The Mayflower, with 102 passengers on board, left Plymouth (England) on 16th September 1620. The ship headed for Virginia where the settlers had been given permission to settle. Due to bad weather conditions and to navigation errors, the ship was not able to hold her course: on 21st November, the Mayflower passed Cape Cod and dropped anchor on what is now known as Princeton (Massachusetts). The Mayflower stayed anchored for a few weeks while a group of emigrants explored Cape Cod and its surroundings in search of a suitable place for the colony to settle. On 21st December, the site having been found and accepted, the Pilgrim Fathers disembarked from the Mayflower and founded not far from Cape Cod the colony of Plymouth, which was to be the first permanent colony of New England. The town of New Plymouth was thus founded on 20th December 1620. The settlers found themselves more than 800 km North East of what was their original destination, Virginia. For this reason, their licence enabling them to settle in the New World and delivered by the London Company was no longer contractual and a few passengers wished to become entirely independent from their fellow travellers. In order to solve this problem, 41 heads of families got together in a cabin of the Mayflower during the crossing to draw up and sign the Declaration of Principles regarding the new settlement and named the Mayflower Compact
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