The Mayflower was the three-masted, double-decked sailing ship that carried the first Pilgrims from England to America.
Chartered by English merchants called the London Adventurers, the 180-ton Mayflower sailed from Plymouth on Sept. 1620. Rough seas prevented the ship from reacing the territory it had beem granted in Virginia. Instead, after a 66-day voyage, it deposited its 102 settlers at what is now Plymouth, Massachusettes.
Prior to their landing at Plymouth, Mass., the Pilgrim leaders persuaded 41 male adults aboard the ship to sign the 'Mayflower Compact'. The compact resulted from the fear that some members of the group might leave and settle on teir own. This document became the first plan for self-determining government ever put in force in America.