The Mayflower: British Colonisation of America.
Are you living in America and researching your family history? Perhaps you have an interest in your celtic heritage or origins or your surname.
The journey of arguably the most famous of the pilgrim ships was made by ‘The Mayflower’. This set sail from Plymouth in 1620. Already approaching the end of her working life as a square-rigged merchant ship, The Mayflower’s design meant that it did not fare well when battling against the harsh prevailing westerlies of the North Atlantic.
Cramped, noisy and damp, its 102 passengers and approximately 30 crew were aboard for more than two months and endured the bitter conditions of winter, making a taxing journey even more miserable.
The unfortunate immigrants endured an Atlantic crossing of two months, which left the travellers weary, famished, sickly and destitute. Unable to wash and sleeping in crammed conditions, the sight of land on November 9th must have been very welcome.
The Mayflower was to drop anchor at Cape Cod on November 11th, two days after the initial sighting of land. Although not the intended destination, strong winds and adverse sailing conditions prevailed. As such, this meant that the ship could not make it to her intended destination of Virginia.
Those that managed to survive the crossing became the first settlers in North America. Somewhat miraculously, there were only two deaths, although the subsequent winter took the lives of around half the company.
Rudimentary democracy was formed with the signing of the Mayflower Compact. This was the Plymouth Colony’s first governing document, signed on board ship. For in-depth analysis of the journey, the following websites are full of useful information.