Amity Island is a fictional island located off the coast of New England, and is the main setting of the Jaws franchise. The island is known for its clean air, beautiful beaches, and many of its local fishermen. The island is also infamous for its series of horrifying and fatal shark attacks.
Early Amity historical record
Bartholomew Gosnold, of Falmouth, England, in 1602 sailed for Virginia. Contrary winds drove him to the Azores; thence he sailed a little north of west, and struck out boldly across the Atlantic. He was the first Englishman to sail directly to the American coast, thereby saving nearly a thousand miles in distance and at least a week in sailing time. He landed on a cape, which he named Cape Cod from the abundance of codfish found there. Then doubling the cape and sailing to the southward he landed on a small island about six miles southeast of Gay Head. He called this small island Cutty Hunk.
The next day, he landed on the larger island. After exploring it and finding it so large, well wooded, and with such luxuriant grape vines, many beautiful lakes and springs of the purest water, he transferred the name and called it Martha's Vineyard, in honor of his mother, whose name was Martha.
The other island he named ‘No-Man's-Land’. When the Island of Martha's Vineyard became more inhabited, locals decided that the neighboring island of ‘No-Man's-Land’ should be renamed Amity in contrast to its more foreboding title. This would serve to highlight the ironic nature of the shark attacks that occurred during the Amity Incident which were later depicted in the film Jaws.
Present Day Amity
"With a year round average of 9,190 population, the quiet vacation-town of Amity Island has had quite a past - the “shark attacks” of ‘74 completely crippled all town business. Two years later Mayor Vaughn reopened the suffering Island in 1976 and since, Amity Island has been a huge vacation and sight seeing spot due to it’s world class Captain Jake’s Amity Boat Tours. Just ask yourself, is it really safe to go back into the once shark-infested waters?"- Historical Marker.
- From http://amityboattours.com/ (official site)