New England

History

On the 6th September 1620, 102 non-conformist Puritan Christians seeking a new life, free to follow their strict brand of Protestantism without state interference, set sail aboard the Mayflower. After a perilous journey they finally set foot in an area previously occupied by the Native American village of Patuxet on 17th December 1620, which they named Plymouth in honour of the English port from which they had set sail. In the years before the Pilgrims arrival, coastal Indian communities had been utterly decimated by smallpox brought by European fishermen. During the first harsh winter 45 colonists died and of the original 102 Pilgrims only 52 remained to share the famous first Thanksgiving with their Indian neighbours with waterfowl, wild turkeys and fish supplied by the colonists and five deer supplied by the Indians.

Ultimately the first colony was a success, encouraging a flood of others seeking a new life in the New World. In 1643 four of the five English colonies in the area united to form the New England Confederation, primarily to co-ordinate defence against Indian raids, the French, the Dutch, the Spanish and to facilitate the return of runaway slaves to their rightful owners. Rhode Island which was nicknamed Rogue Island declined to join, as its sympathies laying with the Native Americans and was not partial to slavery.

 

As the years passed the common interests of the north east merged and by the time of the American Revolution a prosperous intellectual elite provided the backbone of the revolt that ultimately led to the Declaration of Independence on 4th July 1776 and the birth of United States of America. New England provided many political and economic leaders in this period and as the years passed the liberal traditions and distaste of slavery widened the cultural and political gap between the industrialised north and agricultural South which exploded into the American Civil War in 1861.

Today

New England still makes a vital contribution to the US, its political and economic clout greater than its population or size might otherwise justify. Many of the nation’s leading educational institutions are located here including Boston College, Yale and Harvard Universities and Cambridge’s MIT (Massachusetts Institution of Technology). The region is an economic powerhouse with Hartford, Connecticut being the Insurance Capital of the World and much of the nation’s wealth controlled from the region. New England also has its own accent, which for many is a distinguishing sign of elegance and mark of education. Its own cuisine heavily influenced by the sumptuous seafood and crustaceans found in its cooler waters. And New Englanders are also over-represented in the nation’s literary achievements, media personalities and sports stars.

 

Tourism

New England’s historical roots, sophisticated lifestyle, picturesque countryside, unique cuisine and countless cultural attractions make the region an extremely popular spot for other Americans and international visitors to discover. It’s cold winters bring snow that make its ski fields a convenient option for other easterners and autumn and spring colour are also popular for rural and forest visits and picnics. Summers tend to be milder and attract southerners escaping their own blistering heat and humidity. New England tends to leave a strong impression on visitors and disappoints no one! For other Americans it’s a definite Must-See and international tourists who have the chance to include New England on the itinerary will be glad they do.

To find out more on things to do in New England visit your state of choice

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