Dorchester is the largest and most populous district in Boston, comprising several neighborhoods and six square miles. From its beginnings as the site of the first town meeting in America (1633), through its life as a country retreat for Boston elites in Victorian times, to its centrality in the civil rights movements of the 20th century and sometime home of Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorchester has seen its share of history. These days, the area has several distinct and diverse populations.
Vietnamese- and Irish-Americans predominate in the eastern neighborhoods, and African-Americans are in the majority in the central and southern parts. Upham's Corner contains the largest Cape Verdean community in Boston. A large Caribbean population lives in Codman Square, Franklin Field and the Ashmont area, while Savin Hill, Lower Mills, and Peabody Square have seen a recent influx of GLBT youth and working artists. At the northern edge of Dorchester is the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass), and many students live in the area as well. This large and diverse area, therefore, offers a tremendous variety of restaurants, shops, parks, neighborhoods, and resources, and a variety of housing at affordable prices. Many gracious Victorian homes have been preserved or are being renovated as houses or condominiums.