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imageOn 16 September 1620, a merchant ship called the Mayflower sailed from England and made its way to the New World. How much do you know about the journey and the lives of those on board? BBC History Revealed shares five facts you might not know…


1
The Mayflower had design flaws

The design of the Mayflower, with high, wall-like sides, made it difficult to sail in the strong winds of the Atlantic. The crossing, therefore, took two months, but it could be done in half the time.

2
The conditions on board were extremely cramped

The voyage was supposed to be done by two vessels. The second, the Speedwell, was deemed to be unseaworthy, however, so the passengers were crammed onto the Mayflower. As well as the 130-odd people squeezed on board, there were food stores, tools, weapons (including cannon) and live animals, such as sheep, goats, chickens and dogs.

3
There were births and deaths on the Mayflower

During the crossing, one passenger died and one woman, Elizabeth Hopkins, gave birth to a child. The boy was aptly named Oceanus.

4
It arrived at the beginning of a harsh winter

The Mayflower arrived at Cape Cod (in modern-day Massachusetts) on 9 November 1620 and if the voyage had been bad, that was nothing compared to the first winter that followed. Due to food shortages and outbreaks of disease, only half that had made the journey survived to see spring and the creation of their New World settlement, Plymouth.

5
The ‘Mayflower Compact’

While anchored at Cape Cod, 41 Pilgrims – worried that law and order would break down once ashore – signed an agreement on 11 November. The ‘Mayflower Compact’ created a “civil body politic” and was the United States’ first governing document

3 Answers

+3 votes
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I often wondered why the Pilgrims sailed at such an unpropitious time, into the teeth of a harsh winter.

Were the pressures to leave England at that particular moment so great? And did they not know of the extreme difficulties of the Jamestown settlement?

+2 votes
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I knew some of that, SFA, as I keep learning to see if I can figure out why the world is in today's quandary...and yes I am again amazed at their courage going into the unknown like they did -- "only half that had made the journey survived to see spring" -- that is a death rate comparable and maybe even greater to the Black Plague, which ravaged Europe in the 14th century and hit London again in 1665-66.

+2 votes
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Mayflower passenger Richard Warren, my 10th great grandfather. :)

Mayflower Pilgrims - Richard Warren on Pinterest | Mayflower ... | Richard  warren, Genealogy book, Genealogy help

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+1

Wow!  I'm glad he was one of the survivors of that first winter. :)

Do I detect a family resemblance?

EDIT: I looked up Richard Warren, and found this list of distinguished descendants:

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+1

Well, there is that unfortunate nose! :ermm: :D

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+2

Wow Jan!

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+1

I think the general structure of the face is there. :)

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