You are correct that the Pilgrims didn’t plan on landing at Plymouth Rock, but what many people don’t know is that the primary reason for choosing that spot was because they were running out of beer. That’s right, one of the most important events in American history transpired because of a beer shortage. However, the beer shortage wouldn’t have occurred had a few other factors not come into play.
The Pilgrims set originally set sail from Southampton, England in August 1620 but ended up suffering several delays. The longest delay was due to one of their two ships, the Speedwell, developing a leak. After nearly one month, they had no luck repairing the leak and had to crowd everyone onto their other ship, the Mayflower.
As luck would have it, the Pilgrims experienced very harsh weather conditions that also delayed their arrival by two weeks. After 64 days on the open ocean, the new colonists found themselves at Cape Cod, quite some distance north of where they were supposed to be, which was land claimed by the Virginia Company of London.
After a fight and near separation, the colonists decided to remain together and attempt to sail south to where they were supposed to be. Provisions, most notably the beer, was running low, and the navigator gave them two choices. They chose the nearest site, which was known back then as Thievish Harbor. Today, that site is known as Plymouth.
Another reason for choosing the Plymouth site was because it had previously been cleared by a tribe of Native Americans who had subsequently died of European-borne illnesses, leaving it free for the taking.
To set the record straight, the Pilgrims weren’t raging alcoholics who had to set up breweries at the first possible convenience. In those days, beer was a staple beverage, especially during long ship voyages. The beer wasn’t very strong because it was used as a regular drink in place of water. For centuries, it was known that beer lasts longer than water, which can become contaminated with algae and bacteria. The reason for this is because beer is boiled during preparation and hops and alcohol are both natural antibacterial agents.
The situation was not good for the Pilgrims. They ended up running out of beer before Christmas anyway, and sickness had spread among them. Luckily, some of them pulled through, and by the next year, with the help of local natives, the colony had become a success.
Posted 2700 day ago