Settled in 1631, Kent Island was the third oldest English settlement in the United States, following Jamestown, Virginia and Plymouth, Massachusetts which were established in 1607 and 1620, respectively. The land was occupied for approximately 12,000 years prior and it was the homeland of the historic Matapeake community at the time of colonization. The Matapeake and Susquehannock group traded pelts with English settlers and reportedly sold Kent Island to the English for 12 pounds of trade goods. Native peoples established settlements primarily along the southeastern coast of the island but later transitioned their homes to the northern side as the European presence increased.
Like Kent Island, additional islands in the Eastern Bay, which sits between Queen Anne’s and Talbot County, also have rich Indigenous histories. Poplar Island, for instance, has been both the location of historic violence between Native inhabitants and settlers, and a contemporary environmental conservation site.
19 Air photo of Kent Island, Maryland, facing south-southeast (Jstuby, Wikimedia Commons, CC0 1.0)
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