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Named for a 1620 Dutch captain named Cornelius Jacobsen Mey, who charted the area between 1611 and 1614, establishing a claim for the Province of New Netherland, which was later settled by New Englanders from the New Haven Colony. The city of Cape May was originally incorporated as the borough of Cape Island in 1848, becoming Cape Island City in 1851, and Cape May City in 1869. Cape May is situated on the southern tip of Cape May Peninsula in Cape May County, where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic.

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