The Mayflower

In 1620, some wealthy Englishmen hired the Mayflower and the Speedwell to make a trip to start a colony in Northern Virginia. The Speedwell turned out to be a leaky ship, and so was unable to make the famous voyage with the Mayflower.

Christopher Jones was the captain of the Mayflower when it took the Pilgrims to New England in 1620. They came to the tip of Cape Cod (Massachusetts) on November 11, 1620.

Mayflower was a very common ship name, and other ships called the Mayflower made trips to New England; but none of them were the same ship that brought the Pilgrims to America.

The Mayflower stayed in America that winter, and it suffered the effects of the first winter just as the Pilgrims did, with almost half dying. The Mayflower set sail for home on April 5, 1621, arriving back May sixth. The ship made a few more trading runs, to Spain, Ireland, and lastly to France. However, Captain Christopher Jones died shortly thereafter, and was buried in England.

The exact size of the Mayflower is unknown. No pictures, paintings, or detailed description of the Mayflower exist today. However it is estimated the size of the Mayflower was about 113 feet long from the back rail to the front. A duplicate of the Mayflower, called the Mayflower II, is in Plymouth, Mass. Today it is a tourist attraction, and available for touring.

The voyage from Plymouth, England to Plymouth Harbor is about 2,750 miles, and took the Mayflower 66 days. The Mayflower left England with 102 passengers, including three pregnant women, and a crew of unknown number. One child was born at sea. After the Mayflower had arrived and was anchored in Provincetown Harbor off the tip of Cape Cod, Susanna White gave birth to a son. The Mayflower then sailed across the bay to Plymouth Harbor. There, Mary Allerton gave birth to a stillborn son. One passenger died while the Mayflower was at sea--a young man named William Butten, a servant-apprentice to Dr. Samuel Fuller. The death occurred just three days before land was sighted. One Mayflower crew member also died at sea, but his name is not known.

The men of the Mayflower wrote "The Mayflower Compact", a set of laws for the new colony. This was the first time that immigrants to the new country had set down rule of the majority. It is still used today. The place they stayed was called the Plymouth Colony.

Choose the best answer:

  • The voyage from England to Plymouth, Massachusetts took:
    35 days
    66 days
    46 days

  • How many passengers were on the Mayflower?

  • The captain of the Mayflower was:
    John Christopher
    Christopher Columbus
    Christopher Jones

  • When did the ship sail from England?

  • The length of the Mayflower was:
    130 feet
    150 feet
    not known
    200 feet

  • How many passengers died at sea?

  • The first written laws in this new country were called:
    The Mayflower Compact
    The Constitution
    The Preamble
    The Declaration of Independence