Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island to the south, New Hampshire and Vermont to the north, and New York to the west. The state is named after the Massachusett tribe, which once inhabited the east side of the area, and is one of the original thirteen states. The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, which is also the most populous city in New England. Over 80% of the population of Massachusetts lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry. Originally dependent on agriculture, fishing and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts's economy shifted from manufacturing to services. Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime trade.
Plymouth was the site of the second colony in New England after Popham Colony in 1607 in what is now Maine. Plymouth was founded in 1620 by the Pilgrims, passengers of the Mayflower. In 1692, the town of Salem and surrounding areas experienced one of America's most infamous cases of mass hysteria, the Salem witch trials. In 1777, General Henry Knox founded the Springfield Armory, which during the Industrial Revolution catalyzed numerous important technological advances, including interchangeable parts. In 1786, Shays' Rebellion, a populist revolt led by disaffected American Revolutionary War veterans, influenced the United States Constitutional Convention. In the 18th century, the Protestant First Great Awakening, which swept the Atlantic World, originated from the pulpit of Northampton preacher Jonathan Edwards. In the late 18th century, Boston became known as the "Cradle of Liberty" for the agitation there that led to the American Revolution.
The 1689 Boston revolt
was a popular uprising on April 18, 1689, against the rule of Sir Edmund Andros
, the governor of the Dominion of New England
. A well-organized "mob" of provincial militia and citizens formed in the city and arrested dominion officials. Members of the Church of England
, believed by Puritans to sympathize with the administration of the dominion, were also taken into custody by the rebels. Neither faction sustained casualties during the revolt. Leaders of the former Massachusetts Bay Colony
then reclaimed control of the government.
Andros, commissioned governor of New England in 1686, had earned the enmity of the local populace by enforcing the restrictive Navigation Acts, denying the validity of existing land titles, restricting town meetings, and appointing unpopular regular officers to lead colonial militia, among other actions. Furthermore, he had infuriated Puritans in Boston by promoting the Church of England, which was disliked by many Nonconformist New England colonists.
When the other New England colonies in the Dominion were informed of the overthrow of Andros, pre-dominion colonial authorities moved to restore their former governments to power. Rhode Island and Connecticut resumed governance under their earlier charters, and Massachusetts resumed governance according to its vacated charter after being temporarily governed by a committee composed of magistrates, Massachusetts Bay officials, and a majority of Andros's council. The committee was disbanded after some Boston leaders felt that radical rebels held too much sway over it. New Hampshire was temporarily left without formal government and was controlled by Massachusetts and its governor, Simon Bradstreet, who served as de facto ruler of the northern colony. Plymouth also resumed its previous form of governance.
was a machine company executive, an inventor
, and a volunteer officer in the Union Army
during the American Civil War
. Raised in Springfield, Massachusetts
, Edwards moved to Illinois as a young man to pursue a career as a manager of manufacturing. At the start of the Civil War, he became adjutant
of the 10th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry
and later aide-de-camp
to Brigadier General Darius N. Couch
. In the fall of 1862, he took command of the 37th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry
and led that unit through numerous major battles including the Battle of Gettysburg
. Just after Gettysburg, in July 1863, he was placed in command of a provisional brigade sent to assist in quelling the New York Draft Riots
. During the Overland Campaign
in the spring of 1864, he was placed in command of a brigade
and, during the Valley Campaigns of 1864
he was briefly placed in command of a division
of the VI Corps
. For his service, he would be given the honorary rank of major general
. After the war, Edwards returned to a career in manufacturing, most notably as manager of the Florence Machine Company in Northampton, Massachusetts
and the Gardner Machine and Gun Company in England.
Location of Massachusetts in the United States
- Capital: Boston
- Governor: Charlie Baker (R)
- Lieutenant Governor: Karyn Polito (R)
- Secretary of the Commonwealth: William F. Galvin (D)
- Attorney General: Maura Healey (D)
- Treasurer: Deb Goldberg (D)
- Auditor: Suzanne M. Bump (D)
- U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)
- U.S Representatives: Richard Neal (D), Jim McGovern (D), Lori Trahan (D), Joseph Kennedy III (D), Katherine Clark (D), Seth Moulton (D), Ayanna Pressley (D), Stephen Lynch (D), Bill Keating (D)
- Area: Ranked 44th in the US
- Total: 10,555 sq miles (27,336 km²)
- Width: 183 miles (295 km)
- Length: 113 miles (182 km)
- % Water: 25.7
- Latitude: 41° 14? N to 42° 53? N
- Longitude: 69° 56? W to 73° 30? W
- Total: 6,349,097 (13th in U.S.)
- Population Density: 809.8/sq miles (312.7/km²) (3rd in U.S.)
- Median income: $ 46,721 (3rd, 2006)
- Ratification of Constitution: February 6, 1788 (6th)
Atlas of Massachusetts with Greater Boston highlighted
Did you know
In this month
- September 3, 1919 – Roger Babson founds the Babson Institute, which would later be renamed Babson College (pictured), in Wellesley.
- September 5-12, 1778 – As part of the Revolutionary War, British Major General Charles Grey raids the towns of New Bedford, Fairhaven, and Martha's Vineyard, taking cattle, oxen, arms, and money.
- September 21, 1938 – The 1938 New England hurricane, a category 5 hurricane and the most powerful, costliest, and deadliest hurricane in recent New England history, strikes land, killing at least 99 people in Massachusetts.
- September 21, 1959 – Minute Man National Historical Park, which encompasses several important sites from the Revolutionary War, is established as a National Historical Park.
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