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The area that would become Lexington was originally inhabited by the Naumkeag tribe, which came under English control in 1630. It was first settled by Europeans in 1642 as a village called Bedford Village (not to be confused with the present-day town of Bedford). The settlement's name was changed to Lexington in 1775 when it became the county seat of Middlesex County. The name "Lexington" originated either from an early leader named Lexingto or from a British officer who may have come across George Washington during his travels and exclaimed: "That is an attractive little town!" In 1827, Lexington began hosting its annual Fourth of July parade and picnic—the nation's oldest such celebration—which continues today as one of America's most famous Independence Day events.