Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town’s founders. Cambridge is home to two of the world’s most prominent universities, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The site for what would become Cambridge was chosen in December 1630 because it was located safely upriver from Boston Harbor, which made it easily defensible from attacks by enemy ships. Also, the water from the local spring was so good that the local Native Americans believed it had medicinal properties. In 1775, George Washington came up from Virginia to take command of fledgling volunteer American soldiers camped on the Cambridge Common, known today as the birthplace of the U.S. Army.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Cambridge has a total area of 7.1 square miles (18 km2), of which 6.4 square miles (17 km2) of is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) is water. Despite intensive urbanization during the late 19th century and 20th century, Cambridge has preserved an unusual number of historic buildings, including some dating back to the 17th century. The city also contains an abundance of innovative contemporary architecture, largely built by Harvard and MIT.

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