“The first climate change refugees in the continental United States?”
Tangier Island, situated off the coast of Virginia in the Chesapeake Bay, has long been a cultural and historic treasure. Receiving its current name by the explorer John Smith, the island had long been a summer retreat for the Pocomoke Indians. A European settler—Ambrose White—received a patent to 400 acres on the island in 1670, and the patent changed hands numerous times over the next century. As of 2010, the island’s inhabitants numbered just over 700, although summertime tourism increases the population substantially. The island is known for its ban on automobiles and the unique dialect of its full-time residents. Rising sea levels threaten the very existence of the island.
By Jon Gertner
The New York Times
July 6, 2016