Woonsocket ( (listen) wuun-SOK-it, wən-), is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 41,186 at the 2010 census, making it the sixth largest city in the state. Being Rhode Island’s northernmost city, Woonsocket lies directly south of the Massachusetts state line and constitutes part of both the Providence metropolitan area and the larger Greater Boston Combined Statistical Area.
The city is the corporate headquarters of CVS Health, a pharmacy services provider. It is home to Landmark Medical Center, the Museum of Work and Culture, and the American-French Genealogical Society.
Before the arrival of European settlers in northern Rhode Island during the 17th century, today's Woonsocket region was inhabited by three Native American tribes: the Nipmuc (Cowesett), Wampanoag, and Narragansett. In 1661, the English theologian Roger Williams purchased the area from the "Coweset and Nipmucks", and in a letter referred to modern day Woonsocket as Niswosakit.
Other possible derivations of the name include several Nipmuc geographic names from nearby Massachusetts. These include Woonksechocksett, from Worcester County meaning "fox country", and Wannashowatuckqut, also from Worcester County, meaning "at the fork of the river". Another theory proposes that the city was named after Woonsocket Hill in neighboring North Smithfield.
Woonsocket Falls Village was founded in the 1820s. Its fortunes expanded as the Industrial Revolution developed in nearby Pawtucket. With the Blackstone River providing ample water power, the region became a prime location for textile mills.