What Are Some Historical Facts About New Bedford?


Quick Answer

Some historical facts about New Bedford, Massachusetts, include the town's founding in the 1700s, its renaming in 1787, the establishment of the first newspaper in 1792 and the establishment of cotton cloth manufacturing plants in 1846. The historical hurricane of 1938 that devastated the town spurred the creation of the Hurricane Barrier in 1966.

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Full Answer

Before its official founding in the 1700s, the site of New Bedford was first visited by Bartholomew Gosnold in 1602, who also visited Cape Cod and the Elizabeth Islands. By 1652, 36 people had settled in the area, as well as on land that would eventually become Fairhaven, Dartmouth, Westport and Acushnet, by purchasing it from the Wampanoag Indians. However, friendly feelings between the natives and the Europeans shattered 15 years later when the Wampanoags destroyed the European settlements in the area. Nobody went back to the area until the Quakers in 1699, followed by the Russell family, one of the few surviving families of the Native American and European battle. The Russells officially founded New Bedford between 1700 and 1750.

In 1765, New Bedford became a center for the whaling industry, expanding to include a fire department in 1772, a newspaper in 1792 and a post office in 1794. New Bedford joined the manufacturing revolution in the 1800s, housing the first mill in 1846 and becoming the largest producer of cotton yarns and textiles by the 1920s.

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