On August 15th, 1620, two ships the Mayflower and the Speedwell set sail from Southampton, England, for the Hudson River, in what is now New York.
Not long after they departed, the Speedwell began to leak and the ships were forced to stop in Dartmouth, England, for repairs. On August 21st, they left again, only to have new leaks force them to return to England once more, this time to Plymouth. There it was decided that the Speedwell could not be made seaworthy for such a voyage.
On September 16th, the Mayflower again set sail for the New World, this time alone. There were 102 passengers on board, most of whom were Pilgrims fleeing religious persecution.
For 2 ½ months, the passengers and crew endured cold, sickness, bad food, and leaks that threatened to scuttle the ship, storms that blew them far off course, before landing at what is now Provincetown, on Cape Cod, on November 21st. After determining that the area was not suitable for settlement, they left and landed at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts, on December 21st.
Despite the hardships, it was a successful crossing for that time in history, as only one person died. Nearly a year later, the Pilgrims celebrated a good harvest with the first Thanksgiving in the New World.
And 392 years later we are giving thanks for another year, and the opportunity to live free in the greatest country on earth!
THE MAYFLOWER COMPACT
In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are under-written, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc.
Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the eleventh of November [New Style, November 21], in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord, King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Dom. 1620.