New England is a region composed of six states in the northeastern United States: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. It is bordered by the state of New York to the west and by the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick to the northeast and Quebec to the north. 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. Greater Boston is the largest metropolitan area, with nearly a third of New England's population; this area 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).
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.
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 the colonists called the "Intolerable Acts". 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.
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.
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, although the terms of this identity are often contrasted, combining Puritanism with liberalism, agrarian life with industry, and isolation with immigration.