What was the Mayflower?


The Mayflower is a very famous ship.

Hundreds of years ago, in the year 1620, people from England (Pilgrims) sailed to America on the Mayflower to start a new life. It took them sixty-six days (from September 16 until November 21) to cross the ocean between Europe and America. That's a very long time! Can you imagine being on a boat in bad weather for over two months, without even knowing what your new country would look like? Because they thought the Americas would be a much better place to live, they bravely took on the journey! They finally landed near what is now Cape Cod in November, just as winter was getting started.

The Pilgrims had a very difficult first winter it was too cold when they arrived to build proper housing, so they spent that winter living on the ship! They also didn't know how to farm the land or what to eat. It was because of the help of the local Native American people that they were able to be more prepared the next year and survive.

(by Brian Griffith)

Further Information

Though the Pilgrims landed in what is now Cape Cod, that wasn't their intended destination! They were actually sailing for the British colony of Virginia, meaning to end up closer to what is now New York state's Hudson River Valley, but bad weather forced them off course. The Pilgrims' journey to America was originally supposed to take place on two ships, the Mayflower and the Speedwell, but the Speedwell turned out to be too unsafe for the long trip over the open ocean; after having to return to port twice for repairs, it was decided that the Mayflower was better off going over alone. Historians estimate that, like other cargo ships of the day, the Mayflower was 90-110 feet long, 25 feet wide, and weighed over 180 tons "" that wasn't a lot of space for the 102 passengers (plus crew) to share!