Southampton, England, to Plymouth, Massachusetts (which would become the capital of Plymouth Colony), in 1620. There were 102 passengers and a crew of 25-30.
The vessel left England on September 6 (Old Style)/September 16 (New Style), 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. 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. However, the Mayflower went off course as the winter approached, and remained in Cape Cod Bay. On March 21/28, 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. In 1623, a year after the death of captain Christopher Jones, the Mayflower was most likely dismantled for scrap lumber in Rotherhithe, London.
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, 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.
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