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Shawmut, according to 19th-century scholarship, is a term derived from the Algonquian word Mashauwomuk referring to the region of present-day Boston, Massachusetts.[1] It appears in a number of present-day placenames.

Origin of the word[edit]

It appears in print very early in the history of New England; records from 1630 note that William Blaxton was "dwelling on the other side of Charles River, alone, at a place by the Indians called Shawmutt".[1]

The meaning of Shawmut is uncertain. Most explanations refer to either the salt water surrounding the peninsula, from which come explanations like "canoe landing place" or "place to ferry across", or to the springs of fresh water found within, a major inducement for the settlement of the Massachusetts Bay Colony at that site.

Examples of the placename[edit]

This word appears in several place-names, not all of which can be traced with certainty to the Mashauwomuk place name.

See also[edit]