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Mayflower Launch Town Sending Replica for 400th Anniversary
June 25, 2013

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The English town of Harwich is building a replica of the Mayflower to send to the U.S. to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the famous trans-Atlantic voyage of the Pilgrims.

The ship was built and launched from Norwich but also stopped at Plymouth before crossing the Atlantic Ocean. (This stop was in part to pick up Pilgrims from another ship, the Speedwell, which had developed a leak and was unfit for the journey.)

The landing site in America is called Plymouth Rock, and several towns throughout the U.S. are named Plymouth. The Pilgrims themselves named their settlement Plimoth Plantation. Harwich is not unknown as a U.S. place-name, though. Massachusetts has one, on Cape Cod.

Workers in Harwich, England, will begin building their ship in 2016 and plan to have it ready for 2020. The Pilgrims' voyage took place in 1620.

Planning is already under way in Massachusetts to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the voyage. Cities and towns in the area surrounding Plymouth Rock are anticipating big crowds at Pilgrim-themed events, starting in 1619. A large part of the focus will be on the Pilgrims' partnership with the Wampanoag. Among the promotions is a commemorative license plate that shows the ship and the outline of a waiting Native American.

Planning is under way for commemorative celebrations in Plymouth, England, as well.

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