The 1620 Mayflower voyage and the English settlement of North America

Historian article

By Martyn Whittock, published 8th July 2020

On the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims in New England on the Mayflower, Martyn Whittock explores the reasons for migration to the New World in 1620 and later, and the significance of those migrants, both at the time and their impact on the evolution of the USA today.

In November 1620, a battered sailing ship wearily worked its way up the coast of what is today Massachusetts. Called the Mayflower, there was little about the ship and its passengers that indicated it might ever have a place in future history, myth and legend. In fact, everything pointed towards hardship, perhaps disaster. As those on the ship looked out on the shoreline of Cape Cod their anxieties must have mounted. Not only had the voyage from a very distant England been long and hard, but this was not where they intended to be... 

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