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The History of the Mayflower Ship

Kennedy Ryan | 11/23/2020

The Mayflower is one of the most iconic pieces of New England history. In August of 2020, the 64-year old Mayflower replica returned to Plymouth Harbor after a 3-year renovation in Mystic, CT. Thousands of spectators watched as the Mayflower slowly made its way through the Cape Cod Canal on its way to its berth in Plymouth. The Mayflower is an excellent historic destination, telling the story of its original voyage.

In the 1500s, England broke away from the Roman Catholic Church and created the Church of England, to which everyone had to belong. The Separatists, also known as the Pilgrims, wanted to separate from the Church of England. Under the leadership of William Bradford, the Pilgrims decided to leave England and start a settlement of their own to in order to freely practice their religion. Initially, the Pilgrims set off on the Mayflower for Virginia, but a storm blew them off course. So instead of landing in Virginia, they landed further north on Cape Cod. After spending a few weeks in Provincetown, the Pilgrims finally chose to settle in what is known today as Plymouth.

No one knows what happened to the original Mayflower ship, since after 1624, the ship does not exist in any historical records. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the decision was made to build a replica to grow the connection between the United States and England. Since arriving in 1957, the Mayflower II has had many voyages, renovations, and annual visitors.

This magnificent ship is 25 feet wide and 106 feet long, displacing 236 tons of water! Visitors can climb aboard the ship, interact with costumed “Pilgrims,” and learn more about what life was like during the 66-day journey from England. Visitors can also stroll through the dockside exhibit to learn more about the lives of the Mayflower ancestors.

The Mayflower has charmed New England visitors and residents for over 60 years and is a great example of how the past connects to the present! For more information on the Mayflower, please visit the Plimouth Patuxet website.