Colonial House Picture of the colony
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Most vessels that carried colonists to the New World were not passenger ships; they were built to transport cargo and goods. Sailors learned to live with the cramped, dangerous, and filthy conditions, but many colonists were surprised at just how bad shipboard life was. No thought was given to sanitary or sewage conditions, and privacy was minimal. Colonists lived in these conditions for eight to 12 weeks. The average length of an Atlantic crossing in the early 17th century was ten and a half weeks, though there are accounts of some unfortunate ships taking 20 weeks.

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