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Anniversary of the Mayflower arriving in USA 11th November 1620

The Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, England on 16th September 1620 and took 66 days to cross the Atlantic – a horrible crossing afflicted by winter storms and long bouts of seasickness – so bad that most could barely stand up during the voyage.

By October, they began encountering a number of Atlantic storms that made the voyage treacherous. It was so bad that the sails often could not be used, instead they simply drifted.

One Stranger was swept overboard and one woman, Elizabeth Hopkins, gave birth to a baby boy, aptly named Oceanus.

The Pilgrims intended to land in Northern Virginia and the Hudson River (today New York) was their intended destination. They had received good reports on this region while in the Netherlands. The Mayflower was almost right on target, missing the Hudson River by just a few degrees.

After more than two months (66 days) at sea, the Pilgrims finally arrived at Cape Cod on November 11, 1620. A few weeks later, they sailed up the coast to Plymouth and started to build their town where a group of Wampanoag People had lived before (a sickness had killed most of them). The Pilgrims lived on the ship for a few more months, rowing ashore to build houses during the day, and returning to the ship at night. Many people began to get sick from the cold and the wet; after all, it was December! About half the people on Mayflower died that first winter from what they described as a “general sickness” of colds, coughs and fevers.

Finally, in March 1621, there were enough houses that everyone could live on land. After a long, hard voyage, and an even harder winter, Mayflower left Plymouth to return to England on April 5, 1621.


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