Colonial America: All About the Mayflower Ship
How Big Was the Mayflower?
Many people may think of the Mayflower as a really large ship, but in reality, it was not all that big. The Mayflower's deck was about the length of a basketball court, approximately 80 feet long. The entire length was 106 feet, and the ship was only 25 feet wide. The Mayflower had three masts.
Where Did the Passengers Sleep?
The gun deck is where passengers slept, and this is also where the cannons were located. The gun deck is also known as the "between deck" area and was above the cargo hold. The crew slept in the cabin, and the forecastle is where passengers' food was stored and cooked.
What Route Did the Mayflower Take?
The Mayflower left on Aug. 4, 1620, from Southampton, England, bound for Virginia. It would have arrived in North America much sooner, but it was slowed down by its partner ship leaking. The Speedwell continued to leak, and it was ultimately forced to turn back and dock at Plymouth. The Mayflower took on as many extra passengers as it could accommodate from the Speedwell and headed out on Sept. 6, 1620. Thrown off course by storms, the Mayflower landed at Cape Cod in November of 1620.
What Was it Like on the Mayflower?
The Mayflower was crowded with 102 passengers in small quarters. There was no running water or restroom. There was no fresh air below deck, so the smell alone would have been horrific. During stormy weather, the passengers were crammed into their quarters for days at a time, with no way of knowing if they were safe or how long they would be tossed around in their cramped, dirty, and smelly living quarters.
What Did the Passengers Do?
The passengers on the Mayflower were in charge of cooking their own meals, mending their own clothes, and tending to the sick. Seasickness was common. Children played games and had to rely on their creativity to keep busy. Adults and children alike probably read and prayed a lot.
How Big of a Crew Did the Mayflower Have?
Although exact numbers are unknown, it's thought that the crew of the Mayflower probably consisted of around 25 members. Christopher Jones was the captain, and there was also a surgeon, a cooper, and a cook. There were quartermasters in charge of the cargo and a master gunner. The boatswain was in charge of sails and rigging, and there was a carpenter for wood repairs.
- The Mayflower and Her Passengers: 34 Children, 68 Adults, and 30 Crew
- The Real History of the Pilgrims' Ship
Interesting Facts About the Mayflower
- The Mayflower was not new; it was at least ten years old when it set sail on its most famous journey.
- Appropriately named Oceanus, a baby boy was born on the Mayflower during the journey to North America.
- To get a glimpse into what life was like on the Mayflower, you can visit a replica called the Mayflower II in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
- Tall passengers were most likely very uncomfortable, as the between-deck space is thought to have been only five feet tall.
- Many animals were on board as well, and they no doubt contributed to the stench in the living quarters.
All About Colonial America
- Everyday Life in Colonial America: Dive into what life was like in colonial America.
- Colonial America (1492-1763): Read about the history of colonial America and what the colonists did when they arrived.
- Jamestown Settlement: Find out all about Jamestown and why this settlement was so important.
- Historic Jamestown: Get a virtual introduction to one of the first American colonies.
- What Is a Colonial House? Find out the styles of homes common in colonial America.
- Colonial America for Kids: Housing and Homes: Explore what a home would have been like in colonial America.
- Colonial American Food: Learn what colonists ate as they settled into life in their new land.
- Colonial Culture and Cuisine: Colonial cuisine was heavily influenced by the fact that most of the earliest settlers didn't have the skills to hunt, farm, or cook and were also reluctant to try new foods.
- French and Indian War: Read the history behind this war that greatly affected the colonists.
- Who Fought in the French and Indian War? Understand the various players in this important North American war.
- Colonial Farming and Food: Famine to Prosperity: Learn all about how the colonists made the best of some tough situations.
- Life in Colonial America: Find out what work, play, and travel were like in colonial America.
- Farming in the 13 American Colonies: This sneak peek into the world of farming in colonial times might be a shock to some.
- African Slavery in Colonial British North America: African slaves were among many groups of people enslaved in the colonies.
- History of Slavery in Colonial British North America: Slavery was once quite common all over colonial America.
- How the New England Colonists Embraced Slavery: Many may think that slavery was looked down upon by the majority, but actually, many people accepted it during the time of colonial America.
- Slavery in the British Colonies: Explore the reasons people used to justify the practice of enslaving others in colonial America.
- 13 Colonies Interactive Map Challenge: This is a great activity to help children to learn all about the 13 colonies.
- A Brief History of the Salem Witch Trials: Find out more about what happened when colonial paranoia turned deadly.