From their self-imposed exile in Holland and perilous Atlantic crossing in the Mayflower to unimaginable hardships encountered in their new land, this is the definitive story of the Pilgrims and how they came to live - and ultimately prosper - in the harsh climate of an unfamiliar world.
The Mayflower was the ship that in 1620 transported 102 English Pilgrims, including a core group of Separatists, to New England. Their story is one of travail and survival in a harsh New World environment.
When and where the Mayflower of the Pilgrim voyage of 1620 was built is not known, but it is not improbable that she was launched at Harwich in Essex county, England, and although later known â€˜of Londonâ€™, she was designated as â€˜of Harwichâ€™ in the Port Books of 1609-11. Harwich was the birthplace of Mayflower master Christopher Jones about 1570.
The Mayflower was rated at 180 tonsâ€”meaning it had a hold that could accommodate 180 casks of rum or wineâ€”and was about 100 feet in length. Since Captain Jones became master eleven years prior to the Mayflower Pilgrims' voyage, the ship had sailed cross-Channel taking English woolens to France and bringing French wine to London. In addition to wine and wool, Jones had transported hats, hemp, Spanish salt, hops and vinegar to Norway and may have taken the Mayflower whaling in the North Atlantic in the Greenland area. It had traveled to Mediterranean ports, being then owned by Christopher Nichols, Robert Child, Thomas Short and Christopher Jones, the shipâ€™s master. In 1620 Capt. Jones and Robert Child still owned their quarter shares in the ship, and it was from them that Thomas Weston chartered her in the summer of 1620 to undertake the Pilgrim voyage. Weston was deeply involved in the Mayflower voyage due to his membership in the investor group Merchant Adventurers, and eventually came to Plymouth Colony himself.