Kent Island

Prior to European colonization, Kent Island was inhabited by Native Americans for nearly 12,000 years. The island was inhabited by the Matapeake tribe, members of the Algonquian nation who the Matapeake area of Kent Island is named after. Other tribes that inhabited the area and often visited the island included the Ozinie and Monoponson tribes, the latter of which share their name with the Algonquian name for the island, Monoponson. During the 16th and 17th centuries, early explorers of the Chesapeake Bay, including Captain John Smith, were the first Europeans to see Kent Island; however, it wasn't until August 1631 that the island became an English settlement. At that time, William Claiborne, a resident of Jamestown, founded a settlement near the southern end of the island for the purpose of trading with Native Americans and named the island after his birthplace of Kent, England. The settlement burned down in the winter of 1631–32 but was quickly rebuilt, and in 1634 the settlement included a gristmill, courthouse, and trading station. Following the formation of the province of Maryland, Claiborne continued to recognize the island as part of his home colony of Virginia, while Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore recognized it as part of Maryland. Claiborne was forced from and returned to the island twice before leaving permanently in 1658, thus effectively ending the disputes. Virginia's official claims to the island, however, continued until 1776.

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Kent Island

Kent Island

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