Swansea is a town in Bristol County in southeastern Massachusetts. It is located at the mouth of the Taunton River, just west of Fall River, south of Boston, and southeast of Providence, Rhode Island. The population was 15,865 at the 2010 census.
Swansea was named for the Welsh city of Swansea, which had been the hometown of some original settlers. John Miles, the founder of the first Baptist Church in Wales, moved to Swansea in 1662/3. William Brenton had purchased the land from Native Americans. Parts of its territory were originally part of Rehoboth, Massachusetts.
On June 20, 1675, the first Indian attack of King Philip's War had all 70 settlers confined to their stockade. By June 25 the entire town had been burned, although a handful of the colonists escaped to Taunton. When the active war ended in 1676, the town was soon rebuilt.
After the war, many small industries, such as forges, ironworks and fisheries, opened up in the town. Many would later leave, and there remains a large agricultural sector.
What is now Barrington, Rhode Island (part of Massachusetts until 1747) was separated from the rest of Swansea in 1717, over religious differences.
In the late 1890s, trolleys connected the town to Providence, Fall River and Taunton, and the town has retained a suburban residential feel. Today Swansea is well known for its retail areas.
Swansea gained national attention in 1985 when Mark Hoyle, a young hemophiliac who had contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion, was allowed to attend public schools. It was the first time in the U.S. that a student known to have the disease was allowed to enter public schools. The case came to national attention around the same time as that of Ryan White in Indiana, and helped many children with HIV attend schools throughout the country. Hoyle died one year later, and a new elementary school was named in his honor.