Mashpee, Massachusetts is a town located in Barnstable County and on Cape Cod. As of the 2020 census, its population was 15,060.
The region was initially occupied by indigenous peoples, primarily the Wampanoag, for thousands of years. English colonists began settling the area in 1658 but the town was not officially incorporated until 1870. Mashpee is a headquarters of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and a large number of the tribe live there. The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is one of two federally recognized Wampanoag groups. The name “Mashpee” is an Anglicization of the Native name mass-nippe, which has been translated to variations of “the greater cove” which refers to the nearby Wakeby Pond. Mashpee was the second to last jurisdiction on Cape Cod to be incorporated as a town. In the 1970s, the Mashpee Wampanoag organized and filed a land claim against the state of Massachusetts in an effort to reclaim land that was seized by European settlers and while their claim was ultimately unsuccessful, the Mashpee Wampanoag continued to organize as a community and gained federal recognition as a tribe in 2007. The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe continues to be an active community within Mashpee, including holding an annual pow-wow and displaying both modern and traditional practices, activities, and crafts in celebration of their rich heritage.
Mashpee has a total area of 27.2 square miles. Of that, 23.4 square miles is land and 3.8 square miles is water. Mashpee is located on Cape Cod, a hook-shaped peninsula in Massachusetts that is a popular tourist and vacation destination in the summer months. Most of Cape Cod has been separated from the mainland by the Cape Cod Canal since 1914 when the canal was constructed. Cape Cod has an extensive network of public beaches along its 559.6 miles of coastline. The Cape Cod National Seashore has 40 miles of sandy beaches and walking paths. The town of Mashpee is located in the western part of Cape Cod. Nearby towns to Mashpee include the town of Sandwich to the north and northwest, the town of Barnstable to the east, Nantucket Sound to the south, and Falmouth to the west. Mashpee is about 65 miles south of Massachusetts state capital Boston and 70 miles east of Providence, Rhode Island.
Mashpee’s humid continental climate yields warm summers and means that the region sees precipitation all year round. Mashpee receives around 30’’ of snowfall each year and on average experiences its snowiest month in February.
According to the 2010 census, the median income for residents of Mashpee was $50,871 and the median income for families was $56,702. Of the town’s 15,060 population, 84.13% were White, 6.08% were Native American, 4.28% were African American, 2.24% were Hispanic or Latino, 2.94 identified as mixed or multi-racial, 1.27% identified as other races, 1.22% were Asian, and 0.06% were Pacific Islander.