Hempstead is the most populous town in the US, and is one of the three towns in Nassau County, New York, United States, occupying the southwest part of the county. Twenty-two incorporated villages are completely or partially in the town. Hempstead's combined population was 759,757 at the 2010 Census, the majority of the population of the county and by far the most of any town in New York.
The town was first settled around 1644 following the establishment of a treaty between English colonists, John Carman and Robert Fordham, and the Lenape Indians in 1643. Although the settlers were from the English colony of Connecticut, a patent was issued by the government of New Netherland after the settlers had purchased land from the local natives. This transaction is depicted in a mural in the Hempstead Village Hall, reproduced from a poster commemorating the 300th anniversary of Hempstead Village.In 1664, the settlement under the new Province of New York adopted the Duke's Laws, austere statutes that became the basis upon which the laws of many colonies were to be founded. For a time, Hempstead became known as "Old Blue", as a result of the "Blue Laws".During the American Revolution, the Loyalists in the south and the American sympathizers in the north caused a split in 1784 into "North Hempstead" and "South Hempstead".With the 1898 incorporation of the Borough of Queens as part of the city of New York, and the 1899 split of Queens County to create Nassau County, some southwestern portions of the Town of Hempstead seceded from the town and became part of the Borough of Queens.