New England is an American region located in the northeastern area of the country and is composed of six independent states, namely Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut. While part of the United States, it is a section of the country that is as unique as a whole, as each of its member states.
There are many worthwhile things to know about New England, most especially about its history, but unfortunately, some of them have remained in the shadows. Because they deserve to be out there nonetheless, here are five of the most interesting yet less known facts about the beginnings of America’s one and only Yankeeland:
1. New England was discovered by an Englishman.
New England as a region was christened its name by Captain John Smith, who was exploring the coastlines in the early 1600s for a few British businessmen. Soon, English Puritans found their way to its shores, working towards the economic success of their communities, thanks to their natural sense of industry and disinclination for luxury.
2. Different reasons gave rise to New England’s different names.
The five states of New England have different origins for their names. For example, Massachusetts is from a tribe’s name that translates to “large hill in place.” Connecticut comes from “beside the long tidal river;” New Hampshire from “village-town;” Vermont from “the Green Mountains;” and Maine from “the main,” which is a practical nautical term. The origin of Rhode Island’s name, however, is unclear to this day.
3. The Algonquin Band of Native Americans were New England’s very first settlers.
Probably one of the least heard things about New England is that its first inhabitants after the Puritans were the Algonquian band of native Americans. These people had the village as their basic social unit, although villages, in general, were never permanent as everyone moved from spot to spot, depending on food availability. One of the strengths of these people was cross-tribal mobility, which certainly helped them during trying times.
4. New England played a significant role in America’s history as a nation.
While not many are aware, New England is one of the first English settlements in the so-called”New World” that came after the Pilgrims. During the latter part of the 1800s, New England British colonies first made their desire for independence known. This was one of the things that led to the rise of the American in 1775, and after a year, the Declaration of Independence was signed. New England is also credited for its hand in abolishing slavery by the 1900s.
5. Eight American presidents were born in New England.
Perhaps one of the most significant facts related to New England’s modern history is that eight American presidents were all born in it. These include John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John Kennedy, George H. W. Bush, Franklin Pierce, Chester Arthur, Calvin Coolidge, and George W. Bush. It could be anything, from the culture to the schools or even something as plain and simple as the weather. What’s clear is that New England has been producing quite a bunch of leaders, and that’s some fact of history worth knowing!
And as if that’s not enough, New England is home to many firsts in America’s history: first subway system, first university, first American dictionary, first public school, first public park, first public library, first nuclear-powered submarine and even America’s very first constitution! It sure says so much about this relatively small region which has proven itself to be so much bigger in terms of the entire country’s historical identity.