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Matthew Hopkins c. 1620–47

1620 Four hundredth anniversary

The sailing of the Mayflower

David McGill reflects on the significance of the voyage of the Mayflower in 1620

Source C
The Mayflower II. A replica of the Mayflower ship at State Pier, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

The voyage of the Mayflower from Plymouth, England, to America was a hard one. Delays of almost a month caused by problems with an accompanying ship, the Speedwell, meant that the Puritan settlers had already been on board for weeks before they commenced the actual voyage across the Atlantic on 6 September 1620. It was a stormy crossing and confusion over their ultimate destination meant the captain finally dropped anchor in Cape Cod rather than off the coast of Virginia on 11 November.

A tough winter with little food and much illness followed. By the spring over half of the colonists and crew were dead. However, the settlers managed to establish a fortified settlement by late February 1621 called Plymouth Colony. It is in Massachusetts. The US tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving and its dating to the fourth Thursday of November is said to have resulted from the Mayflower voyage.

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Matthew Hopkins c. 1620–47

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