Block Island, 7 mi (11.2 km) long and 3.5 mi (5.6 km) wide, off S R.I. at the eastern entrance to Long Island Sound. Visited by the Dutch navigator Adriaen Block in 1614, it was settled in 1661. The murder (1637) there of John Oldham, an English trader, was the direct cause of the Pequot War (see Pequot). Characterized by numerous small ponds, low hills, and a mild climate, the island has long been a favorite fishing and resort area. Possessing ferry services and two harbors, it accommodates local fishing boats and summer leisure craft. There are two lighthouses. The small town of New Shoreham (inc. 1672) is coextensive with the island.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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