New England

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New England,

name applied to the region comprising six states of the NE United States—MaineMaine,
largest of the New England states of the NE United States. It is bordered by New Hampshire (W), the Canadian provinces of Quebec (NW) and New Brunswick (NE), the Bay of Fundy (E), and the Atlantic Ocean (the Gulf of Maine; SE).
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, New HampshireNew Hampshire,
one of the New England states of the NE United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts (S), Vermont, with the Connecticut River forming the boundary (W), the Canadian province of Quebec (NW), and Maine and a short strip of the Atlantic Ocean (E).
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, VermontVermont
[Fr.,=green mountain], New England state of the NE United States. It is bordered by New Hampshire, across the Connecticut River (E), Massachusetts (S), New York, with Lake Champlain forming almost half the border (W), and the Canadian province of Quebec (N).
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, MassachusettsMassachusetts
, most populous of the New England states of the NE United States. It is bordered by New York (W), Vermont and New Hampshire (N), the Atlantic Ocean (E, SE), and Rhode Island and Connecticut (S).
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, Rhode IslandRhode Island,
smallest state in the United States, located in New England; bounded by Massachusetts (N and E), the Atlantic Ocean (S), and Connecticut (W). Facts and Figures

Area, 1,214 sq mi (3,144 sq km). Pop. (2010) 1,052,567, a .
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, and ConnecticutConnecticut
, southernmost of the New England states of the NE United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts (N), Rhode Island (E), Long Island Sound (S), and New York (W). Facts and Figures

Area, 5,009 sq mi (12,973 sq km). Pop.
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. The region is thought to have been so named by Capt. John Smith because of its resemblance to the English coast (another source has it that Prince Charles, afterward Charles I, inserted the name on Smith's map of the country). Topographically it is partly delineated from the rest of the nation by the Appalachian Mts. on the west. From the Green Mts., the White Mts., and the Berkshire Hills the land slopes gradually toward the Atlantic Ocean. Many short, swift rivers furnish water power. The Connecticut River is the region's longest river.

Because of the generally poor soil, agriculture was never a major part of the region's economy. However, excellent harbors and nearby shallow banks teeming with fish made New England a fishing and commercial center. Shipbuilding was important until the end (mid-1800s) of the era of wooden ships. During the colonial period the region carried on a more extensive foreign commerce than the other British colonies and was therefore more affected by the passage of the British Navigation ActsNavigation Acts,
in English history, name given to certain parliamentary legislation, more properly called the British Acts of Trade. The acts were an outgrowth of mercantilism, and followed principles laid down by Tudor and early Stuart trade regulations.
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. New England was the major center of the events leading up to the American RevolutionAmerican Revolution,
1775–83, struggle by which the Thirteen Colonies on the Atlantic seaboard of North America won independence from Great Britain and became the United States. It is also called the American War of Independence.
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, particularly after 1765, and was the scene of the opening Revolutionary engagements.

The return of peace necessitated a reorganization of commerce, with the result that connections were made with the American Northwest and China. The War of 1812 had an adverse effect on the region's trade, and opposition to the war was so great that New England threatened secession (see Essex JuntoEssex Junto,
group of New England merchants and lawyers, so called because many of them came from Essex co., Mass. They opposed the radicals in Massachusetts in the American Revolution and supported the Federalist faction of Alexander Hamilton.
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; Hartford ConventionHartford Convention,
Dec. 15, 1814–Jan. 4, 1815, meeting to consider the problems of New England in the War of 1812; held at Hartford, Conn. Prior to the war, New England Federalists (see Federalist party) had opposed the Embargo Act of 1807 and other government measures;
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). After the war the growth of manufacturing (especially of cotton textiles) was rapid, and the region became highly industrialized. A large part of the great migration to the Old Northwest Territory originated there. Agriculture dwindled with the growth of the West.

After World War II the character of New England industry changed. Traditional industries (e.g., shoe and textile) have been superseded by more modern industries such as electronics. Tourism, long a source of income for the region, remains important throughout the year. There is also stone quarrying, dairying, and potato farming. Boston has long been the chief urban center of New England; corporate activity, however, has sprung up in many of the smaller cities and suburbs.

New England has long been a leading literary (see American literatureAmerican literature,
literature in English produced in what is now the United States of America. Colonial Literature

American writing began with the work of English adventurers and colonists in the New World chiefly for the benefit of readers in the mother country.
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) and educational center of the country. Prior to the Civil War the region furnished many social and humanitarian leaders and movements. The area abounds with educational institutions, having some of the foremost universities in the United States.


See the works of V. W. Brooks, P. Miller, and S. E. Morison; J. T. Adams, The History of New England (3 vol., 1923–27, repr. 1971); J. Hale, Inside New England (1982).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

New England


a historical region of the northeastern United States that includes the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. Area, 172,600 sq km. Population, 11.8 million (1970; 76.4 percent urban). The main industrial, commercial, financial, and cultural center and port is Boston.

Approximately one-third of the region’s work force, equaling about 1.5 million people, is employed in manufacturing, including electrical engineering, electronics, motor and industrial equipment production, and light industry. Mining takes up 0.1 percent of the work force, and agriculture less than 2 percent. Industries that emphasize skilled labor predominate.

New England was given its name by the English captain John Smith, who explored the area in 1614. Systematic colonization began with the founding of the English settlement of Plymouth Colony in 1620. New England became the most economically developed region within the English colonies in America and played a leading role in the American Revolution (1775–83). In the 19th century it was the most important center of the abolitionist movement, and residents of New England took an active part in the struggle against the slaveholding South during the Civil War.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

New England

1. the NE part of the US, consisting of the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut: settled originally chiefly by Puritans in the mid-17th century
2. a region in SE Australia, in the northern tablelands of New South Wales
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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