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urban town (township), New Haven county, southwestern Connecticut, U.S. It lies immediately north of the city of New Haven. The area, which was settled in 1664, was named for John Hampden, an English parliamentarian. It was separated from New Haven and incorporated as a town in 1786. Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin, began manufacturing muskets there in 1798; a tablet near Lake Whitney Dam marks the site of his armoury. Hamden has many old mill sites, and its economic growth was stimulated in the early 1800s by the completion of the Farmington Canal (1828) and the railroad. There has since been diversified industrial development. Within the town are Sleeping Giant State Park and the villages of Whitneyville and Mount Carmel. Quinnipiac College (established 1929 in New Haven) merged with Larson College and moved to Hamden in 1952. Area 33 square miles (85 square km). Pop. (1990) 52,434; (2000) 56,913.