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24 September 2014

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How Plymouth, USA, remembers its roots
Mayflower II in Plymouth, USA
The replica Mayflower in Plymouth, USA
It could be argued that the Pilgrim Fathers are Devon's most famous exports. They left Plymouth almost 400 years ago and set up home across the Atlantic.
Reporter Jenny Gotts has been to Plymouth, USA.
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The Mayflower set sail from Southampton in August 1620; then stopped at Dartmouth and Plymouth before heading across the Atlantic.

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Blazing a trail...
When the 102 passengers on board the Mayflower stepped off their battered ship and onto American soil, they could hardly have imagined what they'd started.

These were the founding fathers - the so-called Pilgrims - who had left Plymouth, Devon, in September 1620, to start a new life in the New World.

They landed on the coast of Massachusetts on 21st December, 1620 at a spot now called Plymouth Rock, and in a town which is also named after the Devon port from where they set sail.

Now, 382 years on, the people of Plymouth, Mass, USA, are proud of their history and heritage...and it shows.

So where is it exactly?

The town of Plymouth, Massachusetts, is 34 miles south-east of Boston, on the east coast of America.

The stone which the Pilgrims were believed to have first set foot on is now known as Plymouth Rock, and is still on display in the town today.

Helmsman John Wood re-enacted
The Mayflower's helmsman John Wood - re-enacted.
AudioListen to his story

The Plymouth Pilgrims were separatist puritans, who had broken away from the Church of England. To escape religious persecution, many had been living in Holland for 10 years.

Thirty-seven of the separatists from Holland decided to sail, along with 65 other passengers, to the New World.

They set off from Southampton in two ships; the Speedwell and the Mayflower, in August 1620.

They were forced back twice due to leaks in the Speedwell but eventually sailed from Plymouth on 16th September, 1620 in just one ship - the Mayflower.

The Mayflower was a 12-year-old, 180-ton vessel, which had previously been used in the wine trade.

Plymouth Rock
Plymouth Rock is sited amidst the columns.
AudioHear theMayflower Compact

She encountered heavy storms on the voyage, which caused serious damage to the ship and it took 65 days to cross the Atlantic.

During the voyage, two passengers died and two others were born - Oceanus Hopkins and Peregrine White.

The passengers dropped anchor in the bay for a month, before finally landing.

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