Northampton, Massachusetts

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Northampton is a city in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States and is part of Massachusetts's second congressional district. As of the 2000 census, the population (of the central neighborhoods, excluding associated municipalities, e.g. Florence, Massachusetts) was 28,978. It is the county seat of Hampshire County. It is nicknamed The Paradise City. Northampton is home to Smith College. Northampton is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Contents

History

The area now known as Northampton was named Norwottuck, or Nonotuck, meaning "the midst of the river"[1] by its original Pocumtuc inhabitants. The Pocumtuc confederacy occupied the Connecticut River Valley, from what is now southern Vermont and New Hampshire into northern Connecticut. The Pocumtuc tribes were Algonquian, and traditionally allied with the Mahican confederacy to the west. By 1606, an ongoing struggle between the Mahican and Iroquois confederacies led to direct attacks on the Pocumtuc by the Iroquoian Mohawk nation.[2] The Mahican confederacy had been defeated by 1628, limiting Pocumtuc access to trade routes to the west. The area suffered a major smallpox epidemic in the 1630s, following the arrival of Dutch traders in the Hudson Valley and English settlers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the previous two decades. It was in this context that the land making up the bulk of modern Northampton was sold to settlers from Springfield, Massachusetts in 1653, and settled the following year.[3][4] The situation in the region further deteriorated when the Mohawk escalated hostilities against the Pocumtuc confederacy and other Algonquian tribes after 1655, forcing many of the plague-devastated Algonquian groups into defensive mergers.[2] This coincided with a souring of relations between the Wampanoag and the Massachusetts Bay colonists, eventually leading to the expanded Algonquian alliance which took part in King Philip's War.

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