Mayflower: Off to the New World and Visiting Plimoth Plantation

Replica of the MayflowerOn September 15, 1620, the ship Mayflower prepared for her departure from England to the New World.

Originally scheduled to travel with the Speedwell, the Mayflower ended up making the voyage alone after the Speedwell proved unseaworthy.

After putting back to Plymouth, the Mayflower made her final departure on September 16.  Captained by Christopher Jones, the ship braved stormy weather, dissention amongst the passengers, and illness.  However, after a two month voyage the ship sighted Cape Code on November 19.  After scouting for a suitable spot to settle, they landed at Plymouth on December 26.

Plymouth Rock is the traditional site of disembarkation of William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims who founded Plymouth Colony in 1620, in what would become the United States of America. It is an important symbol in American history.

There is no contemporaneous reference to the rock, and it is not referred to in Bradford’s journal Of Plymouth Plantation or in Mourt’s Relation. The first reference to the Pilgrims landing on a rock is found 121 years after they landed. The rock is currently located on the shore of Plymouth Harbor in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Before landing, however, the Mayflower Compact was drawn up, which served to set up a temporary government which would be governed by majority rule.  (See below)

Visiting Plimoth Plantation

If you’re in Massachusetts, plan a visit to Plimoth Plantation , a bicultural museum, offers powerful personal encounters with history built on thorough research about the Wampanoag People and the Colonial English community in the 1600s.

The Plantation includes

  • Wampanoag homestead
  • 1627 English Village
  • Crafts Center
  • Colonial Education Center
  • Exhibits

Plimoth Plantation is open March 21 through November 29, 2009, 7 days a week.  The museum has two separate locations:

* The Plimoth Plantation location is 3 miles south of downtown Plymouth
* Mayflower II is on the Plymouth waterfront

The Mayflower Compact

IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience. IN WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape-Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini; 1620.

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