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Island, Atlantic Ocean, off the southeastern coast of Massachusetts, U.S. Situated across Vineyard Sound from Cape Cod, it is nearly 20 mi (32 km) long and 2–10 mi (3–16 km) wide. It was first described in 1602 by Bartholomew Gosnold and was named for its wild grapevines. Purchased by Thomas Mayhew in 1641, it was considered part of New York before being ceded to Massachusetts in 1692. It was once a centre of the whaling and fishing industries; it is now a popular summer resort.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Martha's Vineyard, visit Britannica.com.