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  • Massachuset

    Massachuset, North American tribe of Algonquian linguistic stock, formerly occupying the territory around Massachusetts Bay and along the seacoast from Plymouth to Salem, including the basins of the Neponset and Charles rivers. Massachusetts Bay and the state of Massachusetts were named after the tribe. Their principal village, also called Massachuset, was on the site of Quincy, in Norfolk County. The Massachuset, numbering about 3000, was the leading tribe in southern New England until 1617, when an epidemic reduced their number. By 1633 only about 500 remained; that year many more, including their chief, died of smallpox. The survivors were converted to Christianity by the English colonists; in 1646 they were gathered, with other converts, into the mission villages of Natick, Nonantum (now part of Newton), and Ponkapoag (now Canton), thus losing their tribal identity.

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