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New England (NE) is a state located in the western Atlantic and represents the easternmost (settled) extension of the United States. The exception to this is the uninhabited Rockaway Islands, an unorganized unincorporated US territory to the east-northeast. Admitted to the Union as the 20th state on March 8, 1816, it shares its only border, maritime or otherwise, with the US state of Massachusetts to the northwest.
The islands were first discovered by Englishman William Weston, an associate of John Cabot, on an independent voyage in 1499, though it would remain unsettled and unexplored for over a hundred years. Though it was first settled by English Puritans in 1634, New England's eight main islands remained sparsely populated until 1766, when the British military established major encampments at the settlements of Firrey on modern-day Nashville Island, and New Bristol on modern-day Allegheny Island. At the outset of the American Revolution, a series of skirmishes ensued with local American guerrillas, and following years of stalemates on both sides, the British were forced to abandon the islands altogether in July 1779 when a combined French and Spanish fleet bombarded the main British encampment at Fort George on Buell Island in support of the Revolution, allowing a small force of Continental Army troops under the command of General Robert Kelvin (for whom the capital was named) to occupy the islands on
Despite its relative proximity to the East Coast, additional settlers were still sparse, due in part to occasional volcanic activity – mostly near Nashville Island – and the relatively rugged terrain. As a result, the regional population remained quite low until statehood in 1816. Today, one of the islands' major sources of revenue is tourism, certainly its largest; millions flock to its beaches every summer, and the major parks year-round.
New England's eight main islands are partitioned into separate counties, which, in turn, are each subdivided into boroughs (seven for Manning County; five for Buell and Nashville counties; three each for the remaining five counties), for a statewide total of 32 boroughs. All eight counties are listed below in order of population.
|3||Sheldrake County||West Buell||400,000|
|6||Belanus County||South Bay||275,000|
In Popular Culture
- The islands' most notable appearance in popular culture occurs in the Jaws film trilogy. The original, 1975's Jaws, deals with a series of giant great white shark attacks against West Buell, a popular summer tourist spot, in which six beach goers are killed. The local sheriff, Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) and oceanographer Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) seize the initiative and hire and hire Quint (Robert Shaw), a World War II veteran and local fishing boat captain, to hunt and kill the shark. Jaws 2 (1978) again finds Sheriff Brody and Matt Hooper facing off against a great white, but this time, Brody's son Mike is caught in the fight after he disobeys his father about sailing with his friends in the channel waters. The final film, 1981's Jaws 3, concludes the series, with an aging Brody and equally worn-out Hooper eventually luring the third shark away from West Buell using recently decommissioned US Navy minesweeper.
- In Home Alone III, the McCallister family's latest vacation takes them to a private beach house on Sheldrake Island's South Shore.