In 1620 part of the Scrooby Community of the Pilgrim Fathers returned back to Southampton, In England, after a 12 year exile in Leida, Holland. In England they gathered in the Congregational Church of Southwark, London and together started preparations to face the Atlantic Ocean crossing, for the first time, on two ships: the Mayflower and the Speedwell. The first was under command of Christopher Jones and the other was under captain Reynolds. On August 15th both ships left the port of Southampton, but the small Speedwell turned out to be inadequate to cross the Atlantic, obliging her captain to give up regretfully.
Owing to circumstances the two vessels moored at Plymouth, Devon, then the captain of the Speedwell decided to return back to London, together with about twenty passengers, already discouraged by the difficult conditions.
On September 6th the Mayflower left Plymouth with 102 passengers onboard: men, women and children determined to face hundreds of dangers and firmly convinced of the possibility to start a new life in a free Country. They sailed through such ravaging storms that sails were snatched down from masts, even if they have been securely tied to yards. They had a main beam broken and started to ship water seriously. Still the Mayflower stayed at sea for 64 days.
Then on November 8th, coast was perceived and the following day the ship approached the cliffs of Truro on Cape Cod promontory. Since they were some 200 miles off the point where they had decided to land, they headed south, but bad weather conditions and the approaching winter seas, advised them to return back to Cape Cod and to settle there.
On November 11th 1620 the Mayflower moored at the port of the city that later become Provincetown, after 67 days of sailing. On board the Pilgrim Fathers drew up the ‘Mayflower Constitution’. This was the first Constitution of America, with which the Pilgrim Fathers ruled the new Community autonomously.
On December 15th the Mayflower anchored permanently in a landing place chosen by scouts, which become the port of Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Pilgrim Fathers went ashore and got through the winter, together with the crew of the Mayflower. Half of these pioneers died of an epidemic illness that struck the new Community.
On April 5th 1621 after 110 days spent at moorings the Mayflower and the few courageous sailors who survived epidemic illness, set forth to face the Atlantic Ocean again. On May 6th, after 31 days of speedy sailing, the Mayflower arrived in England. By that time she was nearly wrecked. She carried the history of the Pilgrim Fathers to enter into legend.
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