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The Thames River (usually //) is a short river and tidal estuary in the U.S. state of Connecticut. It flows south for 15 miles (24 km) through eastern Connecticut from the junction of the Yantic and Shetucket rivers at Norwich, to New London and Groton, which flank its mouth at Long Island Sound. The Thames River watershed includes a number of smaller basins and the 80-mile-long Quinebaug River, which rises in southern Massachusetts and joins the Shetucket River about 4 miles northeast of Norwich.
The river has provided important harbors since the mid-17th century; it was then known as the Pequot River, after the Pequot Indians who dominated the area. Other early names for the river have included Frisius, Great, Great River of Pequot, Little Fresh, Mohegan, New London, and Pequod.
The United States Coast Guard Academy, Connecticut College, a U.S. Navy submarine base, and the Electric Boat submarine shipyard are located on the river at New London. The USS Nautilus (SSN-571), the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, was launched into the river on January 21, 1954.
The Yale-Harvard Boat Race is held annually in New London.
The Thames is crossed by three bridges: