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Chain of small islands, southeastern Massachusetts, U.S. Extending southwest for 16 mi (26 km) from the southwestern tip of Cape Cod, the group lies between Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound. The islands were visited in 1602 by the English navigator Bartholomew Gosnold, who established a short-lived (three-week) colony on the westernmost island of Cuttyhunk 18 years before the arrival of the Mayflower at Plymouth. Naushon, the largest island, was a British naval base during the War of 1812. The islands, covering an area of about 14 sq mi (36 sq km), are mostly privately owned. Cuttyhunk is a popular base for sportfishing.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Elizabeth Islands, visit Britannica.com.