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General background about this state


Massachusetts Flag     Massachusetts Great Seal


MASSACHUSETTS


Cities
  Boston
  Cambridge
  Fall River
  Haverhill
  Lowell
  Lynn
  New Bedford
  Plymouth
  Quincy
  Springfield
  Worcester





Massachusetts, officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. Massachusetts is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth and is the birthplace of the great Statesman, Benjamin Franklin, as well as 4 Presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Calvin Coolidge, and John F. Kennedy.

  • ABBREVIATION: MA
  • NICKNAME: The Bay State
  • POPULATION: 6,692,824 (2013 est.)
  • CAPITAL: Boston
  • STATE BIRD: Chickadee
  • STATE FLOWER: Mayflower
  • AREA: 10,555 sq. mi.
  • TIME ZONE: Eastern
  • ENTERED UNION: Feb. 6, 1788
  • ALTITUDE: High, 3,489 ft. Mount Greylock
  • CLIMATE: Long cold winters, warm summers; moderate rainfall.

 

Here is the cradle of the American Nation, endlessly rocked by the ebb and flood of the powerful Atlantic. It was from the sea, past the beckoning finger of Cape Cod, that the Pilgrim Fathers came, and it was to the cod-crowded sea that Massachusetts was to turn for livelihood when the rock-strewn, sandy soil proved infertile for other than subsistence farming.

By the 18th Century, firmly established in their new-found land, the colonists were quick to respond to voices which rang out for independence. One was that of stormy Sam Adams of Boston, who wished that "a sense of liberty...be transmitted to posterity". Another was that of quiet John Parker, captain of the Lexington Militia, who on a dew sprinkled Massachusetts morning called the order: "Stand your ground. Don't fire unless fired upon. But if they mean to have a war, let it begin here." And so it began. Here on April 19th, 1775, was fired the shot heard round the world.

As Massachusetts had led the way in the American Revolution, so it led the way in the Industrial Revolution. Enterprising men used the rapid rivers to turn the wheels of textile mills and sawmills. Technical skills learned in these early industries laid the groundwork for the state's present efficiency. With some 95% of its income derived from manufacturing, Massachusetts was a leader in the production of clothing, textiles, shoes, electrical machinery, in the processing of foods, and in printing and publishing.

Oldest church in America
Oldest church in America, Massachusetts

The fishing industry is still important to Massachusetts. However, today Boston takes only a small portion of its total wealth from the sea. Ringed by research laboratories and a number of great technology companies, industries are able to draw upon the resources of Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Boston's more than 350,000 college students. New England's largest city now stands on the threshold of science, it is a hub for biotechnology. In 2006 Boston and its metropolitan area ranked as the fourth-largest cyber-city in the United States with 191,700 high-tech jobs.

 

FUN FACTS:

  • The country's first planned industrial community was built around a complex of textile mills beginning in 1821. By the 1840s Lowell was a leading industrial center in America.
  • Lake Chaubunagungamaug, also known as Webster Lake, is a lake in the town of Webster, Massachusetts. Its Native American name is said to mean in English "Fishing Place at the Boundaries -- Neutral Meeting Grounds". This is different from the humorous, more popular translation, "You fish on your side, I'll fish on my side, and nobody fish in the middle".
  • The USS Constitution ('Old Ironsides'), the oldest, fully commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy, is permanently docked at Charlestown Navy Yard.
  • Massachusetts is the home of the country's first institute of higher learning (Harvard, 1630), its first printing press (Cambridge, 1638), its first post office (Richard Fairbank's tavern, Boston, 1639), and its first ironworks (Saugus, 1650).
  • The first subway system in the US was built in Boston in 1897.
  • The first Thanksgiving Day was celebrated in Plymouth in 1621.

 

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