New England

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New England
Boston skyline from Longfellow Bridge September 2017 panorama 2.jpg
Connecticut River Valley (8575464880).jpg
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Burlington vermont skyline.jpg
Gay Head or Aquinah.jpg
Portland, Maine Lighthouse.jpg
Providence, RI skyline .jpg
Left-right from top: Boston skyline, the Connecticut River valley, the Presidential Range, Burlington skyline, Aquinnah, Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, skyline of Providence
None official. "An appeal to Heaven" and "Nunquam libertas gratior extat" (Latin: "Nowhere does liberty appear in a more gracious form") are common de facto mottos.
New England USA.svg
Location within the United States
Largest metropolitan area
Largest city Boston
  Total71,991.8 sq mi (186,458 km2)
  Land62,688.4 sq mi (162,362 km2)
 (2017 est.) [1]
  Density210/sq mi (79/km2)
Demonym(s) New Englander, Yankee [2]
GDP (nominal)
  Total$1.1 trillion (2018-Q2)
  per capita$73,000 (2018-Q2)
Dialects New England English, New England French
Brother Jonathan, the historical national personification of New England Brother Jonathan (Transparent).png
Brother Jonathan, the historical national personification of New England

New England is a region composed of six states in the northeastern United States: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. It does not contain New York. [lower-alpha 1] 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 (the second-largest city in New England), Manchester, New Hampshire (the largest city in New Hampshire), and Providence, Rhode Island (the capital and largest city of Rhode Island).

Maine State of the United States of America

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.

Vermont State of the United States of America

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. In crime statistics, it was ranked since 2016 as the safest state in the country.

New Hampshire State of the United States of America

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.


In 1620, Puritan Separatist Pilgrims from England established Plymouth Colony, the second successful English settlement in America, following the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia founded in 1607. Ten years later, more Puritans established Massachusetts Bay Colony north of Plymouth Colony. Over the next 126 years, people in the region fought in four French and Indian Wars, until the English colonists and their Iroquois allies defeated the French and their Algonquian allies in America. In 1692, the town of Salem, Massachusetts and surrounding areas experienced the Salem witch trials, one of the most infamous cases of mass hysteria in history. [10]

Pilgrims (Plymouth Colony) early settlers of Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts

The Pilgrims or Pilgrim Fathers were the first English settlers of the Plymouth Colony in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Their leadership came from the religious congregations of Brownist Puritans who had fled the volatile political environment in England for the relative calm and tolerance of 17th-century Holland in the Netherlands. They held Puritan Calvinist religious beliefs but, unlike other Puritans, they maintained that their congregations needed to be separated from the English state church. They were also concerned that they might lose their cultural identity if they remained in the Netherlands, so they arranged with investors to establish a new colony in America. The colony was established in 1620 and became the second successful English settlement in America, following the founding of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. The Pilgrims' story became a central theme in the history and culture of the United States.

Plymouth Colony English colonial venture in North America (1620-1691)

Plymouth Colony was an English colonial venture in North America from 1620 to 1691 at a location that had previously been surveyed and named by Captain John Smith. The settlement served as the capital of the colony and developed as the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts. At its height, Plymouth Colony occupied most of the southeastern portion of Massachusetts.

Jamestown, Virginia Fort and Town in Virginia, United States

The Jamestown settlement in the Colony of Virginia was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. It was located on the east bank of the James (Powhatan) River about 2.5 mi (4 km) southwest of the center of modern Williamsburg. It was established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 4, 1607 O.S.;(May 14, 1607 N.S.), and was considered permanent after brief abandonment in 1610. It followed several failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke, established in 1585 on Roanoke Island. Jamestown served as the capital of the colony of Virginia for 83 years, from 1616 until 1699.

In the late 18th century, political leaders from the New England colonies initiated resistance to Britain's taxes without the consent of the colonists. Residents of Rhode Island captured and burned a British ship which was enforcing unpopular trade restrictions, and residents of Boston threw British tea into the harbor. Britain responded with a series of punitive laws stripping Massachusetts of self-government which were termed the "Intolerable Acts" by the colonists. These confrontations 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.

No taxation without representation slogan of the American Revolution

"No taxation without representation" is a slogan originating during the 1700s that summarized one of 27 colonial grievances of the American colonists in the Thirteen Colonies, which was one of the major causes of the American Revolution. In short, many in those colonies believed that, as they were not directly represented in the distant British Parliament, any laws it passed affecting the colonists were illegal under the Bill of Rights 1689, and were a denial of their rights as Englishmen.

<i>Gaspee</i> Affair schooner

The Gaspee Affair was a significant event in the lead-up to the American Revolution. HMS Gaspee was a British customs schooner that had been enforcing the Navigation Acts in and around Newport, Rhode Island in 1772. It ran aground in shallow water while chasing the packet ship Hannah on June 9 near Gaspee Point in Warwick, Rhode Island. A group of men led by Abraham Whipple and John Brown attacked, boarded, and torched the ship.

Boston Tea Party political protest in Boston in the British colony of Massachusetts

The Boston Tea Party was a political and mercantile protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 16, 1773. The target was the Tea Act of May 10, 1773, which allowed the British East India company to sell tea from China in American colonies without paying taxes apart from those imposed by the Townshend Acts. American Patriots strongly opposed the taxes in the Townshend Act as a violation of their rights. Demonstrators, some disguised as Native Americans, destroyed an entire shipment of tea sent by the East India Company.

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. The Atlantic fall line lies close to the coast, which enabled numerous cities to take advantage of water power along the many rivers, such as the Connecticut River, which bisects the region from north to south.

A fall line is the geomorphologic break that demarcates the border between an upland region of relatively hard crystalline basement rock and a coastal plain of softer sedimentary rock. A fall line is typically prominent when crossed by a river, for there will often be rapids or waterfalls. Many times a fall line will recede upstream as the river cuts out the uphill dense material, often forming "c"-shaped waterfalls and exposing bedrock shoals. Because of these features riverboats typically cannot travel any farther inland without portaging, unless locks are built there. On the other hand, the rapid change in elevation of the water, and the resulting energy release, makes the fall line a good location for water mills, grist mills, and sawmills. Because of the need for a river port leading to the ocean, and a ready supply of water power, settlements often develop where rivers cross a fall line.

Connecticut River river in the New England region of the United States

The Connecticut River is the longest river in the New England region of the United States, flowing roughly southward for 406 miles (653 km) through four states. It rises at the U.S. border with Quebec, Canada, and discharges at Long Island Sound. Its watershed encompasses five U.S. states and one Canadian province, 11,260 square miles (29,200 km2) via 148 tributaries, 38 of which are major rivers. It produces 70% of Long Island Sound's fresh water, discharging at 19,600 cubic feet (560 m3) per second.

Each state is subdivided into small incorporated municipalities known as towns, many of which are governed by town meetings. The only unincorporated areas exist in the sparsely populated northern regions of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. New England is one of the 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.


The earliest known inhabitants of New England were American Indians who spoke a variety of the Eastern Algonquian languages. [12] Prominent tribes included the Abenakis, Mi'kmaq, Penobscot, Pequots, Mohegans, Narragansetts, Pocumtucks, and Wampanoag. [12] Prior to the arrival of European settlers, 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 Maine. [14]

Eastern Algonquian languages

The Eastern Algonquian languages constitute a subgroup of the Algonquian languages. Prior to European contact, Eastern Algonquian consisted of at least 17 languages, collectively occupying the Atlantic coast of North America and adjacent inland areas from what are now the Maritimes of Canada to North Carolina. The available information about individual languages varies widely. Some are known only from one or two documents containing words and phrases collected by missionaries, explorers or settlers, and some documents contain fragmentary evidence about more than one language or dialect. Nearly all of the Eastern Algonquian languages are extinct. Miꞌkmaq and Malecite-Passamaquoddy have appreciable numbers of speakers, but Western Abenaki and Delaware are each reported to have fewer than 10 speakers after 2000.

The Abenaki are a Native American tribe and First Nation. They are one of the Algonquian-speaking peoples of northeastern North America. The Abenaki live in Quebec and the Maritimes of Canada and in the New England region of the United States, a region called Wabanahkik in the Eastern Algonquian languages. The Abenaki are one of the five members of the Wabanaki Confederacy.

Norridgewock archaeological site

Norridgewock was the name of both an Indian village and a band of the Abenaki Native Americans/First Nations, an Eastern Algonquian tribe of the United States and Canada. The French of New France called the village Kennebec. The tribe occupied an area in the interior of Maine. During colonial times, this area was territory disputed between British and French colonists, and was set along the claimed western border of Acadia, the western bank of the Kennebec River.

The Penobscot lived along the Penobscot River in Maine. The Narragansetts and smaller tribes under their sovereignty lived in 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 lived in the Connecticut region. The Connecticut River Valley linked numerous tribes 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

Title page of John Smith's A Description of New England (1616; 1865 reprint) Descr.of.New England-Title page.png
Title page of John Smith's A Description of New England (1616; 1865 reprint)

On April 10, 1606, King James I of England issued a charter for the Virginia Company, which comprised the London Company and the Plymouth Company. These two privately funded ventures were intended to claim land for England, to conduct trade, and to return a profit. In 1620, the Pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower and established Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, beginning the history of permanent European settlement in New England. [16]

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] The Pilgrims wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact before leaving the ship, [20] and it became 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 English map of New England c. 1670 depicts the area around modern Portsmouth, New Hampshire Pascatway River New England.jpg
An 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 it gained some importance during King Philip's War [30] which pitted the colonists and their Indian allies against a widespread Indian uprising from June 1675 through April 1678, 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, [32] during which New England was allied with the Iroquois Confederacy and New France was allied with the Wabanaki Confederacy. Mainland Nova Scotia came under the control of New England after the Siege of Port Royal (1710), but both New Brunswick and most of Maine remained contested territory between New England and New France. The British eventually defeated the French in 1763, opening the Connecticut River Valley for British settlement into western New Hampshire and 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. [33]

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. New England combo flag.svg
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.
New England's Siege of Louisbourg (1745) by Peter Monamy Louisbourg assiegee en 1745.jpg
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. [39] 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. [40]

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. [41]

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

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. [43] The nickname "Yankeeland" was sometimes used to denote the New England area, especially among Southerners and the British. [44]

Vermont was admitted to statehood in 1791 after settling a dispute with New York. The territory of Maine had been a part of Massachusetts, but it was granted statehood on March 15, 1820 as part of the Missouri Compromise. [45] Today, New England is defined as the six states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. [5]

New England's economic growth relied heavily on trade with the British Empire, [46] 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. [47] Radical delegates within the convention proposed the region's secession from the United States, but they were outnumbered by moderates who opposed the idea. [48]

Politically, the region often disagreed with the rest of the country. [49] 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.

Many notable literary and intellectual figures were New Englanders, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, George Bancroft, and William H. Prescott. [50]

Industrial Revolution

The Slater Mill Historic Site in Pawtucket, Rhode Island Pawtucket slater mill.jpg
The Slater Mill Historic Site in Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Bread and Roses Strike. Massachusetts National Guard troops surround strikers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1912. 1912 Lawrence Textile Strike 1.jpg
Bread and Roses Strike. Massachusetts National Guard troops surround strikers in Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1912.

New England was key to the industrial revolution in the United States. [51] The Blackstone Valley running through Massachusetts and Rhode Island has been called the birthplace of America's industrial revolution. [52] In 1787, the first cotton mill in America was founded in the North Shore seaport of Beverly, Massachusetts as the Beverly Cotton Manufactory. [53] 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, Massachusetts, Lowell, Massachusetts, Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and Lewiston, Maine became centers of the textile industry following the innovations at Slater Mill and the Beverly Cotton Manufactory.[ citation needed ]

The Connecticut River Valley became a crucible for industrial innovation, particularly the Springfield Armory, pioneering such advances as interchangeable parts and the assembly line which influenced manufacturing processes all around the world. [54] From early in the nineteenth century until the mid-twentieth, the region surrounding Springfield, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut served as the United States' epicenter for advanced manufacturing, drawing skilled workers from all over the world. [55] [56]

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. [57]

New England as a whole was the most industrialized part of the U.S. By 1850, the region accounted for well over a quarter of all manufacturing value in the country and over a third of its industrial workforce. [58] It was also the most literate and most educated region in the country. [58]

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. [59] 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. [60]

20th century and beyond

Autumn in New England, watercolor, Maurice Prendergast. C. 1910-1913 Autumn in New England Maurice Prendergast.jpeg
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 Party 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.

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.

Fall foliage in the town of Stowe, Vermont NewEngland Fall.jpg
Fall foliage in the town of Stowe, Vermont

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. [61] The shoe industry subsequently left the region as well.

Alexander King House in Suffield, Connecticut AlexanderKingHouseSuffieldCT.jpg
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. [62] 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. [63]

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. [64] 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. [65]


A political and geographical map of New England shows the coastal plains in the southeast, and hills, mountains and valleys in the west and the north. New england ref 2001.jpg
A political and geographical map of New England shows the coastal plains in the southeast, and hills, mountains and valleys in the west and the north.
A portion of the north-central Pioneer Valley in Sunderland, Massachusetts Pioneer Valley South From Mt. Sugarloaf.jpg
A portion of the north-central Pioneer Valley in Sunderland, Massachusetts

The states of New England have a combined area of 71,991.8 square miles (186,458 km2), making the region slightly larger than the state of Washington and larger than England. [66] [67] Maine alone constitutes nearly one-half of the total area of New England, yet is only the 39th-largest state, slightly smaller than Indiana. The remaining states are among the smallest in the U.S., including the smallest state—Rhode Island.


New England's long rolling hills, mountains, and jagged coastline are glacial landforms resulting from the retreat of ice sheets approximately 18,000 years ago, during the last glacial period. [68] [69]

New England is geologically a part of the New England province, an exotic terrane region consisting of the Appalachian Mountains, the New England highlands, and the seaboard lowlands. [70] The Appalachian Mountains roughly follow the border between New England and New York. The Berkshires in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and the Green Mountains in Vermont, as well as the Taconic Mountains, form a spine of Precambrian rock. [71]

The Appalachians extend northwards into New Hampshire as the White Mountains, and then into Maine and Canada. Mount Washington in New Hampshire is the highest peak in the Northeast, although it is not among the ten highest peaks in the eastern United States. [72] It is the site of the second highest recorded wind speed on Earth, [73] [74] and has the reputation of having the world's most severe weather. [75] [76]

The coast of the region, extending from southwestern Connecticut to northeastern Maine, is dotted with lakes, hills, marshes and wetlands, and sandy beaches. [69] Important valleys in the region include the Connecticut River Valley and the Merrimack Valley. [69] The longest river is the Connecticut River, which flows from northeastern New Hampshire for 407 mi (655 km), emptying into Long Island Sound, roughly bisecting the region. Lake Champlain, which forms part of the border between Vermont and New York, is the largest lake in the region, followed by Moosehead Lake in Maine and Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. [69]


Koppen climate types in New England New England Koppen.png
Köppen climate types in New England
The White Mountains of New Hampshire are part of the Appalachian Mountains. FranconiaRidgeTrail.jpg
The White Mountains of New Hampshire are part of the Appalachian Mountains.

The climate of New England varies greatly across its 500 miles (800 km) span from northern Maine to southern Connecticut:

Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and western Massachusetts have a humid continental climate (Dfb in Köppen climate classification). In this region the winters are long, cold, and heavy snow is common (most locations receive 60 to 120 inches (1,500 to 3,000 mm) of snow annually in this region). The summer's months are moderately warm, though summer is rather short and rainfall is spread through the year.

In central and eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and northern Connecticut, the same humid continental prevails (Dfa), though summers are warm to hot, winters are shorter, and there is less snowfall (especially in the coastal areas where it is often warmer).

Southern and coastal Connecticut is the broad transition zone from the cold continental climates of the north to the milder subtropical climates to the south. The frost free season is greater than 180 days across far southern/coastal Connecticut, coastal Rhode Island, and the islands (Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard). Winters also tend to be much sunnier in southern Connecticut and southern Rhode Island compared to the rest of New England. [77]


Regions of NE cropped.png


Largest self-reported ancestry groups in New England. Americans of Irish descent form a plurality in most of Massachusetts, while Americans of English descent form a plurality in much of the central parts of Vermont and New Hampshire as well as nearly all of Maine. New England ancestry by county - updated.png
Largest self-reported ancestry groups in New England. Americans of Irish descent form a plurality in most of Massachusetts, while Americans of English descent form a plurality in much of the central parts of Vermont and New Hampshire as well as nearly all of Maine.

In 2010, New England had a population of 14,444,865, a growth of 3.8% from 2000. [78] This grew to an estimated 14,727,584 by 2015. [79] Massachusetts is the most populous state with 6,794,422 residents, while Vermont is the least populous state with 626,042 residents. [78] Boston is by far the region's most populous city and metropolitan area.

Although a great disparity exists between New England's northern and southern portions, the region's average population density is 234.93 inhabitants/sq mi (90.7/km2). New England has a significantly higher population density than that of the U.S. as a whole (79.56/sq mi), or even just the contiguous 48 states (94.48/sq mi). Three-quarters of the population of New England, and most of the major cities, are in the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The combined population density of these states is 786.83/sq mi, compared to northern New England's 63.56/sq mi (2000 census).

According to the 2006–08 American Community Survey, 48.7% of New Englanders were male and 51.3% were female. Approximately 22.4% of the population were under 18 years of age; 13.5% were over 65 years of age. The six states of New England have the lowest birth rate in the U.S. [80]

World's largest Irish flag in Boston. People who claim Irish descent constitute the largest ethnic group in New England. World's largest Irish flag--swaying in the wind (Boston, MA) (13202190293).jpg
World's largest Irish flag in Boston. People who claim Irish descent constitute the largest ethnic group in New England.

White Americans make up the majority of New England's population at 83.4% of the total population, Hispanic and Latino Americans are New England's largest minority, and they are the second-largest group in the region behind non-Hispanic European Americans. As of 2014, Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 10.2% of New England's population. Connecticut had the highest proportion at 13.9%, while Vermont had the lowest at 1.3%. There were nearly 1.5 million Hispanic and Latino individuals reported in New England in 2014. Puerto Ricans were the most numerous of the Hispanic and Latino subgroups. Over 660,000 Puerto Ricans lived in New England in 2014, forming 4.5% of the population. The Dominican population is over 200,000, and the Mexican and Guatemalan populations are each over 100,000. [81] Americans of Cuban descent are scant in number; there were roughly 26,000 Cuban Americans in the region in 2014. People of all other Hispanic and Latino ancestries, including Salvadoran, Colombian, and Bolivian, formed 2.5% of New England's population, and numbered over 361,000 combined. [81]

According to the 2014 American Community Survey, the top ten largest reported European ancestries were the following: [82]

English is, by far, the most common language spoken at home. Approximately 81.3% of all residents (11.3 million people) over the age of five spoke only English at home. Roughly 1,085,000 people (7.8% of the population) spoke Spanish at home, and roughly 970,000 people (7.0% of the population) spoke other Indo-European languages at home. [84] Over 403,000 people (2.9% of the population) spoke an Asian or Pacific Island language at home. [85] Slightly fewer (about 1%) spoke French at home, [86] although this figure is above 20% in northern New England, which borders francophone Québec.[ citation needed ] Roughly 99,000 people (0.7% of the population) spoke languages other than these at home. [85]

As of 2014, approximately 87% of New England's inhabitants were born in the U.S., while over 12% were foreign-born. [87] 35.8% of foreign-born residents were born in Latin America, 28.6% were born in Asia, 22.9% were born in Europe, and 8.5% were born in Africa. [88]

Southern New England forms an integral part of the BosWash megalopolis, a conglomeration of urban centers that spans from Boston to Washington, D.C. The region includes three of the four most densely populated states in the U.S.; only New Jersey has a higher population density than the states of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

Greater Boston, which includes parts of southern New Hampshire, has a total population of approximately 4.8 million, [89] while over half the population of New England falls inside Boston's Combined Statistical Area of over 8.2 million. [90]

Largest cities

The most populous cities as of the Census Bureau's 2014 estimates were (metropolitan areas in parentheses): [89] [91]

  1. Flag of Massachusetts.svg Boston, Massachusetts: 655,884 (4,739,385)
  2. Flag of Massachusetts.svg Worcester, Massachusetts: 183,016 (931,802)
  3. Flag of Rhode Island.svg Providence, Rhode Island: 179,154 (1,609,533)
  4. Flag of Massachusetts.svg Springfield, Massachusetts: 153,991 (630,672)
  5. Flag of Connecticut.svg Bridgeport, Connecticut: 147,612 (945,816)
  6. Flag of Connecticut.svg New Haven, Connecticut: 130,282 (861,238)
  7. Flag of Connecticut.svg Stamford, Connecticut: 128,278 (part of Bridgeport's MSA)
  8. Flag of Connecticut.svg Hartford, Connecticut: 124,705 (1,213,225)
  9. Flag of New Hampshire.svg Manchester, New Hampshire: 110,448 (405,339)
  10. Flag of Massachusetts.svg Lowell, Massachusetts: 109,945 (part of Greater Boston)

During the 20th century, urban expansion in regions surrounding New York City has become an important economic influence on neighboring Connecticut, parts of which belong to the New York metropolitan area. The U.S. Census Bureau groups Fairfield, New Haven and Litchfield counties in western Connecticut together with New York City, and other parts of New York and New Jersey as a combined statistical area. [92]

Cities and urban areas

Metropolitan areas

The following are metropolitan statistical areas as defined by the United States Census Bureau.

State capitals


Old Port (Wharf Street) in Portland, Maine TheOldPort.jpg
Old Port (Wharf Street) in Portland, Maine

Several factors combine to make the New England economy unique. The region is distant from the geographic center of the country, and it is a relatively small region but densely populated. It historically has been an important center of industry and manufacturing and a supplier of natural resource products, such as granite, lobster, and codfish. The service industry is important, including tourism, education, financial and insurance services, and architectural, building, and construction services. The U.S. Department of Commerce has called the New England economy a microcosm for the entire U.S. economy. [93]

The region underwent a long period of deindustrialization in the first half of the 20th century, as traditional manufacturing companies relocated to the Midwest, with textile and furniture manufacturing migrating to the South. In the late-20th century, an increasing portion of the regional economy included high technology, military defense industry, finance and insurance services, and education and health services. As of 2015, the GDP of New England was $953.9 billion. [94]

Vermont maple syrup Vermont maple syrup in a tin issued by the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association.jpg
Vermont maple syrup

New England exports food products ranging from fish to lobster, cranberries, potatoes, and maple syrup. About half of the region's exports consist of industrial and commercial machinery, such as computers and electronic and electrical equipment. Granite is quarried at Barre, Vermont, [95] guns made at Springfield, Massachusetts and Saco, Maine, submarines at Groton, Connecticut and Bath, Maine, and hand tools at Turners Falls, Massachusetts.

Urban centers

In 2017, Boston was ranked as having the ninth-most competitive financial center in the world and the fourth-most competitive in the United States. [96] Boston-based Fidelity Investments helped popularize the mutual fund in the 1980s and has made Boston one of the top financial centers in the United States. [97] [98] The city is home to the headquarters of Santander Bank and a center for venture capital firms. State Street Corporation specializes in asset management and custody services and is based in the city.

Boston is also a printing and publishing center. [99] Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is headquartered there, along with Bedford-St. Martin's and Beacon Press. The city is also home to the Hynes Convention Center in the Back Bay, and the Seaport Hotel and Seaport World Trade Center and Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on the South Boston waterfront. [100]

The General Electric Corporation announced its decision to move the company's global headquarters to the Boston Seaport District from Fairfield, Connecticut in 2016, citing factors including Boston's preeminence in the realm of higher education. [101] The city also holds the headquarters to several major athletic and footwear companies, including Converse, New Balance, and Reebok. Rockport, Puma, and Wolverine World Wide have headquarters or regional offices [102] just outside the city. [103]

Hartford is the historic international center of the insurance industry, with companies such as Aetna, Conning & Company, The Hartford, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, The Phoenix Companies, and Hartford Steam Boiler based in the city, and The Travelers Companies and Lincoln National Corporation have major operations in the city. It is also home to the corporate headquarters of U.S. Fire Arms Mfg. Co., United Technologies, and Virtus Investment Partners. [104]

Fairfield County, Connecticut has a large concentration of investment management firms in the area, most notably Bridgewater Associates (one of the world's largest hedge fund companies), Aladdin Capital Management, and Point72 Asset Management. Moreover, many international banks have their North American headquarters in Fairfield County, such as Royal Bank of Scotland Group and UBS.


Agriculture is limited by the area's rocky soil, cool climate, and small area. Some New England states, however, are ranked highly among U.S. states for particular areas of production. Maine is ranked ninth for aquaculture, [105] and has abundant potato fields in its northeast part. Vermont is fifteenth for dairy products, [106] and Connecticut and Massachusetts seventh and eleventh for tobacco, respectively. [107] [108] Cranberries are grown in Massachusetts' Cape Cod-Plymouth-South Shore area, and blueberries in Maine.


Seabrook Station Nuclear Power Plant in Seabrook, New Hampshire Seabrook 2009-2.jpg
Seabrook Station Nuclear Power Plant in Seabrook, New Hampshire

The region is mostly energy-efficient compared to the U.S. at large, with every state but Maine ranking within the ten most energy-efficient states; [109] every state in New England also ranks within the ten most expensive states for electricity prices. [110]


Unemployment rates in New England
Employment areaOctober 2010October 2011October 2012October 2013December 2014December 2015 [111] December 2016 [112] Net change
United States9.−5.0
New England8.−4.7
New Hampshire5.−3.1
Rhode Island11.510.410.−6.5

As of January 2017, employment is stronger in New England than in the rest of the United States. During the Great Recession, unemployment rates ballooned across New England as elsewhere; however, in the years that followed, these rates declined steadily, with New Hampshire and Massachusetts having the lowest unemployment rates in the country, respectively. The most extreme swing was in Rhode Island, which had an unemployment rate above 10% following the recession, but which saw this rate decline by over 6% in six years.

As of December 2016, the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) with the lowest unemployment rate, 2.1%, was Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont; the MSA with the highest rate, 4.9%, was Waterbury, Connecticut. [113]

Overall tax burden

In 2018, four of the six New England states were among the top ten states in the country in terms of taxes paid per taxpayer. The rankings included #3 Maine (11.02%), #4 Vermont (10.94%), #6 Connecticut (10.19%), and #7 Rhode Island (10.14%). Additionally New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Rhode Island took four of the top five spots for "Highest Property Tax as a Percentage of Personal Income". [114]


Town meetings

A New England town meeting in Huntington, Vermont Huntington town meeting.jpg
A New England town meeting in Huntington, Vermont

New England town meetings were derived from meetings held by church elders, and are still an integral part of government in many New England towns. At such meetings, any citizen of the town may discuss issues with other members of the community and vote on them. This is the strongest example of direct democracy in the U.S. today, and the strong democratic tradition was even apparent in the early 19th century, when Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America :

Flag of the New England Governor's Conference, which uses a blue field instead of the traditional red. Flag adopted by the New England Governors' Conference in 1998.jpg
Flag of the New England Governor's Conference, which uses a blue field instead of the traditional red.

By contrast, James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 55 that, regardless of the assembly, "passion never fails to wrest the scepter from reason. Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob." [116] The use and effectiveness of town meetings is still discussed by scholars, as well as the possible application of the format to other regions and countries. [117]



State and national elected officials in New England recently have been elected mainly from the Democratic Party. [118] The region is generally considered to be the most liberal in the United States, with more New Englanders identifying as liberals than Americans elsewhere. In 2010, four of six of the New England states were polled as the most liberal in the United States. [119]

Flag of the New England Governor's Conference (NEGC) New England flag 1988.svg
Flag of the New England Governor's Conference (NEGC)

The six states of New England voted for the Democratic presidential nominee in the 1992, 1996, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 elections, and every New England state other than New Hampshire voted for Al Gore in the presidential election of 2000. In the 113th Congress, the House delegations from all six states of New England were all Democratic. New England is home to the only two independents currently serving in the Senate, both of whom caucus with the Democratic Party: Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, [120] [121] representing Vermont, and Angus King, an Independent representing Maine.

In the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama carried all six New England states by 9 percentage points or more. [122] He carried every county in New England except for Piscataquis County, Maine, which he lost by 4% to Senator John McCain (R-AZ). Pursuant to the reapportionment following the 2010 census, New England collectively has 33 electoral votes.

The following table presents the vote percentage for the popular-vote winner for each New England state, New England as a whole, and the United States as a whole, in each presidential election from 1900 to 2016, with the vote percentage for the Republican candidate shaded in red and the vote percentage for the Democratic candidate shaded in blue:

YearConnecticutMaineMassachusettsNew HampshireRhode IslandVermontNew EnglandUnited States
2016 54.6%47.8%60.0%46.8%54.4%56.7%55.3%48.2%
2012 58.1%56.3%60.7%52.0%62.7%66.6%59.1%51.1%
2008 60.6%57.7%61.8%54.1%62.9%67.5%60.6%52.9%
2004 54.3%53.6%61.9%50.2%59.4%58.9%57.7%50.7%
2000 55.9%49.1%59.8%48.1%61.0%50.6%56.1%48.4%
1996 52.8%51.6%61.5%49.3%59.7%53.4%56.8%49.2%
1992 42.2%38.8%47.5%38.9%47.0%46.1%44.4%43.0%
1988 52.0%55.3%53.2%62.5%55.6%51.1%49.5%53.4%
1984 60.7%60.8%51.2%68.7%51.7%57.9%56.2%58.8%
1980 48.2%45.6%41.9%57.7%47.7%44.4%44.7%50.8%
1976 52.1%48.9%56.1%54.7%55.4%54.3%51.7%50.1%
1972 58.6%61.5%54.2%64.0%53.0%62.7%52.5%60.7%
1968 49.5%55.3%63.0%52.1%64.0%52.8%56.1%43.4%
1964 67.8%68.8%76.2%63.9%80.9%66.3%72.8%61.1%
1960 53.7%57.0%60.2%53.4%63.6%58.6%56.0%49.7%
1956 63.7%70.9%59.3%66.1%58.3%72.2%62.0%57.4%
1952 55.7%66.0%54.2%60.9%50.9%71.5%56.1%55.2%
1948 49.5%56.7%54.7%52.4%57.6%61.5%51.5%49.6%
1944 52.3%52.4%52.8%52.1%58.6%57.1%52.4%53.4%
1940 53.4%51.1%53.1%53.2%56.7%54.8%52.8%54.7%
1936 55.3%55.5%51.2%49.7%53.1%56.4%50.9%60.8%
1932 48.5%55.8%50.6%50.4%55.1%57.7%49.1%57.4%
1928 53.6%68.6%50.2%58.7%50.2%66.9%53.2%58.2%
1924 61.5%72.0%62.3%59.8%59.6%78.2%63.3%54.0%
1920 62.7%68.9%68.5%59.8%64.0%75.8%66.7%60.3%
1916 49.8%51.0%50.5%49.1%51.1%62.4%51.1%49.2%
1912 39.2%39.4%35.5%39.5%39.0%37.1%36.6%41.8%
1908 59.4%63.0%58.2%59.3%60.8%75.1%60.2%51.6%
1904 58.1%67.4%57.9%60.1%60.6%78.0%60.4%56.4%
1900 56.9%61.9%57.6%59.3%59.7%75.7%59.4%51.6%

Political party strength

Judging purely by party registration rather than voting patterns, New England today is one of the most Democratic regions in the U.S. [123] [124] [125] According to Gallup, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont are "solidly Democratic", Maine "leans Democratic", and New Hampshire is a swing state. [126] Though New England is today considered a Democratic Party stronghold, much of the region was staunchly Republican before the mid-twentieth century. This changed in the late 20th century, in large part due to demographic shifts [127] and the Republican Party's adoption of socially conservative platforms as part of their strategic shift towards the South. [60] For example, Vermont voted Republican in every presidential election but one from 1856 through 1988, and has voted Democratic every election since. Maine and Vermont were the only two states in the nation to vote against Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt all four times he ran for president. Republicans in New England are today considered by both liberals and conservatives to be more moderate (socially liberal) compared to Republicans in other parts of the U.S. [128]

Elected as an independent, but caucuses with the Democratic Party.
StateGovernorSenior U.S. SenatorJunior U.S. SenatorU.S. House DelegationUpper House MajorityLower House Majority
CT N. Lamont R. Blumenthal C. Murphy Democratic 5–0Democratic 21–13Democratic 92–59
ME J. Mills S. Collins A. King [†] Democratic 2-0Democratic 21–14Democratic 88–56–6
MA C. Baker E. Warren E. Markey Democratic 9–0Democratic 34–6Democratic 127–32
NH C. Sununu J. Shaheen M. Hassan Democratic 2-0Democratic 14–10Democratic 233-167
RI G. Raimondo J. Reed S. Whitehouse Democratic 2–0Democratic 33–5Democratic 66-9
VT P. Scott P. Leahy B. Sanders [†] Democratic 1–0Democratic 21–7–2Democratic 83–53–7–7
Alumni Hall at Saint Anselm College has served as a backdrop for the media reports during the New Hampshire primary. Alumni Hall 1889 Sun.jpg
Alumni Hall at Saint Anselm College has served as a backdrop for the media reports during the New Hampshire primary.

New Hampshire primary

Historically, the New Hampshire primary has been the first in a series of nationwide political party primary elections held in the United States every four years. Held in the state of New Hampshire, it usually marks the beginning of the U.S. presidential election process. Even though few delegates are chosen from New Hampshire, the primary has always been pivotal to both New England and American politics. One college in particular, Saint Anselm College, has been home to numerous national presidential debates and visits by candidates to its campus. [129]


Colleges and universities

New England is home to four of the eight Ivy League universities. Pictured here is Dartmouth Hall on the campus of Dartmouth College. Dartmouth-hall.jpg
New England is home to four of the eight Ivy League universities. Pictured here is Dartmouth Hall on the campus of Dartmouth College.

New England contains some of the oldest and most renowned institutions of higher learning in the United States and the world. Harvard College was the first such institution, founded in 1636 at Cambridge, Massachusetts to train preachers. Yale University was founded in Saybrook, Connecticut in 1701, and awarded the nation's first doctoral (PhD) degree in 1861. Yale moved to New Haven, Connecticut in 1718, where it has remained to the present day.

Brown University was the first college in the nation to accept students of all religious affiliations, and is the seventh oldest U.S. institution of higher learning. It was founded in Providence, Rhode Island in 1764. Dartmouth College was founded five years later in Hanover, New Hampshire with the mission of educating the local American Indian population as well as English youth. The University of Vermont, the fifth oldest university in New England, was founded in 1791, the same year that Vermont joined the Union.

In addition to four out of eight Ivy League schools, New England contains the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tufts University, four of the original Seven Sisters, the bulk of educational institutions that are identified as the "Little Ivies", one of the eight original Public Ivies, the Colleges of Worcester Consortium in central Massachusetts, and the Five Colleges consortium in western Massachusetts. The University of Maine, the University of New Hampshire, the University of Connecticut, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the University of Rhode Island, and the University of Vermont are the flagship state universities in the region.

Private and independent secondary schools

At the pre-college level, New England is home to a number of American independent schools (also known as private schools). The concept of the elite "New England prep school" (preparatory school) and the "preppy" lifestyle is an iconic part of the region's image. [130]

See the list of private schools for each state:
Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont.

Public education

Boston Latin School is the oldest public school in the U.S., established in 1635. Latin Public School.jpg
Boston Latin School is the oldest public school in the U.S., established in 1635.

New England is home to some of the oldest public schools in the nation. Boston Latin School is the oldest public school in America and was attended by several signatories of the Declaration of Independence. [131] Hartford Public High School is the second oldest operating high school in the U.S. [132]

As of 2005, the National Education Association ranked Connecticut as having the highest-paid teachers in the country. Massachusetts and Rhode Island ranked eighth and ninth, respectively.

New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont have cooperated in developing a New England Common Assessment Program test under the No Child Left Behind guidelines. These states can compare the resultant scores with each other.

The Maine Learning Technology Initiative program supplies all students with Apple MacBook laptops.

Academic journals and press

There are several academic journals and publishing companies in the region, including The New England Journal of Medicine , Harvard University Press, and Yale University Press. Some of its institutions lead the open access alternative to conventional academic publication, including MIT, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Maine. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston publishes the New England Economic Review. [133]


Cushing house, Hingham, Massachusetts Cushing house Hingham Massachusetts.jpg
Cushing house, Hingham, Massachusetts
A classic New England Congregational church in Peacham, Vermont Peacham, Vermont Church.jpg
A classic New England Congregational church in Peacham, Vermont

New England has a shared heritage and culture primarily shaped by waves of immigration from Europe. [134] In contrast to other American regions, many of New England's earliest Puritan settlers came from eastern England, contributing to New England's distinctive accents, foods, customs, and social structures. [135] :30–50 Within modern New England a cultural divide exists between urban New Englanders living along the densely populated coastline, and rural New Englanders in western Massachusetts, northwestern and northeastern Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, where population density is low. [136]

Today, New England is the least religious region of the U.S. In 2009, less than half of those polled in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont claimed that religion was an important part of their daily lives. In Connecticut and Rhode Island, also among the ten least religious states, 55 and 53%, respectively, of those polled claimed that it was. [137] According to the American Religious Identification Survey, 34% of Vermonters, a plurality, claimed to have no religion; on average, nearly one out of every four New Englanders identifies as having no religion, more than in any other part of the U.S. [138] New England had one of the highest percentages of Catholics in the U.S. This number declined from 50% in 1990 to 36% in 2008. [138]

Cultural roots

Many of the first European colonists of New England had a maritime orientation toward whaling (first noted about 1650) [139] and fishing, in addition to farming. New England has developed a distinct cuisine, dialect, architecture, and government. New England cuisine has a reputation for its emphasis on seafood and dairy; clam chowder, lobster, and other products of the sea are among some of the region's most popular foods.

New England clam bake New England clam bake.jpg
New England clam bake

New England has largely preserved its regional character, especially in its historic places. The region has become more ethnically diverse, having seen waves of immigration from Ireland, Quebec, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Poland, Scandinavia, Asia, Latin America, Africa, other parts of the U.S., and elsewhere. The enduring European influence can be seen in the region in the use of traffic rotaries, the bilingual French and English towns of northern Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire, the region's heavy prevalence of English town- and county-names, and its unique, often non-rhotic coastal dialect reminiscent of southeastern England.

Within New England, many names of towns (and a few counties) repeat from state to state, primarily due to settlers throughout the region having named their new towns after their old ones. For example, the town of North Yarmouth, Maine was named by settlers from Yarmouth, Massachusetts, which was in turn named for Great Yarmouth in England. As another example, every New England state has a town named Warren, and every state except Rhode Island has a city or town named Andover, Bridgewater, Chester, Franklin, Manchester, Plymouth, Washington, and Windsor; in addition, every state except Connecticut has a Lincoln and a Richmond, and Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine each contains a Franklin County.


There are several American English accents spoken in the region (normally north of Connecticut), including New England English and its derivative known as the Boston accent, [140] which is native to the northeastern coastal regions of New England. The most identifiable features of the Boston accent are believed[ by whom? ] to have originated from England's Received Pronunciation, which shares features such as dropping the final R and the broad A. Another source was 17th century speech in East Anglia and Lincolnshire where many of the Puritan immigrants originated.[ citation needed ] The East Anglian "whine" developed into the Yankee "twang". [135] Boston accents were most strongly associated at one point with the so-called "Eastern Establishment" and Boston's upper class, although today the accent is predominantly associated with blue-collar natives, as exemplified by movies such as Good Will Hunting and The Departed . The Boston accent and those accents closely related to it cover eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. [141]

Some Rhode Islanders speak with a non-rhotic accent that many compare to a "Brooklyn" accent or a cross between a New York and Boston accent, where "water" becomes "wata". Many Rhode Islanders distinguish the aw sound [ ɔː ], as one might hear in New Jersey; e.g., the word "coffee" is pronounced /ˈkɔːfi/ KAW-fee. [142] This type of accent was brought to the region by early settlers from eastern England in the Puritan migration in the mid-seventeenth century. [135] :13–207

Social activities and music

Acadian and Québécois culture are included in music and dance in much of rural New England, particularly Maine. Contra dancing and country square dancing are popular throughout New England, usually backed by live Irish, Acadian, or other folk music. Fife and drum corps are common, especially in southern New England and more specifically Connecticut, with music of mostly Celtic, English, and local origin.

Opera houses and theaters are popular in New England towns, such as the Vergennes Opera House in Vergennes, Vermont. HPIM0003.JPG
Opera houses and theaters are popular in New England towns, such as the Vergennes Opera House in Vergennes, Vermont.

Traditional knitting, quilting, and rug hooking circles in rural New England have become less common; church, sports, and town government are more typical social activities. These traditional gatherings are often hosted in individual homes or civic centers.

New England leads the U.S. in ice cream consumption per capita. [143] [144] In the U.S., candlepin bowling is essentially confined to New England, where it was invented in the 19th century. [145]

New England was an important center of American classical music for some time. Prominent modernist composers also come from the region, including Charles Ives and John Adams. Boston is the site of the New England Conservatory and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

In popular music, the region has produced Donna Summer, JoJo, New Edition, Bobby Brown, Passion Pit, Meghan Trainor, New Kids on the Block, Rachel Platten, and John Mayer. In rock music, the region has produced Rob Zombie, Aerosmith, The Modern Lovers, Phish, the Pixies, Grace Potter, GG Allin, the Dropkick Murphys, and Boston. Quincy, Massachusetts native Dick Dale helped popularize surf rock.


The leading U.S. cable TV sports broadcaster ESPN is headquartered in Bristol, Connecticut. New England has several regional cable networks, including New England Cable News (NECN) and the New England Sports Network (NESN). New England Cable News is the largest regional 24-hour cable news network in the U.S., broadcasting to more than 3.2 million homes in all of the New England states. Its studios are located in Newton, Massachusetts, outside of Boston, and it maintains bureaus in Manchester, New Hampshire; Hartford, Connecticut; Worcester, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; and Burlington, Vermont. [146] In Connecticut, Litchfield, Fairfield, and New Haven counties it also broadcasts New York based news programs—this is due in part to the immense influence New York has on this region's economy and culture, and also to give Connecticut broadcasters the ability to compete with overlapping media coverage from New York-area broadcasters.

NESN broadcasts the Boston Red Sox baseball and Boston Bruins hockey throughout the region, save for Fairfield County, Connecticut. [147] Southern Rhode Island and most of Connecticut, save for Windham County in the state's northeast corner, receive the YES Network, which broadcasts the games of the New York Yankees. For the most part, the same areas also carry SportsNet New York (SNY), which broadcasts New York Mets games.

Comcast SportsNet New England broadcasts the games of the Boston Celtics, New England Revolution and Boston Cannons.

While most New England cities have daily newspapers, The Boston Globe and The New York Times are distributed widely throughout the region. Major newspapers also include The Providence Journal , Portland Press Herald , and Hartford Courant , the oldest continuously published newspaper in the U.S. [148]


New Englanders are well represented in American comedy. Writers for The Simpsons and late-night television programs often come by way of the Harvard Lampoon. Family Guy is an animated sitcom situated in Rhode Island, created by Connecticut native and Rhode Island School of Design graduate Seth MacFarlane (along with American Dad! and The Cleveland Show ). A number of Saturday Night Live (SNL) cast members have roots in New England, from Adam Sandler to Amy Poehler, who also starred in the NBC television series Parks and Recreation . Former Daily Show correspondents John Hodgman, Rob Corddry and Steve Carell are from Massachusetts. Carell was also involved in film and the American adaptation of The Office, which features Dunder-Mifflin branches set in Stamford, Connecticut and Nashua, New Hampshire.

Late-night television hosts Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien have roots in the Boston area. Notable stand-up comedians are also from the region, including Bill Burr, Steve Sweeney, Steven Wright, Sarah Silverman, Lisa Lampanelli, Denis Leary, Lenny Clarke, Patrice O'Neal, and Louis CK. SNL cast member Seth Meyers once attributed the region's imprint on American humor to its "sort of wry New England sense of pointing out anyone who's trying to make a big deal of himself", with the Boston Globe suggesting that irony and sarcasm are its trademarks, as well as Irish influences. [149]


Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston and spent most of his literary career in Concord, Massachusetts. RWEmerson.jpg
Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston and spent most of his literary career in Concord, Massachusetts.

The literature of New England has had an enduring influence on American literature in general, with themes that are emblematic of the larger concerns of American letters, such as religion, race, the individual versus society, social repression, and nature. [150] Famous New England writers include Transcendentalist philosophers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, poets Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Bishop, and novelists Nathaniel Hawthorne and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Boston was the center of the American publishing industry for some years, largely on the strength of its local writers and before it was overtaken by New York in the middle of the nineteenth century. Boston remains the home of publishers Houghton Mifflin and Pearson Education, and it was the longtime home of literary magazine The Atlantic Monthly . Merriam-Webster is based in Springfield, Massachusetts. Yankee is a magazine for New Englanders based in Dublin, New Hampshire.

Twentieth and twenty-first century writers hailing from New England include Maine native Stephen King and New Hampshire native John Irving, and New England is a major setting of their works. George V. Higgins wrote about life in the New England criminal underworld, while H.P. Lovecraft set many of his works of horror in his native Rhode Island.

Film, television, and acting

New England has a rich history in filmmaking dating back to the dawn of the motion picture era at the turn of the 20th century, sometimes dubbed Hollywood East by film critics. A theater at 547 Washington Street in Boston was the second location to debut a picture projected by the Vitascope, and shortly thereafter several novels were being adapted for the screen and set in New England, including The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables . [151] The New England region continued to churn out films at a pace above the national average for the duration of the 20th century, including blockbuster hits such as Jaws , Good Will Hunting , and The Departed , all of which won Academy Awards. The New England area became known for a number of themes that recurred in films made during this era, including the development of yankee characters, smalltown life contrasted with city values, seafaring tales, family secrets, and haunted New England. [152] These themes are rooted in centuries of New England culture and are complemented by the region's diverse natural landscape and architecture, from the Atlantic Ocean and brilliant fall foliage to church steeples and skyscrapers.

Since the turn of the millennium, Boston and the greater New England region have been home to the production of numerous films and television series, thanks in part to tax incentive programs put in place by local governments to attract filmmakers to the region. [153]

Notable actors and actresses that have come from the New England area include Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks, Steve Carell, Ruth Gordon, John Krasinski, Edward Norton, Mark Wahlberg, and Matthew Perry. A full list of those from Massachusetts can be found here, and a listing of notable films and television series produced in the area here.


Boston Marathon Boston marathon mile 25 beacon street 050418.jpg
Boston Marathon

Two popular American sports were invented in New England: basketball, invented by James Naismith (a Canadian) in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891, [154] and volleyball, invented in 1895 by William G. Morgan, in Holyoke, Massachusetts. [155] Additionally, Walter Camp is credited with developing modern American football in New Haven, Connecticut, in the 1870s and 1880s. [156]

New Hampshire Motor Speedway is an oval racetrack that has hosted several NASCAR and American Championship Car Racing races, whereas Lime Rock Park in Connecticut is a traditional road racing venue home of sports car races. Events at these venues have had the "New England" moniker, such as the NASCAR New England 300 and New England 200, the IndyCar Series New England Indy 200, and the American Le Mans Series New England Grand Prix.

Professional and semi-professional sports teams

The major professional sports teams in New England are based in Massachusetts: the Boston Red Sox, the New England Patriots (based in Foxborough, Massachusetts), the Boston Celtics, the Boston Bruins, the New England Revolution (based in Foxborough), and the Boston Cannons. Hartford had a professional hockey team, the Hartford Whalers, from 1975 until they moved to North Carolina in 1997. WNBA team the Connecticut Sun is based in southeastern Connecticut at the Mohegan Sun resort, which is also home to the professional indoor lacrosse team the New England Black Wolves. New England is also home to the Boston Pride and the Connecticut Whale which represent two of the five professional women's hockey teams in the United States.

There are also minor league baseball and hockey teams based in larger cities, such as the Bridgeport Bluefish (baseball), the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (hockey), the Connecticut Tigers (baseball), the Hartford Wolf Pack (hockey), the Hartford Yard Goats (baseball), the Lowell Spinners (baseball), the Maine Mariners (hockey), the New Britain Bees (baseball), the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (baseball), the Pawtucket Red Sox (baseball), the Portland Sea Dogs (baseball), the Providence Bruins (hockey), the Springfield Thunderbirds (hockey), the Vermont Lake Monsters (baseball), and the Worcester Railers (hockey).

The NBA G League fields the Maine Red Claws based in Portland, Maine. The Springfield Armor in Springfield, Massachusetts, previously played in the region. The Red Claws are affiliated with the Boston Celtics, and the Armor was affiliated with the Brooklyn Nets, prior to relocating to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to become the Grand Rapids Drive. New England was also represented in the Premier Basketball League by the Vermont Frost Heaves of Barre, Vermont, until they folded in 2011.

Thanksgiving Day high school football rivalries date back to the 19th century, and the Harvard-Yale rivalry ("The Game") is the oldest rivalry in college football. The Boston Marathon is run on Patriots' Day every year; it is a New England cultural institution and the oldest annual marathon in the world. The race offers far less prize money than many other marathons, but its difficulty and long history make it one of the world's most prestigious marathons. [157]


The MBTA Commuter Rail serves much of Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island radiating from Downtown Boston, with plans for expansion into New Hampshire. MBTA Commuter Rail and funding district map.svg
The MBTA Commuter Rail serves much of Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island radiating from Downtown Boston, with plans for expansion into New Hampshire.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) provides rail and subway service within the Boston metropolitan area, bus service in Greater Boston, and commuter rail service throughout Eastern Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island. The New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) operates the Metro-North Railroad, which provides commuter rail service in Southwestern Connecticut in the corridor between New York City and New Haven. CTDOT provides the Shore Line East commuter rail service along the Connecticut coastline east of New Haven, terminating in Old Saybrook and New London.

Amtrak provides interstate rail service throughout New England. Boston is the northern terminus of the Northeast Corridor. The Vermonter connects Vermont to Massachusetts and Connecticut, while the Downeaster links Maine to Boston. The long-distance Lake Shore Limited train has two eastern termini after splitting in Albany, one of which is Boston. This provides rail service on the former Boston and Albany Railroad, which runs between its namesake cities. The rest of the Lake Shore Limited continues to New York City.

See also


  1. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

Related Research Articles

East Coast of the United States Coastline in the United States

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The New England road marking system was an interstate system of marked numbered routes in New England, United States. The routes were marked by a yellow rectangular shield with black numbers and border. Many shields were painted on telephone poles. The routes were approved by the highway departments of the six New England states in April 1922.

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Massachusetts is the 7th smallest state in the United States with an area of 10,555 square miles (27,340 km2). It is bordered to the north by New Hampshire and Vermont, to the west by New York, to the south by Connecticut and Rhode Island, and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. Massachusetts is the most populous New England state.

Atlantic Northeast region of the U.S. and Canada

The Atlantic Northeast is a region of North America, which includes the U.S. states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Maine, as well as the Canadian provinces of Québec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Two popular American sports were invented in New England. Basketball was invented by James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891. Volleyball was invented by William G. Morgan in Holyoke, Massachusetts, in 1895. Also, the first organized ice hockey game in the United States is widely believed to have been played in Concord, New Hampshire in 1883.

The following is a list of lists of the cities, towns and villages of the United States separated by state, territory or district name.

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The New England District is one of the 35 districts of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS), and encompasses all six New England states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. In addition, three congregations in southwest Connecticut are in the non-geographic SELC District. The New England District includes approximately 70 congregations and missions, subdivided into 9 circuits, as well as 24 preschools and 5 elementary schools. Baptized membership is over 22,000; with New England's total population standing at 14,240,000 as of 2005, the District's membership represents only 0.16% of the local population – the lowest of any of the LCMS' 33 geographical districts.

Springfield metropolitan area, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area in Massachusetts, United States

The Springfield metropolitan area, also known as Greater Springfield, is a region that is socio-economically and culturally tied to the City of Springfield, Massachusetts. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget defines the Springfield, MA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as consisting of three counties in Western Massachusetts. As of July 1, 2009, the metropolitan area's population was estimated at 631,982. Following the 2010 Census, there have been discussions about combining the metropolitan areas of Springfield, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut, into a greater Hartford–Springfield area, due to the region's economic interdependence and close geographic proximity. Historically the Census has also identified the region as "Springfield–Chicopee–Holyoke, Mass.–Conn." as those cities were the area's historic population centers as recently as 1980; since that time the population has become further distributed, including new growth in Amherst, Westfield, and West Springfield, as well as Northern Connecticut. Greater Springfield is one of two combined statistical areas in Massachusetts, the other being Greater Boston.

Demographics of New England

According to the 2006–08 American Community Survey, New England had a population of 14,265,187, of which 48.7% were male and 51.3% were female. Approximately 22.4% of the population were under 18 years of age; 13.5% were over 65 years of age.

Same-sex marriage in New England

Even before the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage legal across all the states of the United States, same-sex marriage was legal in all of the New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, as well as in the neighboring states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. The New England region has been noted for being the nucleus of the same-sex marriage movement in the United States, with the region having among the most widespread and earliest legal support of any region. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state in the United States to legalize same-sex marriage, to be followed by three more states between October 2008 and June 2009. This followed Vermont being the first-in-the-nation with civil unions in 2000. Before the 2012 election, California (2008), Iowa (2009), New York (2011) and the District of Columbia (2010) had been the only U.S. jurisdictions outside New England to have performed same-sex marriages, though same-sex marriages in California had been halted following the passage of Proposition 8.

Climate of New England

The climate of New England varies greatly across its 500-mile (800 km) span from northern Maine to southern Connecticut. Extreme southern New England is considerably warmer, sunnier, and sees far less snow, than the northernmost points of northern New England.

New England is far from the center of the country, is relatively small, and is relatively densely populated. It was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in the United States as well as being one of the first regions to experience deindustrialization. Today, it is the center of education, research, high technology, finance, and medicine.

Politics of New England

The politics of New England has long been defined by the region's political and cultural history, demographics, economy, and its loyalty to particular U.S. political parties. Within the politics of the United States, New England is sometimes viewed in terms of a single voting bloc. All of the twenty-one congressional districts in New England are currently represented by Democrats. In the Senate, nine Democrats, two Independents, and one Republican represent New England. The Democratic candidate has won a plurality of votes in every State in New England in every presidential election since 2004, making the region considerably more Democratic than the rest of the nation.

The culture of New England comprises a shared heritage and culture primarily shaped by its indigenous peoples, early English colonists, and waves of immigration from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. In contrast to other American regions, many of New England's earliest Puritan settlers came from eastern England, contributing to New England's distinctive accents, foods, customs, and social structures.

Elections in New England

Elections in New England have been defined by the region's political and cultural history, demographics, economy, and its loyalty to particular U.S. political parties. Within the elections in the United States, New England is sometimes viewed in terms of a single voting bloc.

Transportation in New England encompasses the region's rail and highway networks, seaports, and airports. New England has one of the United States' oldest intercity transportation systems, which remain important to the region's economy. It is also home to the continent's first subway system. The densely populated area has many cities and towns connected by rail and road, and the larger cities each have commercial airports with daily flights to destinations outside of the region.


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Further reading


Coordinates: 44°N71°W / 44°N 71°W / 44; -71