The Mayflower Voyage

For the passengers and crew who boarded the Mayflower some four centuries ago, the odds were firmly stacked against them as they looked to cross the Atlantic to start a new life.

By the time the group set sail from Plymouth on 16 September 1620, many of them had experienced religious persecution; trouble with the law (including time in prison for some); betrayal from those they trusted; numerous stops in ports around the country, and the eventual demise of the Mayflower’s sister ship, the Speedwell.

Little did they know, their hardships would only get worse during a voyage which saw emergency repairs, disease, death and even the birth of a new child.

Below you can read stories about the Mayflower’s historic journey, and how the colonists finally reached North America after 66 gruelling days at sea.

  • The Mayflower Story

    The Mayflower set sail on 16 September 1620 from Plymouth, UK, to start its long voyage to America.

    But its history and story start long before that in the villages, towns and cities of England.

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  • Mayflower – The journey to 16 September

    The Mayflower eventually set sail from Plymouth, UK, on 16 September 1620 to start what would prove to be a treacherous transatlantic voyage to America.

    This is the fascinating story of how the colonists made the trip possible, and the events that led to them gathering on the water’s edge in Devon some 400 years ago.

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  • How the Mayflower prepared for its historic transatlantic voyage

    As with any long trip, preparation is key - and the colonists had spent many months leading up to their departure gathering provisions and supplies that would last them during their voyage and beyond.

    One can only image how cramped and crowded conditions would have been on the Mayflower with more than 100 passengers on board and provisions to match.

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  • 66 days at sea: What life was like on board the Mayflower

    The odds were firmly stacked against the passengers and crew who boarded the Mayflower some four centuries ago in a bid to start a new life across the Atlantic.

    Little did the group know, their hardships would only get worse during a voyage which saw emergency repairs, disease, death and even the birth of a new child.

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  • The Mayflower Compact

    With America almost close enough to touch, the battered and broken Mayflower passengers knew their journey was far from over, for they had no right to settle on the land upon which they had unintentionally arrived.

    The Pilgrims anchored in what is now Provincetown Harbour, Massachusetts, and decided to draw up an agreement that would give them some attempt at legal standing.

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  • Millions owe their lives to Mayflower passenger who fell overboard

    As if the colonists' perilous transatlantic crossing wasn't harrowing enough, imagine how frightened John Howland must have been when he fell overboard as a storm of epic proportions battered the Mayflower?

    Howland was thrown overboard during nightmare sea conditions but managed to grab hold of a trailing rope, giving the Mayflower crew just enough time to rescue him with a boat-hook.

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  • The Boy Who Fell From The Mayflower

    The Boy Who Fell From The Mayflower (Or John Howland’s Good Fortune) is a beautifully illustrated children’s book that tells the imagined story of a real-life passenger aboard the pioneering ship.

    John Howland was a teenager in 1620 when he sailed to America as an indentured servant. His story and the Mayflower’s dramatic voyage from Plymouth is vividly brought to life by writer and illustrator P.J. Lynch.

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  • What happened after the Mayflower landed in America?

    After more than two months battling everything the Atlantic had to throw at them, the Mayflower passengers' horrific ordeal was far from over.

    What lay ahead were many more months of trials and tribulations which would test their spirit and, ultimately, decimate their numbers as they lost family, friends and loved ones to disease and the elements.

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  • The unbreakable bond of the original Mayflower passengers who survived their first winter in America

    Shared pain is undoubtedly one of the most powerful factors in bringing people together.

    So, it’s no surprise that those who reached America in November 1620 and survived the subsequent first harsh winter had shared an experience that no other European could possibly understand.

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  • How the Mayflower passengers started to build a colony

    The Mayflower passengers and crew reached the coast of America during a harsh winter which brought with it heavy snow.

    Conditions made it incredibly difficult, but the group put together three exploring parties over the course of the month between the middle of November and the middle of December.

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  • Who were the children of the Mayflower?

    Little is known about the children who sailed on the Mayflower some 400 years ago, but it is thought that there were around 30 on board the ship when the group departed Plymouth.

    Richard Pickering, Deputy Director of Plimoth Patuxet Living Museum, explores more about the children of the Mayflower.

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