The Mayflower Timeline

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower ship voyage to the ‘New World’ of America. The first permanent settlers begain their epic journey, inspired by an unquenchable desire for freedom and the promise of newfound liberty.

The crossing of the Mayflower in 1620 and the relationship between the Pilgrims and Wampanoag are iconic moments in America’s narrative which ultimately changed the course of world history.

The journey for the separatists began long before the Mayflower ship set sail.

Below are some of the key moments that took them along their path to North America.



Spring – The Separatists escape and emigrate without the king’s permission and settle in Leiden


Edward Winslow is now working with the Separatists in London to print and distribute pamphlets

April – The four More Children are removed from their mother following a separation dispute


Edward leaves London to join the Separatists in Leiden

John Carver begins lobbying for support to the rights for a new colony in America for the Separatists


June – The Separatists were awarded a land patent at the mouth of the Hudson River


22 July – The Separatists departed Holland aboard the Speedwell starting their pilgrimage to the ‘New World’

15 August – The Mayflower and The Speedwell depart Southampton for Virginia

16 September – The Mayflower finally departs Plymouth after leaving behind the leaking Speedwell

19 November – The Pilgrims see land, however instead of landing in Virginia they found Cape Cod

21 November – The Pilgrims and other passengers sign the Mayflower Compact as they arrive in ‘Cape Harbour’ (Provincetown)

25 November – The first exploring expedition leaves the Mayflower ship to find a site for the passengers to settle

21 December – The Pilgrim’s choose a settlement site and named it Plymouth

25 December – The Mayflower sails across the Cape to Plymouth

26 December – The Mayflower arrives in Plymouth Bay with some passengers stepping off the ship for the first time in three months


4 January – The Pilgrims begin work to erect the first house and by the end of the year Edward wrote a letter stating that they had built two houses

26 March – Samoset enters the Plymouth colony and introduces himself to the leaders

5 April – Capt. Jones leaves Plymouth with his crew and sailed the Mayflower back to England

November – The 53 surviving settlers are joined by their Native American friends for a huge feast in what is now known as the first Thanksgiving


November – The Fortune arrives, the first ship to land in Plymouth in a year, bringing 35 passengers including Edward’s brother John Winslow

For more information on the history of Mayflower