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US state : Massachusetts
Administrative headquarters : Nantucket
Foundation : 1695
Residents : 10,172  (2010)
Population density : 82.2 inhabitants / km 2
Total area : 272.6 km²
Water surface : 148.8 km²
Map of Nantucket County within Massachusetts
Website :

Nantucket is an island of about 125 square kilometers in the state of Massachusetts in the United States . Your name comes from an Indian language and means something like "the far away land". It is located south of Cape Cod and east of Martha's Vineyard off the northeast coast of the United States.
Including the bodies of water and two smaller islands, it forms the 273 square kilometer large area of Nantucket County with the city of Nantucket in it and the administrative seat ( county seat ) in Massachusetts. The town and island of the same name are best known for the whaling that began there in the 18th century .


The Patuxet Indian Squanto (also: Tisquantum)
Flag of Nantucket
Satellite photo
Nantucket in summer

Before the "discovery" in 1602 by the English captain Bartholomew Gosnold , Nantucket was populated by around 3000 Indians of the Wampanoag tribe. In 1641 Thomas Mayhew took possession of the island and grazed sheep there until 1659. In 1692 Nantucket became part of the New England state of Massachusetts by administrative act. Around 1700 there were around 300 whites and 800 Indians living there.

On July 25, 1956, the Italian luxury liner Andrea Doria collided with the eastbound passenger ship Stockholm near the island and sank a few hours later. 46 people were killed in the accident.

In addition to the Nantucket Historic District , the Jethro Coffin House has the status of a National Historic Landmark .


After washed ashore carcasses of whales previously to Tran had been processed, the hunt began in 1690 with small boats near the coast of whales. When whale hunting and its value was discovered in the heads of sperm whales, whale hunting was extended to the high seas from 1715 . The typical way of catching sperm whales, which is typical of the Nantucketer whalers towards the end of the 18th century, consisted of fishing trips that led around Cape Horn in the Pacific to off the Japanese coast and lasted two to four years with the return journey.

As a result, the island's economy turned increasingly to the trade in oil and whale rat as well as the construction and maintenance of whaling ships . The city of Nantucket experienced an enormous economic boom and was the “whaling capital” of the world from the early 18th century to around 1830.

Petroleum discoveries from 1830 onwards impaired sales of Waltran as a lubricant and lamp fuel. This ushered in the decline of Nantucket's economy. In addition, there were ever longer fishing trips in empty seas. The “Nantucket shallows” in front of the port also hindered the growing whaling ships, which therefore dodged into neighboring New Bedford and Salem (Massachusetts) with their direct rail connections.

A devastating fire in 1846, a gold rush and a civil war had further negative consequences for the economy. From 1840 to 1870 the population decreased from about 10,000 to 1,000 people.


In the first half of the 18th century, the Quakers dominated economic, social and cultural life on the island. Ralph Waldo Emerson spoke of the "Nation of Nantucket". Nantucket was immortalized in great literary detail in 1852 in Herman Melville's Moby-Dick - here the fictional character Ismael begins her fateful journey on the Pequod . Even Edgar Allan Poe in 1838 published novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket , which begins on Nantucket and focuses on a trip to Antarctica, Nantucket resulted in the title. Nantucket also plays an important role in Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey's novel Cheaper by the Dozen . The Gilbreth family regularly spent their summer holidays there in their own holiday home. The rock band Mountain released one of their greatest successes in 1971, the LP Nantucket Sleighride , which also deals with whaling.


Nantucket is now a seaside resort and resort with over ten thousand permanent residents; in the summer the number of residents can almost quintuple due to the holiday home owners present. This helps make Nantucket the county with the highest per capita income in Massachusetts. The income between 2006 and 2010 per capita was 53,410 USD (Massachusetts: 33,966 USD), household income on average 83,347 USD (64,509 USD) and family income 89,728 USD (81,165 USD). The small population coupled with tourism is probably one of the reasons.


The island is connected to the mainland by ferries. The Nantucket airport is by aircraft movements, the second largest airport in Massachusetts and is served by many regional airlines. From 1881 to 1917 the 14 km long Nantucket Central Railroad connected the town of Siasconset, located at the easternmost point of the island, with the town of Nantucket.


  • There once was a man from Nantucket ” is a common opening verse of Limericks .
  • In whaling, dragging a whaling boat through a harpooned whale was called a Nantucket sleigh ride.
  • In the Simpsons episode Fantasies of a Crazy Housewife , Marge Simpson writes a novel called The Harpooned Heart , which is set on Nantucket.
  • In the film Inglourious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino SS Colonel Hans Landa, played by agreed Christoph Waltz , a commander of the US Secret Service in return for his complicity in the overthrow of the Third Reich, among others, the provision of land on Nantucket Iceland.
  • The novel series Divine Damned , Divine Lost and Divine In love by Josephine Angelini is set on Nantucket.
  • Nantucket has the highest probability of fog occurrence in North America.
  • The Nantucket Inlet , a bay in Antarctica is named after the island.
  • The novel of love give voice of Lisa Genova also plays on this island.
  • The novel Downright Dencey by Caroline Snedeker is set on the island and gives an impression of life on Nantucket around 1825.
  • The sitcom Überflieger (1990–1997) takes place on a (fictional) airfield on the island.
  • In the Boston Legal episode bombastic , Nantucket tries to fight for his own atomic bomb in court.
  • In the song "The Downeaster Alexa" by Billy Joel , Nantucket is part of the route of the fishing boat: "I have charted a course to the Vineyard But tonight I am Nantucket bound"


Personalities born on Nantucket

Personalities who have worked on site


See also


  • Nathaniel Philbrick : In the heart of the sea. The Whaler's Last Voyage Essex . Blessing, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-896-67093-X . (Paperback edition by Heyne, Munich 2015, 2nd edition, ISBN 978-3-453-64536-3 )
  • Josephine Angelini: God damn it. 2011 [Nantucket scene]; Divinely lost. 2012 [Nantucket scene]; Divinely in love. 2013.

Web links

Commons : Nantucket  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. From: Arte Documentation In the footsteps of Moby Dick (USA, 2010) ARTE France Director: Ric Burns, broadcast on January 5, 2013.
  2. GNIS-ID: 606936. Retrieved on February 22, 2011 (English).
  3. Listing of National Historic Landmarks by State: Massachusetts . National Park Service , accessed November 17, 2017.
  4. Monuments. Online magazine of the German Foundation for Monument Protection
  5. ^ Nantucket Historical Association
  6. Gilbreth Bug-Lights (article by Frank Bunker Gilbreth Jr. from 1991 about her vacation home on Nantucket)
  7. ^ Yesterday's Island “Limerick Challenge”. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on September 9, 2007 ; accessed on February 16, 2014 (English). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  8. Jessica Location: Point Reyes . The Complete Guide To The National Sehashore & Surrounding Area. Wilderness Press, Berkeley 2004, ISBN 0-89997-350-7 , pp. 163 (English, Google Books [accessed March 6, 2013]).
  9. ^ Pia Maria Plechl : Karl Landsteiner . In: Thomas Chorherr (Ed.): Great Austrians . Ueberreuter , Vienna, Heidelberg 1985, ISBN 3-8000-3212-0 .

Coordinates: 41 ° 17 ′  N , 70 ° 6 ′  W