New England is a group of six states in the northeast of the United States of America. These states are Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut and Rhode Island. New England was one of the first parts of North America to be settled by Europeans, and with the exception of Maine, all the New England states were among the thirteen original states of the union. The New England states are generally small, Rhode Island being the smallest of the United States. Thanks to their comparatively long history, they are home to many venerable institutions such as most of the Ivy League group of elite universities, and in the rest of the country they are often seen as a home of wealth and privilege; a disproportionate number of successful politicians also originate from this region.