06 September 2016
The Pilgrims sailed from Plymouth, England, on the Mayflower to settle in North America on 6 September 1620
On this day in history, 1620: The Pilgrims sail from Plymouth, England, on the Mayflower to settle in North America.
The Mayflower was the ship that transported the first English Separatists, known today as the Pilgrims, from Plymouth to the New World in 1620. There were 102 passengers, and the crew is estimated to have been about 30.
The Pilgrims or Pilgrim Fathers were early European settlers of the Plymouth Colony in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States. The colony was established in 1620 and became the second successful English settlement in North America (after the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607).
The Mayflower sailed from Plymouth on 6 September. Traditionally, the last port in England for the Mayflower was Plymouth; however, there is continued controversy that the ship had to stop at Newlyn in Cornwall before sailing west. Newlyn has a plaque to this effect on the side of a building on its quay. The Mayflower has a famous place in American history as a symbol of early European colonisation of the future United States.
The passage was a miserable one and there were two deaths, but this was only a precursor of what happened after their arrival in Cape Cod, where almost half the immigrants would die in the first winter.
The culmination of the voyage in the signing of the Mayflower Compact was an event which established a rudimentary form of democracy, with each member contributing to the welfare of the community.
The Mayflower Compact was the first governing document of Plymouth Colony. It was written by the male passengers of the Mayflower and signed aboard ship on 11 November 1620. They used the Julian Calendar, which, at that time, was ten days behind the Gregorian Calendar. Signing the covenant were 41 of the ship's passengers, while the Mayflower was anchored in what is now Provincetown Harbor within the hook at the northern tip of Cape Cod.
Pictured: The Landing of the Pilgrims by Henry A Bacon, 1877.