Falmouth is a town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, United States; Barnstable County is coextensive with Cape Cod. The population was 31,531 at the 2010 census. Today Falmouth is well known as the terminal for the Steamship Authority ferries to Martha's Vineyard and as the home of several scientific organizations such as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and the Woods Hole Research Center.
For geographic and demographic information on specific parts of the town of Falmouth, please see the articles on East Falmouth, Falmouth Village, North Falmouth, Teaticket, West Falmouth, and Woods Hole. There are also the villages of Hatchville and Waquoit, which are not census-designated places and both fall within the village of East Falmouth based on postal service.
Falmouth was first settled by English colonists in 1660 and was officially incorporated in 1686, and named by Bartholomew Gosnold for Falmouth, Cornwall, England, his home port. Early principal activities were farming, salt works, whaling, shipping, and sheep. Sheep husbandry was very popular due to the introduction of Merino sheep and the beginnings of water-powered mills that could process the wool. In 1837, Falmouth averaged about 50 sheep per sq. mile.