New England, the northeastern region of the United States, containing the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. It was given its name by Captain John Smith after his voyage along the coast in 1614. Previously it had been called North Virginia, and was included in the territory granted to the Virginia Company of Plymouth in 1606.

New England was settled largely by English Puritans. Some 14,000 colonists were living in the region in 1640. (For the details of settlement, see the History sections of the articles on the various New England states.) There were almost no new arrivals then for two centuries. The Great Rebellion in England (1642–52) halted emigration temporarily and ended persecution of the Puritans. Later colonists preferred the middle Atlantic region, where the climate was milder and the soil more suited to farming.

New England was cut off from the other colonies by the mountains to its west. The isolation, the struggle to cultivate the rocky soil, the stern authority of the church, and the emphasis placed on education combined to form a unique character in New England's people and institutions.

The region led colonial America in the development of democratic procedures and in the rebellion against British tyranny. In the first half of the 19th century it led the United States in commerce, industry, and culture. Since the Civil War the emigration of native New Englanders from the exhausted farms and the influx of immigrants to work in its factories have changed it profoundly.