Broadcast: July 7, 2003
New England is an area of small states in the northeastern United States. A religious group called the Puritans established British colonies there in the sixteen-hundreds. I’m Doug Johnson.
And I'm Phoebe Zimmerman. Today we tell about New England on the VOA Special English program, THIS IS AMERICA.
Six of the fifty states form New England. They are Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
New England is a place many people like to visit especially in the fall. That is when the leaves on the trees turn red, yellow and orange. The changing leaves are one of America’s most colorful natural shows. Many people also love New England for its mountains and rocky Atlantic Ocean coastlines.
Four of the six New England states were among the first thirteen colonies of America.
The Puritans were Protestant Christians who suffered persecution in Britain. They opposed the Church of England. In sixteen-twenty, they and other colonists settled Plymouth Colony in what is now Massachusetts. It was the second permanent British colony in North America. The first was in Virginia.
The Puritans were known as Pilgrims. American Indians helped the Pilgrims survive in their new land. Not only did the settlers survive, other colonies developed from Plymouth.
Some of America’s earliest heroes came from New England. Men like Samuel Adams and John Hancock led the movement for independence from Britain. Their efforts helped lead to the formation of the United States in seventeen-seventy-six.
Massachusetts has played an important part in the nation’s history. Six-million people live there today. The state has many marks from America’s Revolutionary period. The revolution against Britain began at the battle of Concord and Lexington in Massachusetts.
The state has also given the country four presidents. John Adams was the second president. His son, John Quincy Adams, served as the sixth. John F. Kennedy, the thirty-fifth president, was also born in Massachusetts. So was the forty-first, George Bush. His son, the forty-third president, was born in Connecticut.
Massachusetts has beautiful countryside, mountains and ocean coast. The Boston area is the largest industrial area in New England. Boston is the state capital. The city is a historic cultural and trade center.
People can get a good idea of the history by a visit to the Boston Freedom Trail. There are sixteen historic sites along the almost five kilometers of the trail. These include the site of the first public school in the United States. Students first attended the Boston Latin School in sixteen-thirty-five. Also along the trail is the Old North Church. In seventeen-seventy-five, lights placed in the church warned that British forces would soon attack.
Boston is a major music center. During July, thousands of people sit in the open air to hear the Boston Pops orchestra play free concerts on a grassy area called the Esplanade.
Boston is one of the historic ports of Massachusetts. Another, New Bedford, was a center of whale-hunting. The shores of Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are also popular. Lighthouses that guided ships at sea long ago still stand.
Rhode Island is America’s smallest state, by land size. One-million people live there. Many companies produce textiles and jewelry. The state is on Narragansett Bay on the Atlantic Ocean. Every summer, thousands of visitors fish, boat and water ski in the bay.
Roger Williams established the major city of Providence in sixteen-thirty-six. He helped develop religious freedom in the United States.
Rhode Island became the first colony to declare independence from Britain. In seventeen-seventy-four, Rhode Island banned the importation of slaves.
Visitors to Rhode Island often follow the Cliff Walk in Newport. This walk of almost five kilometers provides a chance to see the Atlantic Ocean coast. Restless waves strike the sharp rocks on the shore. Newport is also famous for its music. Next month, artists including Dave Brubeck and Cassandra Wilson will perform at the JVC Jazz Festival.
On now to New Hampshire: With mountains, lakes and coastline, the state offers many summer and winter activities. The White Mountains in northern New Hampshire, for example, provide fine skiing. In the fall, thousands of people come to New Hampshire to see the colorful leaves of its many kinds of trees.
The largest city is Manchester, and the capital is Concord. In eighteen-forty-nine, New Hampshire enacted a law that permitted cities, towns and school systems to support libraries. It was the first law of its kind in the United States.
Politics are also important in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Primary is especially important. Every four years, candidates seeking the nomination of their party for president campaign in this nominating election. A number of winners of the New Hampshire primary have become president.
When it comes to nature, many people say a trip to Vermont is like a trip into the past. Trees cover most of the land. The state also has more than four-hundred lakes and smaller bodies of water. In summer, travelers can drive for kilometers on quiet country roads and see only farm animals, covered bridges and white churches.
A popular summer event is the Vermont Mozart Festival on Knoll Farm at the town of Fayston. The farm is set among sugar maple trees. Vermont grows a lot of these trees which produce a sweet syrup. Most visitors take home at least a few containers of maple syrup from Vermont.
Among other industries, workers in Vermont manufacture products including computer parts and machinery. And they mine granite. The center of state government is in Montpelier. Vermont’s many towns hold town meetings where citizens take part in local government.
Maine has more than one-million people and the largest land area of the New England states. Part of the state extends so far north, it is surrounded by two Canadian provinces. Like Vermont, Maine has big areas of wilderness. Forests grow on about ninety percent of its land. The forests provide trees for the wood products industry in Maine. City life is found in the capital, Augusta, and in Portland.
Fishing villages line the Atlantic coast of Maine. Travelers can find many hotels and other places to stay near harbors and ocean inlets.
Visitors enjoy seeing the Portland Head Light. This lighthouse is thirty-one meters tall. It was built in seventeen-ninety-one.
As you might expect, Maine is known for its seafood. Rockland holds the Maine Lobster Festival each year. This festival to celebrate -- and eat -- the shellfish will take place July thirtieth through August third.
More than three-million people live in Connecticut. It is a major center for travel, business and industry.In its early days, citizens of Connecticut colony lived under the rule of a legal document called the Fundamental Orders. Later, writers of the United States Constitution used the Orders as an example.
Later still in Connecticut, the inventor Eli Whitney developed processes that took a step toward modern production methods. Insurance companies in Connecticut wrote the first policies to help protect against the expense of car and airplane accidents. Over the years, because of the many insurance companies, Hartford became known as the Insurance City.
In that city, one can see the home of the writer Mark Twain. He wrote “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” Twain lived in Hartford during the late eighteen-hundreds.
Travelers to Connecticut can also see the Mystic Seaport, in the city of Mystic. The Seaport looks like a whaling village of the eighteen-hundreds. A wooden ship with sails called the Charles W. Morgan seems to guard the port. It looks as if it could go to sea at any moment, guided by the spirits of whalers of centuries ago.
The New England states are both historic and modern. They offer quiet countryside and ocean sights. They also offer energetic sports, lively music and many other activities. There is always something to see or do in New England.
THIS IS AMERICA was written by Jerilyn Watson and produced by Caty Weaver. I’m Doug Johnson.
And I’m Phoebe Zimmerman. Join us again next week for another report on life in the United States in Special English, on the Voice of America.