Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Mayflower Ship ... A Short History Lesson

Mayflower Replica
With Thanksgiving in just two days, I thought I'd share a post that I wrote in 2010 (4 years ago?!) about the Mayflower ship.  I kept it short and simple, and I think it's pretty interesting stuff.  With the sale of our house last month, & only 2 tiny boxes left to unpack ... we have a lot to be thankful for! 

Now that Ken and I are sailboat owners, I found myself wondering about the Mayflower, which has played a major role in the history of Thanksgiving.  The Mayflower was a ship weighing about 180 tons crowded with men, women and children making the voyage to the "New World" in 1620. 

The first record available about the ship is somewhere in 1609. At that time it was a merchant ship, which traveled to Baltic ports, most notably Norway.  The ship's initial purpose was the transportation of goods such as fish, tar and lumber.  However, the ship was later used in the trading of Mediterranean wine and spices.

In 1620 the Mayflower and the Speedwell were hired to undertake a voyage to plant a colony in Northern Virginia.  The Speedwell turned out to be a leaky ship, and therefore the Mayflower had to make the voyage alone.  The captain of the ship was Christopher Jones, and the ship was anchored at Plymouth Harbor on November 11, 1620.  The Mayflower stayed at Cape Cod for four months and throughout the harsh winter.  During this time over half of the pilgrims perished.

The ship started sailing for home on April 5, 1621, and it arrived back one month later. The Mayflower made a few more trading runs to places such as Spain, Ireland and France. However the captain, Christopher Jones, died shortly thereafter.

After the death of the captain, the Mayflower lay inoperative for about two years.  Since the ship was not in very good sailing condition, it was called "in ruins".  Ships "in ruins" were considered more valuable as wood, which was in high demand in England at the time. Therefore the Mayflower was most likely broken apart and sold as scrap.

It's amazing to think about all of the people that migrated on sailboats, and all of the discoveries that were made with them.  Of course there are many sailboats today, but so many people think we're crazy when we tell them about our future plans of sailing to our travel destinations.  There are planes and trains now!  Why would we take a sailboat?!

Anyway, that's your history lesson for the day.  We hope everybody has a "Happy Thanksgiving"!

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!

1 comment:

Gerry Dueckman said...

Thanks! I enjoyed reading this... And I totally agree: why NOT sail everywhere you can if you can! Still one of the most relaxing and exciting ways to see the world!

Keep up the Blog!

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