Worcester (pop. 436,905), city in central Massachusetts on the Blackstone River. The city was established as a town in 1684, on the site of what was previously a settlement of the Nipmuc Native Americans. Colonists named the village to commemorate an English Civil War battle in which King Charles II was defeated. The city became an important industrial center in the 1800s, and its many factories attracted immigrants from all over the world. Today its hundreds of manufacturing plants produce a wide variety of products including chemicals, plastics, machinery, fabricated metals, textiles, clothing, paper, and leather. The city is also the site of many important educational, historical, and cultural institutions for the New England region.