Although the legendary “voyage of the Mayflower” is now enshrined in national lore, we actually don’t know much about it. William Bradford summarized the voyage in a couple of pages in his History of Plymouth Plantation, and almost everything we know about it comes from that brief account. We do know that the voyage of the Mayflower began as the voyage of the Mayflower and the Speedwell. Whereas the 180-ton Mayflower had been chartered by the London merchants who were financing the Pilgrims’ undertaking, the 60-ton Speedwell actually belonged to the Pilgrims, who had purchased it with an eye to using it for a fishing boat once they had relocated to America.
On August 5, 1620 the Speedwell and Mayflower
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