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The Mayflower Departs England for America

U.S. #548 – The Mayflower

The Mayflower Departs England for America

On September 16, 1620, the Mayflower left England to establish a colony in America.

The Pilgrims chartering the Mayflower were devout Christians who felt that only by breaking all ties with the Church of England could they retain their integrity before God. They sailed to Holland first, but after no improvement they set sail for America.

The Mayflower first began its trip from London that July with about 65 passengers aboard, including hired hands, servants, and farmers. The 100-foot ship met up with the Speedwell, which had come from Holland with Pilgrims fleeing religious persecution. It soon became apparent the Speedwell was not seaworthy, and the ships had to turn back twice for repairs.

U.S. #550 – The Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact aboard the ship on November 11, 1620.

After a delay of more than a month, the Mayflower finally set sail alone on September 16. There were now 102 passengers, including some from the Speedwell, and a crew of about 50. Stormy seas slowed the voyage and the ship and its occupants didn’t reach the waters of Massachusetts until November. Aboard their ship, 41 of the men signed the Mayflower Compact – an agreement to abide by the rules of the majority “for the good of the colony.”

U.S. #549 – After signing the Mayflower Compact the Pilgrims briefly went ashore at Cape Cod.

The crew tried to sail down the coast to the Virginia Colony their original destination, but the winter seas wouldn’t allow it. The passengers remained aboard the Mayflower, anchored in Cape Cod harbor, throughout the winter. There had been no time to build shelters before the cold weather set in. Conditions were crowded – the cabins were small and ceilings were about five feet high. Lack of fresh food resulted in poor diets, and many people aboard died of disease that first winter.

U.S. #1420 – In December, the Pilgrims sailed across Cape Cod Bay to Plymouth.

When spring came, surviving passengers and crew went ashore and built houses and fortifications. In April 1621, Christopher Jones, captain of the Mayflower and his remaining crew returned to England, traveling over milder seas than on the first voyage.

The final fate of the famous ship is unknown, but some historians claim the beams were used to construct a barn known as the “Mayflower Barn,” located in England. Today, tourists come from around the world to visit the location.

Click the images to add this history to your collection.

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19 responses to "The Mayflower Departs England for America"

19 thoughts on “The Mayflower Departs England for America”

  1. This is another interesting article. I am a stamp collector, and it is great to get information about the origin of the stamps. Thanks!
    E. Reynolds

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  2. Like your history facts and stories.
    Did visit the copy of the Mayflower at North Plymouth and saw the Rock where they landed.

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  3. The interesting thing about this set of stamps is that nowhere on these stamps is the United States used, or U S Postage. This is unique to this set. Of course stamps now do not use the term postage, and there will be no way to tell the original value by looking at stamps of today. Anyway these are beautifully engraved stamps.

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  4. Thanks for the information in ‘This Day In History” for stamps. Not only are they informative, but the stamp pictures with them make them even more informative. Thanks a bunch.,

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  5. Not a well known fact, but the Pilgrims also took cats with them aboard the Mayflower. That was done in case there were rats or mice aboard, as well as feeling once they landed the cats would keep the rodent population under control.

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  6. I am Susan Dair (Dair is my middle name), and I was named after the first child born in the new world. According to my mother, the child’s name was “Virginia Dare”. Mom thought everyone would shorten the first name to something she would not approve of, so she named me “Susan”. She also spelled my middle name, “Dair”. Don’t know why, but I love it and have never seen or heard of anyone else with that spelling. I have inherited her stamp collection, and, I too love stamps.

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  7. Susan Dair, what an interesting story about your name. Thank you for sharing it with us. My name is Glenn Earle Harper. I’m named for for my grandfathers – Glenn Davis Abbott and James Earle Harper. I too, inherited my father’s stamp collection. He encouraged me to collect stamps. When I was a young boy, I visited the Post Office in my town and searched through the trash cans to find discarded envelopes and salvaged the stamps. – GEH

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  8. I HAVE A CANCELLED 6 CENT 1920 THE LANDING OF THE PILGRIMS STAMP DATED DEC. 9, 1970. ALONG WITH THE STAMP I HAVE AN ARTICLE STATING THERE IS A “FLAW” IN THE STAMP. THIS ARTICLE REFERS TO THE EXTRA RED STRIPE ON THE UNION JACK. DOESN’T THIS “FLAW” MAKE THE STAMP MORE VALUABLE???

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    • Sorry, I don’t have any information about this stamp. But, it’s certainly sounds pretty neat!

      Reply
  9. Enjoyed immensely this article, especially how several stamps were combined to tell the story. My interest in stamps and collecting increases because of this type of story telling.

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  10. I like the history of the stamps I have and gives more meaning to me about the stamp. I love reading about the stamps and thank you, because I don’t like to read. You have changed me to read about stamps. I was drop on my head when I was a baby and damage the area of brain, that was for reading and other things. With this it is making me to read. Thank you. I 73 years old.

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