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Groton is a town located on the Thames River in New London County, Connecticut, United States. Groton was established in 1705, when it separated from New London, Connecticut.
A hundred years before the town was established, the Nehantic people were settled in the area between the Thames and Pawcatuck rivers. The area was eventually taken over by the Pequots, a branch of the Mohawk people who moved eastward into the Connecticut River Valley. The Pequots finally rested and made their headquarters in what is now Groton. They built three villages at Groton Heights, Fort Hill, and Mystic.
The summer of 1614 was the first time that the Pequots encountered white settlers. They started trading furs for the settlers' goods, such as steel knives, needles, and boots. In 1633, the Dutch bought land from the Pequots and opened a fur trading post. Meanwhile, the English bought land for settlement from the local tribes.
Though the land was poor, access to the region's waterways left room for commerce and trade. Groton became a town of oceangoing settlers. Most of the community began to build ships, and soon the first traders made their way to Boston and Plymouth to trade for food, tools, weapons, and clothing. The sturdy ships built in Groton engaged in very profitable trade with the islands of the Caribbean.
Shortly after the Revolutionary War, Groton started to re-establish its commercial activities. Shipbuilders began to build again, with shipbuilders along the Mystic River the busiest. These ships went on trips to Florida, and the resulting profits made Mystic the most thriving part of the town.
In 1849 the discovery of gold in California created a demand for speed that resulted in the creation of the clipper ship, a fast sailing ship with multiple masts and a square rig. Both clippers and sailing packets were built in the shipyards of the Mystic River at that time. The Mystic shipyards started building ships with a greater cargo capacity after the Civil War.
The Naval Submarine Base New London was founded in Groton in 1872 as the New London Navy Yard. Submarines were first based there in 1915, and in 1916 it was officially renamed a submarine base.
In the 20th century, the shipbuilding industry moved from the Mystic River to the Thames River, and Electric Boat became the town's largest employer. In 1954, Electric Boat launched the USS Nautilus, the world's firstnuclear-powered submarine. Presently, the Nautilus is decommissioned and open for visitors, permanently berthed at the U.S. Navy Submarine Force Library and Museum. Due to the long-standing history of submarines in the town, and the fact that Groton has one of the largest submarine bases in the world, some people refer to Groton as the "Submarine Capital of the World".