Since 1620 there has always been something special about Massachusetts. Massachusetts is a state like no other. The famous Berkshires, in Eastern Mass, with hillside concerts and riverside towns, welcome visitors year-round. The Massachusetts Islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are legendary. History and tradition are everywhere. Historic Boston, Salem, Gloucester, Worcester, and Springfield Massachusetts offers rolling hills, riverside villages, oceanfront cities, history, adventure, and culture. MIT, Boston University, Harvard, Worcester Polytechnic Institution, and the University of Massachusetts system are among the more than 100 institutes of higher education located in the state. From Greater Boston and Cape Cod to Northampton, New Bedford, and Fall River, there’s something for everyone in the Bay State. Contact us for information about promoting your business in New England Living Magazine.
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Brief History of Massachusetts
The Founding of MA – The Beginning of the “Bay State”
Settlement began in 1620 when the Pilgrims landed at a point they named Plymouth, after the place from which they left in England. John Carver was the first governor and only survived one year in the new colony. William Bradford was the second governor; under his supervision, the colony became more stable. Creating trading posts and large farms the Puritans expanded, creating more small villages. Eager for the chance to study scripture the Puritans founded the Boston Latin School in 1635 and Harvard in 1636. In 1647 a law was put in place for the requirement of elementary schools in towns of 50 or more. The Native Americans were very resistant to the Puritans, resulting in a few wars. The Pequot War of 1637 resulted in the formation of the New England Confederation, the first voluntary union of American colonies. This confederation proved to be strong in defending their land during King Philip’s War. During the French and Indian some settlements were destroyed, however, some good did come from the war. Realizing the great distance from their mother country, America didn’t feel so dependant on Britain for troops by the end of the wars. Becoming more concerned with their own problems and investing more in their own land, all in all, they began to think as Americans rather than British citizens.
In 1691 a new charter united Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth into a single royal colony of Massachusetts. Church membership and a test for voting were abolished through this charter and Congregationalism was the established religion. William Phips was the governor of the new royal colony and did nothing. Consequently, during Governor Phip’s watch, the Salem Witch Trials took place; the governor had no comments or concerns except when his wife was accused.
The American Revolution
From 1760 to 1780 is about when the revolution started to take shape. Boston was the center of the revolution; when what began as a rock-throwing incident against some British soldiers ended in the shooting of five men, this went on to be known as the Boston Massacre. This event really sparked the anger with the British, along with the taxes.
The British had cornered Americans into only buying tea from them and then taxing them on it. So when a boat of British taxed tea arrived in Boston Harbor, some men known as the Sons of Liberty dumped all the tea off the boat and into the harbor. Today is known as the Boston Tea Party set many events in motion. The British were upset with Massachusetts and punished them by closing the port of Boston and reduced self-government.
On February 9, 1775, the British declared Massachusetts to be in rebellion and sent troops to the colony. Upon their arrival, Paul Revere made his famous ride to warn locals. With the entire city of Boston strongly opposing the British, the troops set up in Concord, Massachusetts, and started there. This is where the “shot heard round the world” was fired, today this battle is known as the Battle of Lexington and Concord. The troops moved strongly forward to Boston. It wasn’t until General George Washington took charge in 1776 that things started to turn around for America. When the General acquired a heavy cannon the British made their retreat. The fighting ended officially on July, 4th 1776 when the United States created their Declaration of Independence.
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