New England

New England
Clockwise from top: skyline of Boston's financial district at night; a building of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut; a view from Nubble Light on Cape Neddick in Maine; view from Mount Mansfield in Vermont; and a fisherman on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
Clockwise from top: skyline of Boston's financial district at night; a building of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut; a view from Nubble Light on Cape Neddick in Maine; view from Mount Mansfield in Vermont; and a fisherman on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
The Pine Tree flag of New England
Flag
Brother Jonathan
Emblem
Motto: No official motto, but common de facto mottoes include "An appeal to Heaven" and "Nunquam libertas gratior extat" ("Nowhere does liberty appear in a more gracious form")
Location of New England (red) in the United States
Location of New England (red) in the United States
Composition
Largest metropolitan area
Largest city Boston
Area
 • Total 71,991.8 sq mi (186,458 km2)
 • Land 62,688.4 sq mi (162,362 km2)
Population (2015 est.) [1]
 • Total 14,727,584
 • Density 234.9/sq mi (90.7/km2)
Demonym(s) New Englander, Yankee [2]
GDP (nominal) [3]
 • Total $953.9 billion (2015)
Dialects New England English, New England French

New England is a geographical region comprising six states of the northeast United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. [a] It is bordered by the state of New York to the west and south, and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec to the northeast and north, respectively. The Atlantic Ocean is to the east and southeast, and Long Island Sound is to the south. Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, is New England's largest city. The largest metropolitan area is Greater Boston, which also includes Worcester (the second-largest city in both Massachusetts and New England), Manchester (the largest city in New Hampshire), and Providence (the capital and largest city of Rhode Island), with nearly a third of the entire region's population.

In 1620, Puritan Separatist Pilgrims from England first settled in the region, forming the Plymouth Colony, the second successful English settlement in the Americas, following the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia founded in 1607. Ten years later, more Puritans settled north of Plymouth Colony in Boston, thus forming Massachusetts Bay Colony. Over the next 126 years, people in the region fought in four French and Indian Wars, until the British and their Iroquois allies defeated the French and their Algonquin allies in North America. In 1692, the town of Salem, Massachusetts and surrounding areas experienced one of the most infamous cases of mass hysteria in the history of the Western Hemisphere, the Salem witch trials. [10] In the late 18th century, political leaders from the New England Colonies known as the Sons of Liberty initiated resistance to Britain's efforts to impose new taxes without the consent of the colonists. The Boston Tea Party was a protest to which Britain responded with a series of punitive laws stripping Massachusetts of self-government, which were termed the " Intolerable Acts" by the colonists. The confrontation led to the first battles of the American Revolutionary War in 1775, and the expulsion of the British authorities from the region in spring 1776.

The region played a prominent role in the movement to abolish slavery in the United States, and was the first region of the U.S. transformed by the Industrial Revolution, centered on the Blackstone and Merrimack river valleys.

The physical geography of New England is diverse for such a small area; southeastern New England is covered by a narrow coastal plain, while the western and northern regions are dominated by the rolling hills and worn-down peaks of the northern end of the Appalachian Mountains. With the Atlantic fall line lying so close to the coast, numerous industrial cities were able to take advantage of water power along the numerous rivers, such as the Connecticut River, which bisects the region from north to south.

Each state is principally subdivided into small incorporated municipalities known as towns, many of which are governed by town meetings. The only unincorporated areas in the region exist in the sparsely populated northern regions of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The region is one of the U.S. Census Bureau's nine regional divisions and the only multi-state region with clear, consistent boundaries. It maintains a strong sense of cultural identity, [11] although the terms of this identity are often contrasted, combining Puritanism with liberalism, agrarian life with industry, and isolation with immigration.

History

Eastern Algonquian peoples

The earliest known inhabitants of New England were American Indians who spoke a variety of the Eastern Algonquian languages. [12] Prominent tribes included the Abenaki, Mi'kmaq, Penobscot, Pequot, Mohegans, Narragansett Indians, Pocumtuck, and Wampanoag. [12] Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the Western Abenakis inhabited New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont, as well as parts of Quebec and western Maine. [13] Their principal town was Norridgewock in present-day Maine. [14]

The Penobscot lived along the Penobscot River in Maine. The Narragansett and smaller tribes under Narragansett sovereignty lived in most of modern-day Rhode Island, west of Narragansett Bay, including Block Island. The Wampanoag occupied southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. The Pocumtucks lived in Western Massachusetts, and the Mohegan and Pequot tribes in the Connecticut region. The Connecticut River Valley includes parts of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and linked different indigenous communities culturally, linguistically, and politically. [12]

As early as 1600, French, Dutch, and English traders began exploring the New World, trading metal, glass, and cloth for local beaver pelts. [12] [15]

Colonial period

The Virginia Companies

On April 10, 1606, King James I of England issued a charter for each of the Virginia Companies, London and Plymouth. These were privately funded ventures, intended to claim land for England, conduct trade, and return a profit. In 1620, Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts was settled by Pilgrims from the Mayflower, beginning the history of permanent European settlement in New England. [16]

Plymouth Council for New England

Title page of John Smith's A Description of New England (1616)

In 1616, English explorer John Smith named the region "New England". [17] The name was officially sanctioned on November 3, 1620, [18] when the charter of the Virginia Company of Plymouth was replaced by a royal charter for the Plymouth Council for New England, a joint-stock company established to colonize and govern the region. [19] As the first colonists arrived in Plymouth, they wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact, [20] their first governing document. [21] The Massachusetts Bay Colony came to dominate the area and was established by royal charter in 1629 [22] [23] with its major town and port of Boston established in 1630. [24]

Massachusetts Puritans began to settle in Connecticut as early as 1633. [25] Roger Williams was banished from Massachusetts for heresy, led a group south, and founded Providence Plantation in the area that became the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in 1636. [26] [27] At this time, Vermont was yet unsettled, and the territories of New Hampshire and Maine were claimed and governed by Massachusetts. [28]

French and Indian Wars

An early English map of New England, c. 1670, depicts the area around modern Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Relationships between colonists and local Indian tribes alternated between peace and armed skirmishes, the bloodiest of which was the Pequot War in 1637 which resulted in the Mystic massacre. [29] On May 19, 1643, the colonies of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, New Haven, and Connecticut joined together in a loose compact called the New England Confederation (officially "The United Colonies of New England"). The confederation was designed largely to coordinate mutual defense, and gained some importance during King Philip's War. [30] From June 1675 through April 1678, King Philip's War pitted the colonists and their Indian allies against a widespread Indian uprising, resulting in killings and massacres on both sides. [31]

During the next 74 years, there were six colonial wars that took place primarily between New England and New France (see the French and Indian Wars as well as Father Rale's War and Father Le Loutre's War). Throughout these wars, New England was allied with the Iroquois Confederacy and New France was allied with the Wabanaki Confederacy. After the New England Conquest of Acadia in 1710, mainland Nova Scotia was under the control of New England, but both present-day New Brunswick and virtually all of present-day Maine remained contested territory between New England and New France. After the British won the war in 1763, the Connecticut River Valley was opened for British settlement into western New Hampshire and what is today Vermont.

The New England colonies were settled primarily by farmers who became relatively self-sufficient. Later, New England's economy began to focus on crafts and trade, aided by the Puritan work ethic, in contrast to the Southern colonies which focused on agricultural production while importing finished goods from England. [32]

Dominion of New England

The New England Ensign, one of several flags historically associated with New England. This flag was reportedly used by colonial merchant ships sailing out of New England ports, 1686 – c. 1737. [33] [34] [35] [36] [37]
New England's Siege of Louisbourg (1745) by Peter Monamy.

By 1686, King James II had become concerned about the increasingly independent ways of the colonies, including their self-governing charters, their open flouting of the Navigation Acts, and their growing military power. He therefore established the Dominion of New England, an administrative union comprising all of the New England colonies. [38] In 1688, the former Dutch colonies of New York, East New Jersey, and West New Jersey were added to the Dominion. The union was imposed from the outside and contrary to the rooted democratic tradition of the region, and it was highly unpopular among the colonists. [39]

The Dominion significantly modified the charters of the colonies, including the appointment of Royal Governors to nearly all of them. There was an uneasy tension between the Royal Governors, their officers, and the elected governing bodies of the colonies. The governors wanted unlimited authority, and the different layers of locally elected officials would often resist them. In most cases, the local town governments continued operating as self-governing bodies, just as they had before the appointment of the governors. [40]

After the Glorious Revolution in 1689, Bostonians overthrew royal governor Sir Edmund Andros. They seized dominion officials and adherents to the Church of England during a popular and bloodless uprising. [41] These tensions eventually culminated in the American Revolution, boiling over with the outbreak of the War of American Independence in 1775. The first battles of the war were fought in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, later leading to the Siege of Boston by continental troops. In March 1776, British forces were compelled to retreat from Boston.

New England in the new nation

Boston College: the architecture style is Collegiate Gothic, a subgenre of Gothic Revival architecture, a 19th-century movement.

Post-Revolutionary New England

After the dissolution of the Dominion of New England, the colonies of New England ceased to function as a unified political unit but remained a defined cultural region. By 1784, all of the states in the region had taken steps towards the abolition of slavery, with Vermont and Massachusetts introducing total abolition in 1777 and 1783, respectively. [42] The nickname "Yankeeland" was sometimes used to denote the New England area, especially among Southerners and British. [43]

After settling a dispute with New York, Vermont was admitted to statehood in 1791, formally completing the defined area of New England. On March 15, 1820, as part of the Missouri Compromise, the territory of Maine, formerly a part of Massachusetts, was admitted to the Union as a free state. [44] Today, New England is defined as the six states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. [5]

For the rest of the period before the American Civil War, New England remained distinct from the rest of the United States. New England's economic growth relied heavily on trade with the British Empire, [45] and the region's merchants and politicians strongly opposed trade restrictions. As the United States and the United Kingdom fought the War of 1812, New England Federalists organized the Hartford Convention in the winter of 1814 to discuss the region's grievances concerning the war, and to propose changes to the Constitution to protect the region's interests and maintain its political power. [46] Radical delegates within the convention proposed the region's secession from the United States, but they were outnumbered by moderates who opposed the idea. [47]

Politically, the region often disagreed with the rest of the country. [48] Massachusetts and Connecticut were among the last refuges of the Federalist Party, and New England became the strongest bastion of the new Whig Party when the Second Party System began in the 1830s. The Whigs were usually dominant throughout New England, except in the more Democratic Maine and New Hampshire. Leading statesmen hailed from the region, including Daniel Webster.

New England was distinct in other ways, as well. Many notable literary and intellectual figures were New Englanders, produced by the United States before the American Civil War, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, George Bancroft, and William H. Prescott. [49]

Industrial Revolution

New England was key to the industrial revolution in the United States. [50] The Blackstone Valley, running through Massachusetts and Rhode Island, has been called the birthplace of America's industrial revolution. [51] In 1787, the first cotton mill in America was founded in the North Shore seaport of Beverly, Massachusetts as the Beverly Cotton Manufactory. [52] The Manufactory was also considered the largest cotton mill of its time. Technological developments and achievements from the Manufactory led to the development of more advanced cotton mills, including Slater Mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Towns such as Lawrence and Lowell in Massachusetts, Woonsocket in Rhode Island, and Lewiston in Maine became centers of the textile industry following the innovations at Slater Mill and the Beverly Cotton Manufactory.

The Connecticut River Valley - and in particular the Springfield Armory - became a crucible for industrial innovation, pioneering such advances as interchangeable parts and the assembly line, which influenced manufacturing processes all around the world. [53] From early in the nineteenth century until the mid-twentieth, the region surrounding Springfield and Hartford served as the United States' epicenter for precision manufacturing, drawing skilled workers from all over the world. [54] [55]

The rapid growth of textile manufacturing in New England between 1815 and 1860 caused a shortage of workers. Recruiters were hired by mill agents to bring young women and children from the countryside to work in the factories. Between 1830 and 1860, thousands of farm girls moved from rural areas where there was no paid employment to work in the nearby mills, such as the famous Lowell Mill Girls. As the textile industry grew, immigration also grew. By the 1850s, immigrants began working in the mills, especially Irish and French Canadians. [56]

New England, as a whole, was the most industrialized part of the young U.S.; by 1850, it accounted for well over a quarter of all manufacturing value in the country and over a third of its industrial workforce. [57] It was also the most literate and most educated region in the country. [57]

Anti-slavery

During the same period, New England and areas settled by New Englanders (upstate New York, Ohio's Western Reserve, and the upper midwestern states of Michigan and Wisconsin) were the center of the strongest abolitionist and anti-slavery movements in the United States, coinciding with the Protestant Great Awakening in the region. [58] Abolitionists who demanded immediate emancipation such as William Lloyd Garrison, John Greenleaf Whittier and Wendell Phillips had their base in the region. So too did anti-slavery politicians who wanted to limit the growth of slavery, such as John Quincy Adams, Charles Sumner, and John P. Hale. When the anti-slavery Republican Party was formed in the 1850s, all of New England, including areas that had previously been strongholds for both the Whig and the Democratic Parties, became strongly Republican. New England remained solidly Republican until Catholics began to mobilize behind the Democrats, especially in 1928, and up until the Republican party realigned its politics in a shift known as the Southern strategy. This led to the end of "Yankee Republicanism" and began New England's relatively swift transition into a consistently Democratic stronghold. [59]

20th century and beyond

Autumn in New England, watercolor, Maurice Prendergast. C. 1910–1913

The flow of immigrants continued at a steady pace from the 1840s until cut off by World War I. The largest numbers came from Ireland and Britain before 1890, and after that from Quebec, Italy and Southern Europe. The immigrants filled the ranks of factory workers, craftsmen and unskilled laborers. The Irish assumed a larger and larger role in the Democratic Parts in the cities and statewide, while the rural areas remained Republican. Yankees left the farms, which never were highly productive; many headed west, while others became professionals and businessmen in the New England cities.

Great Depression

The Great Depression in the United States of the 1930s hit the region hard, with high unemployment in the industrial cities. The Democrats appealed to factory workers and especially Catholics, pulling them into the New Deal coalition and making the once-Republican region into one that was closely divided. However the enormous spending on munitions, ships, electronics, and uniforms during World War II caused a burst of prosperity in every sector.

Deindustrialization

The region lost most of its factories starting with the loss of textiles in the 1930s and getting worse after 1960. The New England economy was radically transformed after World War II. The factory economy practically disappeared. Like urban centers in the Rust Belt, once-bustling New England communities fell into economic decay following the flight of the region's industrial base. The textile mills one by one went out of business from the 1920s to the 1970s. For example, the Crompton Company, after 178 years in business, went bankrupt in 1984, costing the jobs of 2,450 workers in five states. The major reasons were cheap imports, the strong dollar, declining exports, and a failure to diversify. [60] Shoes followed.

Alexander King House in Suffield, Connecticut

What remains is very high technology manufacturing, such as jet engines, nuclear submarines, pharmaceuticals, robotics, scientific instruments, and medical devices. MIT (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) invented the format for university-industry relations in high tech fields, and spawned many software and hardware firms, some of which grew rapidly. [61] By the 21st century the region had become famous for its leadership roles in the fields of education, medicine and medical research, high-technology, finance, and tourism. [62]

Some industrial areas were slow in adjusting to the new service economy. In 2000, New England had two of the ten poorest cities (by percentage living below the poverty line) in the U.S.: the state capitals of Providence, Rhode Island and Hartford, Connecticut. [63] They were no longer in the bottom ten by 2010; Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire remain among the ten wealthiest states in the United States in terms of median household income and per capita income. [64]

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