On October 28, 1636 the Great and General Court of the Masachusetts Bay Colony voted to establish a "New College" to train the next generation of scholars. It was decided to locate the new college in New Towne or Newetowne, a village on the banks of the Charles River. In 1638 minister John Harvard of nearby Charlestown died leaving his library of 400 books and a sum of money to the new school. The college was then named Harvard in his honor. Also in 1638 the village was renamed Cambridge after the famous university in England.
Today Harvard College is just one of the schools that make up
Harvard University. Considered one of the most prestigious universities in the world, having started with humble beginnings, it is also the wealthiest. Harvard University is still managed under its original charter by the President and Fellows of Harvard College, making it the oldest corporation in the New World.