102 American Towns Founded Before the American Revolution

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The United States was founded 244 years ago, but some American towns have been around for more than three centuries, and some longer still.

24/7 Tempo selected 100 towns that were founded before the American Revolution. We chose the towns by reviewing town and state websites, reference sources such as britannica.com, and sources such as thecompletepilgrim.com that provided information about America’s best preserved colonial towns. To be considered, towns needed to have originated in settlements that were founded, chartered, established, or incorporated before 1776. Virtually all of these towns, or the areas where they were established, had been Native American lands before European settlers arrived.

The vast majority of towns that were founded before 1776 are located in a handful of states in the Northeast. Massachusetts and Connecticut have by far the most towns incorporated prior to the Revolutionary War. On our list of 100 towns, 20 are in Massachusetts and 16 in Connecticut. Fewer than 10 towns on our list are in states west of Louisiana. Here is how each state got its name.

Thirty of the 50 states are home to towns that were founded before the Revolutionary War. Some of the oldest towns on the list, such as Kingston, New York, are also among the most common city names in the United States.

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1. St. Augustine, Florida
> Founded: 1565
> Population: 15,415

The oldest city in America was founded 11 days after Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés landed in what is now Florida on the feast day of St. Augustine.

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2. Jamestown, Virginia
> Founded: 1607
> Population: 15,196

This is where the first permanent English colony in North America was established. It was named after King James.

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3. Santa Fe, New Mexico
> Founded: 1610
> Population: 84,683

Santa Fe was founded by Spanish conquistadors, including Don Pedro de Peralta. Santa Fe is the oldest European settlement west of the Mississippi River.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

4. Hampton, Virginia
> Founded: 1610
> Population: 134,510

Hampton, founded by English settlers, is located at the mouth of the James River.

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5. Albany, New York
> Founded: 1614
> Population: 96,460

Dutch fur traders established Albany, the first European settlement in New York.

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6. Plymouth, Massachusetts
> Founded: 1620
> Population: 7,399

After crossing the Atlantic to escape religious persecution in England, the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth. The first Thanksgiving celebration took place here.

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7. New York, New York
> Founded: 1624
> Population: 8,336,817

Settled by the Dutch in 1624, the English took over the town in 1664 and named it New York.

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8. Salem, Massachusetts
> Founded: 1626
> Population: 43,226

Salem, famous for the witch trials in the late 17th century, was founded by English colonial settlers.

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9. Boston, Massachusetts
> Founded: 1630
> Population: 692,600

A group of 1,000 Puritan refugees led by John Winthrop and Thomas Dudley helped found what would become the biggest city in Massachusetts.

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10. Cambridge, Massachusetts
> Founded: 1630
> Population: 118,927

Cambridge was settled by the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Originally called New Towne, the name Cambridge was adopted in 1638.