Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mayflower ll, Plimoth, MA

A short distance from Plimoth Plantation is the Mayflower II.

Mayflower II is a square rigged-vessel that is about 25 feet wide and 106 feet long, displacing 236 tons of water. She has 4 masts, including a mainmast, foremast, mizzen and sprit, with a total of 6 sails. You may walk around the main deck, orlop deck, and half deck. I was surprised to see how small it was , compared to our boats now.

Also found out that they did not drink water coming over, but instead beer. The living conditions were not very good. The Mayflower was a cargo ship and was not made to carry people, which meant that there were really no places designed for the passengers to sleep, they had to figure that out on there own. The passengers were incredibly cramped below deck and nobody ever went on deck because for the most part the weather did not permit this to happen.

The quarters below deck can be described as, “reeking of vomit and bilge.” Provisions also were never very good. Since there was no way to keep the meats and other foods fresh, passengers would be eating foods that were not as fresh as they were when they were purchases before the trip. It is this poor supply of food which lead to more of the passengers on board becoming ill.

For thousands of years before the English colonists built their town, the Wampanoag village of Patuxet had been there. From 1616-1618, many of the Wampanoag People who lived in Patuxet died in an epidemic most likely spread by European fishermen and traders. The few survivors of the sickness left Patuxet for other villages. This made it easy for the English to lay claim to the hillside in the midst of the Wampanoag homeland.

The tradition of “Plymouth Rock” was started over 100 years after the 1620 voyage of the Mayflower. In 1741, a local Plymouth man by the name of Elder William Faunce pointed out the rock that his father told him was the landing place of the “Pilgrims”. The Rock’s reputation only grew after the American Revolution, when it became a powerful symbol of liberty for a young nation looking for historical precedent. Very small rock, but a must see because of reputation.
As for the English colonists who were really there during the ship Mayflower’s arrival in New Plymouth, they never mention a “Plymouth rock” in their writings

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