The Mayflower was the ship that transported the English Dissenters, better known as the Pilgrims, from a site near the Mayflower Steps in Plymouth, England, to Plymouth, Massachusetts (which would become the capital of Plymouth Colony), in 1620. There were 102 passengers and a crew of 25–30.
The vessel left England on September 6, 1620 (Old Style)/September 16 (New Style), and after a grueling 66-day journey marked by disease, which claimed two lives, the ship dropped anchor inside the hook tip of Cape Cod (Provincetown Harbor) on November 11/November 21. The Mayflower was originally destined for the mouth of the Hudson River, near present-day New York City, at the northern edge of England's Virginia colony, which itself was established with the 1607 Jamestown Settlement However, the Mayflower went off course as the winter approached, and remained in Cape Cod Bay. On March 21/31, 1621, all surviving passengers, who had inhabited the ship during the winter, moved ashore at Plymouth, and on April 5/15, the Mayflower, a privately commissioned vessel, returned to England. In 1623, a year after the death of captain Christopher Jones, the Mayflower was most likely dismantled for scrap timber in Rotherhithe, London.
The Mayflower has a famous place in American history as a symbol of early European colonization of the future United States. According to popular history, English Dissenters called Pilgrims undertook the voyage to escape religious persecution in England.