Salem, Massachusetts

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Salem is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 40,407 at the 2000 census. It and Lawrence are the county seats of Essex County.[1] Home to Salem State University, the Salem Willows Park and the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem is a residential and tourist area which includes the neighborhoods of Salem Neck, The Point, South Salem and North Salem, Witchcraft Heights, Pickering Wharf, and the McIntire Historic District (named after Salem's famous architect and carver, Samuel McIntire).

Salem was one of the most significant seaports in early America. It has the first National Historic Site designated by Congress, Salem Maritime National Historic Site, which protects Salem's historic waterfront.[citation needed]

Featured notably in Arthur Miller's The Crucible, much of the city's cultural identity is reflective of its role as the location of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692: Police cars are adorned with witch logos, a local public school is known as the Witchcraft Heights Elementary School, the Salem High School athletic teams are named The Witches, and Gallows Hill, a site of numerous public hangings, is currently used as a playing field for various sports.

Tourists know Salem as a mix of important historical sites, New Age and Wiccan boutiques, and kitschy Halloween or witch-themed attractions.

Contents

History

Salem was founded at the mouth of the Naumkeag river in 1626 at the site of an ancient Native American village and trading center (it was originally called Naumkeag and was renamed Salem three years later) by a company of fishermen from Cape Ann led by Roger Conant, and incorporated in 1629. Conant’s leadership had provided the stability to survive the first two years, but he was immediately replaced by John Endicott, one of the new arrivals, by order of the Dorchester Company. Conant graciously stepped aside and was granted 200 acres (0.81 km2) of land in compensation. These “New Planters” and the “Old Planters” agreed to cooperate, in large part due to the diplomacy of Conant and Endicott. In recognition of this peaceful transition to the new government, the name of the settlement was changed to Salem, a corruption of the Hebrew word ‘shalom'.[2]

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