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Cambridge History

International Scholars > Experience American Culture > Cambridge History

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Cambridge History

Did you know that people from Cambridge are called “Cantabrigians"?

Cambridge is a beautiful city with a wonderful history and a collegial atmosphere. In the 1630s, when the Puritan “pilgrims” settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Cambridge was originally called Newtowne. Harvard College was founded in 1636.

When you have the chance, walk in some of the older neighborhoods or ride a bike along a designated path. One of the more beautiful and historic areas is just outside of Harvard Square, along Brattle Street, particularly the section from the old Radcliffe College Campus, past the house of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, all the way to the picturesque Mt. Auburn Cemetery.

The Cambridge African American Heritage Trail marks the history and contributions of  African American teachers, abolitionists (activists who opposed slavery), writers, and government officials between 1840 and 1940.

Cambridge is a hub of learning and creativity with institutions like Harvard University and MIT, the Longy School of Music, and other colleges of business, arts, and social sciences. Maybe that is why you are here!

The list of people who have called Cambridge home is long and impressive. Among the many famous people who have considered themselves Cantabrigians include poets e.e. Cummings and Robert Frost, chef Julia Child, philosopher Oliver Wendell Homes, and politician “Tip” O’Neil.

Cambridge takes great pride in its citizens, both famous and obscure, and often pays tribute to them with markers that you will often see at street intersections, on homes, in parks, and along sidewalks. These honor their contributions to society. You may have also noticed that the Cambridge City government also loves to name street intersections and bridges after its citizens.

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Last Updated: July 2019

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