This One Simple Item Could Have Radically Changed History As We Know It
I am an avid fan of looking at historical events and wondering about how vastly different things may have turned out if it wasn’t for this or that or another reason.
What if Lincoln’s assailant had forgot to put a bullet in his Philadelphia Deringer, or Isaac Newton sat one foot away from where an apple landed on his head?
If you’re familiar with the Butterfly Effect –not the movie– then you understand how one small event can shape the entire history of events to follow.
And if you’re familiar with the movie, well, we wonder what would happen if Ashton Kutcher’s character did more than chase a girl and beat up a bully! Like really, if you could go back in time, that’s all you got, Hollywood?
So, about the Mayflower..
The Mayflower was that big ship sailed by a man named Christopher Colombus.
Not be confused with other big historical ships, this one didn’t hit an iceberg or collect two of every animal –this one was filled with mostly English Separatists and Puritans which whom we now know as the Pilgrims.
Boy did the 102 passengers and around 33 crew of this ship have their destinies cut out for them harshly.
Travelling over sea for months fighting gale-force western winds, starvation, and disease, only to arrive in an abandoned town in a continent that was covered in snow and freezing.
Not a very fun experience I might imagine!
So you’ve got 130 or so people on a ship approximately 100 feet long and 25 feet wide, a whole range of animals, and a host of supplies all tucked away in a big bowl, floating violently on an ice-cold ocean.
Fevers, dysentery, and every sea-borne disease ravaging every occupant of the ship –dogs, pigs, and people all equally suffering together, side by side.
Without modern amenities, I imagine a barnyard, some smelly people, a kitchen, a bedroom, and a toilet in a washing machine on spin cycle. Just imagine how that looks, smells, and feels? Gross.
Surprisingly enough, when they arrived in Cape Cod on November 11, 1621, a long way north of their intended destination, only two people had died.
For supplies, they certainly did not pack very lightly.
Equipped with goods not only for the journey, but for their future lives, the Mayflower was stocked to the hilt.
Among their stores they likely had cannons, ammunition and other weapons, furniture, building supplies, and so on. You might also assume that they had possessed a number of food items, but that was not the case –they were already pretty low before their “prosperous wind” took them from Plymouth to their destination.
And they made it. Things were hard as hell when they arrived, and hard as hell before they arrived.
The What If
Adding it all up, we’ve got 130 hungry people, likely an equal or greater number of livestock and dogs, and a whole bunch of pointy sharp or explosive assets swaying left and right for months on the sea. We’ve also got a pending future in an unknown place, harsh climate, and unforgiving terrain.
Once the passengers and crew had arrived on land, recorded history splits in two.
One version says they “borrowed” some corn and paid for it six months later, and dug up the ground to create mounds to store the corn in, and borrowed some grain from another store.
Another account is that they stole all the corn, the ground they dug up had been graves now desecrated, and they went on to many other food stores owned by the Nausets; a tribe they officially met on “First Encounter Beach” –and stole from them too.
They also wanted to turn around and go home. So it was pretty rough. And the British still gossip and squabble about the last port the Mayflower visited before reaching America. The whole thing reads like a gossip soaked, drama drenched episode of Downton Abbey.
Further to that, unable to make camp on land, much of the quickly shrinking crew and passengers decided to live on the ship, or in the least, sleep there.
Disease ripped through that ship every single night, and people started dropping like flies –which also is a red flag for people accused of digging up dead people. But I digress.
The whole thing may have gone a heck of a lot smoother (and smarter) had those British folks had one simple modern invention; Shipping containers.
Here are the top reasons why the Mayflower seriously needed shipping containers on board;
1. They make stuff stay in place when on the ocean.
Even though thousands of them fall into the ocean every single year because of the sway of the water, the Mayflower could have really used more compartmentalisation. If the disease didn’t come from desecrating native burial grounds, it came from people doing their business in the same space as their sleeping and eating.
2. They are prefabricated homes when repurposed after a journey.
I could bet not one person would have elected to sleep on the ship during the winter had they all had their own little shipping container home to call their own.
3. They are perfect for storing food.
All that corn and grain our forefathers pillaged? Yeah. That could have gone in there. No need to desecrate anything more than their hearty appetites.
Realistically, our British forefathers could have really classed up the place, and instead they did what they did. They should have got themselves some shipping containers.
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