East Coast of the United States
Map of the East Coast of the United States
|Time zone||UTC−5:00 (Eastern Time Zone (ETZ))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4:00 (Eastern Daylight Time (EDT))|
The East Coast of the United States, also known as the Eastern Seaboard, the Atlantic Coast, and the Atlantic Seaboard, is the coastline along which the Eastern United States meets the North Atlantic Ocean. The coastal states that have shoreline on the Atlantic Ocean are, from north to south, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
The coast, also known as the coastline or seashore, is the area where land meets the sea or ocean, or a line that forms the boundary between the land and the ocean or a lake. A precise line that can be called a coastline cannot be determined due to the Coastline paradox.
The Eastern United States, commonly referred to as the American East or simply the East, is the region of the United States east of the Appalachian Mountains.
The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the world's oceans, with an area of about 106,460,000 square kilometers. It covers approximately 20 percent of the Earth's surface and about 29 percent of its water surface area. It separates the "Old World" from the "New World".
The place name "East Coast" derives from the idea that the contiguous 48 states are defined by two major coastlines, one at the western edge and one on the eastern edge. Other terms for referring to this area include the "Eastern Seaboard" ("seaboard" being American English for coast), "Atlantic Coast", and "Atlantic Seaboard" (because the coastline lies along the Atlantic Ocean).
Toponymy is the study of place names (toponyms), their origins, meanings, use, and typology.
The West Coast or Pacific Coast is the coastline along which the continental Western United States meets the North Pacific Ocean. As a region, this term most often refers to the coastal states of California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. More specifically, it refers to an area defined on the east by the Alaska Range, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada, and Mojave Desert, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. The United States Census groups the five states of California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii together as the Pacific States division.
The fourteen states that have a shoreline on the Atlantic Ocean are, from north to south, the U.S. states of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.In addition, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia border tidal arms of the Atlantic (the Delaware River and the Potomac River, respectively). The states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, (via the Gulf of Mexico) as well as the territories of Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Navassa Island (the latter only bordering the Caribbean Sea) have Atlantic coastline, but are not included in the definition.
In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. Maine is the 12th smallest by area, the 9th least populous, and the 38th most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states. It is bordered by New Hampshire to the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast, and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec to the northeast and northwest respectively. Maine is the easternmost state in the contiguous United States, and the northernmost state east of the Great Lakes. It is known for its jagged, rocky coastline; low, rolling mountains; heavily forested interior; and picturesque waterways, as well as its seafood cuisine, especially lobster and clams. There is a humid continental climate throughout most of the state, including in coastal areas such as its most populous city of Portland. The capital is Augusta.
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. New Hampshire is the 5th smallest by area and the 10th least populous of the 50 states. Concord is the state capital, while Manchester is the largest city in the state. It has no general sales tax, nor is personal income taxed at either the state or local level. The New Hampshire primary is the first primary in the U.S. presidential election cycle. Its license plates carry the state motto, "Live Free or Die". The state's nickname, "The Granite State", refers to its extensive granite formations and quarries.
Although Vermont and West Virginia have no Atlantic coastline, they are sometimes grouped with the Eastern Seaboard states because of their locations in New England and the Old South,and their history as part of the land base of the original Thirteen Colonies (viz. the Colony of New Hampshire, the Colony of New York and the Colony of Virginia).
Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders the U.S. states of Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east, New York to the west, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. Vermont is the second-smallest by population and the sixth-smallest by area of the 50 U.S. states. The state capital is Montpelier, the least populous state capital in the United States. The most populous city, Burlington, is the least populous city to be the most populous city in a state. As of 2015, Vermont was the leading producer of maple syrup in the United States. It was ranked as the safest state in the country in 2016.
West Virginia is a state located in the Appalachian region in the Southern United States and is also considered to be a part of the Middle Atlantic States. It is bordered by Pennsylvania to the north, Maryland to the east and northeast, Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, and Ohio to the northwest. West Virginia is the 41st largest state by area, and is ranked 38th in population. The capital and largest city is Charleston.
New England is a geographical region composed of six states of the northeastern United States: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. It is bordered by the state of New York to the west and by 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 is New England's largest city as well as the capital of Massachusetts. The largest metropolitan area is Greater Boston with nearly a third of the entire region's population, which also includes Worcester, Massachusetts, Manchester, New Hampshire, and Providence, Rhode Island.
The original thirteen colonies of Great Britain in North America all lay along the East Coast.
The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called simply Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 31 December 1800. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". After the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.
Two additional U.S. states on the East Coast were not among the original thirteen colonies: Maine (became part of the English colony of Massachusetts in 1677)and Florida (part of New Spain until 1821, though held by the British from after the end of the French and Indian War until 1781).
The history of the area comprising the U.S. state of Maine spans thousands of years, measured from the earliest human settlement, or less than two hundred, measured from the advent of U.S. statehood in 1820. The present article will concentrate on the period of European contact and after.
The history of Florida can be traced to when the first Native Americans began to inhabit the peninsula as early as 14,000 years ago. They left behind artifacts and archeological evidence. Florida's written history begins with the arrival of Europeans; the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León in 1513 made the first textual records. The state received its name from this Spanish conquistador, who called the peninsula La Pascua Florida in recognition of the verdant landscape and because it was the Easter season, which the Spaniards called Pascua Florida.
The Viceroyalty of New Spain was an integral territorial entity of the Spanish Empire, established by Habsburg Spain during the Spanish colonization of the Americas. It covered a huge area that included territories in North America, South America, Asia and Oceania. It originated in 1521 after the fall of Mexico-Tenochtitlan, the main event of the Spanish conquest, which did not properly end until much later, as its territory continued to grow to the north. It was officially created on 8 March 1535 as a viceroyalty, the first of four viceroyalties Spain created in the Americas. Its first viceroy was Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco, and the capital of the viceroyalty was Mexico City, established on the ancient Mexico-Tenochtitlan.
The Middle Colonies (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Delaware) had been owned by the Dutch as New Netherland, until they were captured by the English in the mid-to-late 17th century.[ citation needed ]
There are three basic climate regions on the East Coast according to the Köppen climate classification from north to south based on the monthly mean temperature of the coldest month (January):
The region from northern Maine south to northern Rhode Island and Connecticut has a continental climate, with warm summers, and cold and snowy winters. The area from southern Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York City south to central Florida has a temperate climate, with long, hot summers and cold winters with occasional snow in the northern portions, and milder winters in the southern portions. Around south-central Florida southward (Stuart, south through the Florida Keys) has a tropical climate, which is frost free and is warm to hot all year.
Average monthly precipitation ranges from a slight late fall (November) maximum from Massachusetts northward (as at Portland, Maine), to a slight summer maximum in the Mid-Atlantic states from southern Connecticut south to Virginia (as at Wilmington, Delaware, and Norfolk, Virginia), to a more pronounced summer maximum from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, southward along the Southeastern United States coast to Savannah, Georgia. The Florida peninsula has a sharp wet-summer/dry-winter pattern, with 60 to 70 percent of precipitation falling between June and October in an average year, and a dry, and sunny late fall, winter, and early spring.
Although landfalls are rare, the Eastern seaboard is susceptible to hurricanes in the Atlantic hurricane season, officially running from June 1 to November 30, although hurricanes can occur before or after these dates.Hurricanes Hazel, Hugo, Bob, Isabel, Irene, Sandy, and most recently Florence are some of the more significant storms to have affected the region.
The East Coast is a low-relief, passive margin coast.It has been shaped by the Pleistocene glaciation in the far northern areas from New York City northward, with offshore islands such as Nantucket, Block Island, Fishers Island, the nearly peninsular Long Island and New York City's Staten Island the result of terminal moraines, with Massachusetts' unique peninsula of Cape Cod showing the additional action of outwash plains, besides terminal moraines. The coastal plain broadens southwards, separated from the Piedmont region by the Atlantic Seaboard fall line of the East Coast rivers, often marking the head of navigation and prominent sites of cities. The coastal areas from Long Island south to Florida are often made up of barrier islands that front the coastal areas, with the long stretches of sandy beaches. Many of the larger capes along the lower East Coast are in fact barrier islands, like the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Florida Keys are made up of limestone coral and provide the only coral reefs on the US mainland.
In 2010, the population of the states which have shoreline on the East Coast was estimated at 112,642,503 (36% of the country's total population). The East Coast is the most populated coastal area in the United States.
The primary Interstate Highway along the East Coast is Interstate 95, completed in 2018,which replaced the historic U.S. Route 1 (Atlantic Highway), the original federal highway that traversed all East Coast states, except Delaware. By water, the East Coast is connected from Boston, Massachusetts to Miami, Florida, by the Intracoastal Waterway, also known as the East Coast Canal, which was completed in 1912. Amtrak's Downeaster and Northeast Regional offer the main passenger rail service on the Seaboard. The Acela Express offers the only high-speed rail passenger service in the Americas. Between New York and Boston the Acela Express has up to a 54% share of the combined train and air passenger market.
Some of the largest airports in the United States are located in states which lie in the East Coast of the United States, such as John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Logan International Airport in Boston, Newark Liberty Airport in Newark, New Jersey, Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Baltimore–Washington International Airport near Baltimore, Washington-Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta, Miami International Airport in Miami, Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, Tampa International Airport in Tampa and Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Florida.
U.S. Route 1 (US 1) is a major north–south U.S. Highway that serves the East Coast of the United States. It runs 2,369 miles (3,813 km), from Key West, Florida north to Fort Kent, Maine, at the Canada–US border, making it the longest north–south road in the United States. US 1 is generally paralleled by I-95, though the former is significantly farther west (inland) between Jacksonville, Florida, and Petersburg, Virginia. The highway connects most of the major cities of the East Coast—including Miami, Jacksonville, Richmond, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Boston and Portland, passing from the Southeastern United States to New England.
Interstate 95 (I-95) is the main Interstate Highway on the East Coast of the United States, running largely parallel to the Atlantic Ocean coast and U.S. Highway 1, serving areas from Florida to Maine. In general, I-95 serves the major cities of the Eastern Seaboard and metropolitan areas such as Miami, Jacksonville, Savannah, and Fayetteville in the Southeast; and Richmond, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, and New York City in the Mid-Atlantic States up to New Haven, Providence, Boston, and Portland in New England. The route follows a more direct inland route between Savannah and Washington, D.C., notably bypassing the coastal metropolitan areas of Charleston and Norfolk-Virginia Beach, which require connections through other Interstate Highways.
Hurricane Gloria was the first significant tropical cyclone to strike the northeastern United States since Hurricane Agnes in 1972 and the first major storm to affect New York and Long Island directly since Hurricane Donna in 1960. It was a powerful Cape Verde hurricane that formed during the 1985 Atlantic hurricane season, originating from a tropical wave on September 16 in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. After remaining a weak tropical cyclone for several days, Gloria intensified into a hurricane on September 22 north of the Lesser Antilles. During that time, the storm had moved generally westward, although it turned to the northwest due to a weakening of the ridge. Gloria quickly intensified on September 24, and the next day reached peak winds of 145 mph (230 km/h). The hurricane weakened before striking the Outer Banks of North Carolina on September 27. Later that day, Gloria made two subsequent landfalls on Long Island and later western Connecticut, before becoming extratropical on September 28 over New England. The remnants moved through Atlantic Canada, eventually dissipating on October 2.
Hurricane Edna was a deadly and destructive major hurricane that impacted the United States East Coast in September of the 1954 Atlantic hurricane season. It was one of two hurricanes to strike Massachusetts in that year, the other being Hurricane Carol. The fifth tropical cyclone and storm of the season, as well as the fourth hurricane and second major hurricane, Edna developed from a tropical wave on September 2. Moving towards the north-northwest, Edna skirted the northern Leeward Islands as a tropical depression before turning more towards the west. The depression attained tropical storm status to the east of Puerto Rico and strengthened further to reach hurricane status by September 7. The storm rapidly intensified and reached its peak intensity of 125 mph (205 km/h) north of the Bahamas before weakening to Category 2 status near landfall in Massachusetts on September 11. Edna transitioned into an extratropical cyclone in Atlantic Canada before its remnants dissipated in the northern Atlantic.
Hurricane Belle was a strong tropical cyclone that caused moderate damage across the East Coast of the United States in August 1976. In late July, a tropical wave emerged off the west coast of Africa. Traversing the Atlantic Ocean for more than a week, the system eventually consolidated into a tropical depression near the Bahamas on August 6. Remaining nearly stationary for a day, the depression strengthened into a tropical storm on August 7 and a hurricane later that day as it acquired a northwest motion. Formation of an eye accompanied quick intensification and Belle reached its peak the following day with winds of 120 mph (195 km/h). The hurricane subsequently turned north and accelerated, skirting the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Early on August 10, Belle made landfall on Long Island, New York, as a minimal hurricane crossing Long Island Sound and hitting the central coast of Connecticut as strong tropical storm. Thereafter, Belle transitioned into an extratropical cyclone over New England before moving over Atlantic Canada. The system turned east while over the north Atlantic and ultimately dissipated on August 15 to the south of Iceland.
The 1944 Great Atlantic hurricane was a destructive and powerful tropical cyclone that swept across a large portion of the United States East Coast in September 1944. Impacts were most significant in New England, though significant effects were also felt along the Outer Banks, Mid-Atlantic states, and the Canadian Maritimes. Due to its ferocity and path, the storm drew comparisons to the 1938 Long Island Express, known as one of the worst storms in New England history.
Indigenous peoples of the Northeastern Woodlands include Native American tribes and First Nation bands residing in or originating from a cultural area encompassing the northeastern and Midwest United States and southeastern Canada. It is part of a broader grouping known as the Eastern Woodlands. The Northeastern Woodlands is divided into three major areas: the Coastal, Saint Lawrence Lowlands, and Great Lakes-Riverine zones.
Hurricane Edouard was the strongest hurricane in the 1996 Atlantic hurricane season, reaching winds of 145 mph (230 km/h) on its path. Edouard remained a major hurricane for eight days, an unusually long amount of time. A Cape Verde hurricane, the storm formed near the coast of Africa in the middle of August. It moved westward then curved northward, and persisted until early September when it became extratropical to the southeast of New England. Edouard was originally forecast to strike the northeast United States, but it produced hurricane-force gusts to portions of southeastern Massachusetts while remaining offshore. The winds caused minor damage totaling $20 million. In addition, the hurricane generated strong waves and rip currents to coastlines, killing two people in Ocean City, MD and causing numerous injuries.
Hurricane Gladys was a tropical cyclone that caused minor impact along the East Coast of the United States, Bermuda, and Atlantic Canada. The ninth named storm and fifth hurricane of the 1964 Atlantic hurricane season, Gladys developed from a tropical wave located east of the Lesser Antilles on September 13. Shortly thereafter, it strengthened into a tropical storm. On September 14, Gladys abruptly intensified into a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale. However, early on the following day, Gladys weakened slightly to a Category 1 hurricane. Between late on September 16 and late on September 17, the storm rapidly strengthened, peaking as a 145 mph (230 km/h) Category 4 hurricane on the latter. Gladys began weakening on the following day and curved northward on September 19.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is a commission of U.S. states formed to coordinate and manage fishery resources — including marine (saltwater) fish, shellfish, and anadromous fish - along the Atlantic coast of the United States.
Adventure Cycling Association's Atlantic Coast Bicycle Route is a 2,615-mile-long (4,208 km) bicycle touring route traversing the East Coast of the United States. The route has two connecting segments, extending nearly the entire length of the nation's eastern margin. The northern section of the route features historic New England coastal villages and towns, rural countrysides, and Amish farmlands. The route's southern section begins after the Mason–Dixon Line and is notable for the Civil War battlefields in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and the city of Richmond, Virginia. The northern section of the route can be ridden between late spring and late fall, and the southern section can be ridden year-round.
Hurricane Bob was one of the costliest hurricanes in New England history. The second named storm and first hurricane of the 1991 Atlantic hurricane season, Bob developed from an area of low pressure near The Bahamas on August 16. The depression steadily intensified, and became Tropical Storm Bob late on August 16. Bob curved north-northwestward as a tropical storm, but re-curved to the north-northeast after becoming a hurricane on August 17. As such, it brushed the Outer Banks of North Carolina on August 18 and August 19, and subsequently intensified into a major hurricane. After peaking in intensity with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 km/h), Bob weakened slightly as it approached the coast of New England. Some sources say the winds of Bob might have gone as high as 125 mph sustained.
In the late 19th century, many Portuguese, mainly from the islands of Azores and Madeira, migrated to the United States and established communities in cities such as Providence, Rhode Island; New Bedford, Massachusetts; and San Jose, California. Many of them also moved to Hawaii. There are an estimated 1,500,000 Portuguese Americans based on the Government Census Community Survey.
Tropical Storm Dean caused minor flooding along portions of the East Coast of the United States in September 1983. The seventh tropical cyclone and fourth named storm the 1983 Atlantic hurricane season, Dean developed from a frontal low to the northeast of the Bahamas on September 26. Initially subtropical, it gained characteristics of a tropical cyclone while tracking slowly north-northeastward. By September 27, the system was reclassified as Tropical Storm Dean. While tracking northward on September 28, Dean peaked with winds of 65 mph (100 km/h), shortly before curving west-northwestward and slowly leveling-off in intensity. Eventually, Dean made landfall in Virginia on the Delmarva Peninsula on September 29 as a weakening tropical storm. Dean rapidly weakened over land and was no longer classifiable as a tropical cyclone by early on October 1.
The Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP) is a cooperative state-federal program of U.S. states and the District of Columbia. ACCSP was established to be the principal source of fisheries-dependent information on the Atlantic Coast of the United States.
The 1850 Atlantic hurricane season was the last season excluded from the scope of the official Atlantic hurricane database. Although meteorological records are sparse and generally incomplete, they indicate that three significant tropical cyclones affected land, each causing some degree of damage. The first system struck North Carolina on July 18, causing significant damage before battering the Mid-Atlantic states with high tides, strong winds, and heavy rainfall. Torrential rainfall caused river flooding from Baltimore to Philadelphia, particularly along the Schuylkill River, which took the lives of 20 people in various incidents. Strong winds damaged property and public facilities in and around New York City, and damaging floods extended into central and northern New England. Crops and railroad infrastructure suffered throughout the entire region.