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Nahant is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 3,410 at the 2010 census, which makes it the smallest municipality by population in Essex County. With just 1.0 square mile (2.7 km2) of land area, it is the smallest municipality by area in the state. It is primarily a residential community.
Native Americans called the area Nahant, meaning "the point" or "peninsula." The original Indian name of the place, Nahanten, signifies twins or two things united, referring to the two connected islands forming it. Located on a tied island jutting into Massachusetts Bay, it was first settled in 1630, in the second year of the Puritan coming. The servants of Isaac Johnson grazed his cattle on the land, and it was also often used by citizens of Lynn for grazing cattle, sheep and goats. Before 1800 there were only three homes on the island: those built by the Breeds and the Hoods, and the Johnson home built by Jeremiah Gray. The first hotel was built by one of the Johnsons 1802, and in 1817 a steamboat ran daily between Boston and Nahant. The town was originally part of Lynn; when the temperance movement threatened the summer resort trade in 1853, Nahant incorporated as a separate town.