Massachusetts

Massachusetts

Overview
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 region of the northeastern
Northeastern United States
The Northeastern United States is a region of the United States as defined by the United States Census Bureau.-Composition:The region comprises nine states: the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont; and the Mid-Atlantic states of New...

 United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island
Rhode Island
The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

 and Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

 to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont
Vermont
Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state ranks 43rd in land area, , and 45th in total area. Its population according to the 2010 census, 630,337, is the second smallest in the country, larger only than Wyoming. It is the only New England...

 and New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

 to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010 Census, the population of Massachusetts was 6,547,629. The state features two separate metropolitan areas – the eastern Boston metropolitan area and the western Springfield metropolitan area
Springfield, Massachusetts metropolitan area
The Springfield Metropolitan Area is a region that is socio-economically and culturally tied to the City of Springfield, Massachusetts. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget defines the Springfield metropolitan statistical area as consisting of three counties in Western Massachusetts. As of...

.
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Timeline

1613   The first English expedition from Massachusetts against Acadia led by Samuel Argall takes place.

1620   Pilgrims aboard the ''Mayflower'' sight land at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

1620   Pilgrim Fathers land at what becomes Plymouth in Massachusetts.

1630   The city of Boston, Massachusetts is founded.

1635   The first public school in the United States, Boston Latin School, is founded in Boston, Massachusetts.

1636   The Covenant of the Town of Dedham, Massachusetts is first signed.

1642   Georgeana, Massachusetts (now known as York, Maine), becomes the first incorporated city in the United States.

1648   Margaret Jones is hanged in Boston for witchcraft in the first such execution for the Massachusetts colony.

1656   Massachusetts enacts the first punitive legislation against the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). The marriage of church-and-state in Puritanism makes them regard the Quakers as spiritually apostate and politically subversive.

1690   The colony of Massachusetts issues the first paper money in America.

 
Encyclopedia
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 region of the northeastern
Northeastern United States
The Northeastern United States is a region of the United States as defined by the United States Census Bureau.-Composition:The region comprises nine states: the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont; and the Mid-Atlantic states of New...

 United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island
Rhode Island
The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

 and Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

 to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont
Vermont
Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state ranks 43rd in land area, , and 45th in total area. Its population according to the 2010 census, 630,337, is the second smallest in the country, larger only than Wyoming. It is the only New England...

 and New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

 to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010 Census, the population of Massachusetts was 6,547,629. The state features two separate metropolitan areas – the eastern Boston metropolitan area and the western Springfield metropolitan area
Springfield, Massachusetts metropolitan area
The Springfield Metropolitan Area is a region that is socio-economically and culturally tied to the City of Springfield, Massachusetts. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget defines the Springfield metropolitan statistical area as consisting of three counties in Western Massachusetts. As of...

. Approximately two thirds of the state's population lives in Greater Boston, most of which is either urban or suburban. Western Massachusetts
Western Massachusetts
Western Massachusetts is a loosely defined geographical region of the U.S. state of Massachusetts which contains the Berkshires, the Pioneer Valley, and some or all of the Swift River Valley. The region is always considered to include Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties, and the...

 features one urban area – the Knowledge Corridor
Knowledge Corridor
The Knowledge Corridor is term for the area comprising north-central Connecticut and the south-central Connecticut River Valley in Western Massachusetts...

 along the Connecticut River
Connecticut River
The Connecticut River is the largest and longest river in New England, and also an American Heritage River. It flows roughly south, starting from the Fourth Connecticut Lake in New Hampshire. After flowing through the remaining Connecticut Lakes and Lake Francis, it defines the border between the...

 – and a mix of college towns and rural areas. Massachusetts is the most populous of the six New England states, the third most densely populated state in the United States, and also has the US's sixth highest GDP per capita.

Massachusetts played a significant historical, cultural, and commercial role in American history
History of the United States
The history of the United States traditionally starts with the Declaration of Independence in the year 1776, although its territory was inhabited by Native Americans since prehistoric times and then by European colonists who followed the voyages of Christopher Columbus starting in 1492. The...

. Plymouth was the second permanent English settlement in North America, and Puritan
Puritan
The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England...

s settling Massachusetts in the 1630s dominated New England for many years. Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

, founded in 1636, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. In 1692, the towns surrounding Salem
Salem, Massachusetts
Salem is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 40,407 at the 2000 census. It and Lawrence are the county seats of Essex County...

 experienced one of America's most infamous cases of mass hysteria, the Salem Witch Trials
Salem witch trials
The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings before county court trials to prosecute people accused of witchcraft in the counties of Essex, Suffolk, and Middlesex in colonial Massachusetts, between February 1692 and May 1693...

. In the 18th century, the Protestant First Great Awakening
First Great Awakening
The First Awakening was a Christian revitalization movement that swept Protestant Europe and British America, and especially the American colonies in the 1730s and 1740s, leaving a permanent impact on American religion. It resulted from powerful preaching that gave listeners a sense of personal...

, which swept the Atlantic world, originated from the pulpit of Northampton, Massachusetts
Northampton, Massachusetts
The city of Northampton is the county seat of Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of Northampton's central neighborhoods, was 28,549...

 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
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

 and the independence
Independence
Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory....

 of the United States from Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

. In 1777, General Henry Knox
Henry Knox
Henry Knox was a military officer of the Continental Army and later the United States Army, and also served as the first United States Secretary of War....

 founded the Springfield Armory
Springfield Armory
The Springfield Armory, located in the City of Springfield, Massachusetts - from 1777 until its closing in 1968 - was the primary center for the manufacture of U.S. military firearms. After its controversial closing during the Vietnam War, the Springfield Armory was declared Western Massachusetts'...

, which during the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 catalyzed numerous important technological advances, including interchangeable parts
Interchangeable parts
Interchangeable parts are parts that are, for practical purposes, identical. They are made to specifications that ensure that they are so nearly identical that they will fit into any device of the same type. One such part can freely replace another, without any custom fitting...

. In 1786, Shays' Rebellion
Shays' Rebellion
Shays' Rebellion was an armed uprising in central and western Massachusetts from 1786 to 1787. The rebellion is named after Daniel Shays, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War....

, a populist revolt by Western Massachusetts farmers, led directly to the United States Constitutional Convention. Before the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, Massachusetts was a center for the temperance
Temperance movement
A temperance movement is a social movement urging reduced use of alcoholic beverages. Temperance movements may criticize excessive alcohol use, promote complete abstinence , or pressure the government to enact anti-alcohol legislation or complete prohibition of alcohol.-Temperance movement by...

, transcendentalist, and abolitionist movements. In 1837, Mount Holyoke College
Mount Holyoke College
Mount Holyoke College is a liberal arts college for women in South Hadley, Massachusetts. It was the first member of the Seven Sisters colleges, and served as a model for some of the others...

, the United States' first college for women, was opened in the Connecticut River Valley town of South Hadley
South Hadley, Massachusetts
South Hadley is a town in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 17,514 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area....

. In the late 19th century, the (now) Olympic sports of basketball and volleyball were invented in the Western Massachusetts cities of Springfield
Springfield, Massachusetts
Springfield is the most populous city in Western New England, and the seat of Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. Springfield sits on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River near its confluence with three rivers; the western Westfield River, the eastern Chicopee River, and the eastern...

 and Holyoke, respectively. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legally recognize same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage in Massachusetts
Same-sex marriage in the U.S. state of Massachusetts began on May 17, 2004, as a result of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruling in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that it was unconstitutional under the Massachusetts constitution to allow only heterosexual couples to marry...

 as a result of the decision of the state's Supreme Judicial Court. The state has contributed many prominent politicians to national service, including members of the Adams family and of the Kennedy family
Kennedy family
In the United States, the phrase Kennedy family commonly refers to the family descending from the marriage of the Irish-Americans Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald that was prominent in American politics and government. Their political involvement has revolved around the...

.

Originally dependent on fishing, agriculture, and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, the state's economy shifted from manufacturing to services. In the 21st century, Massachusetts is a leader in higher education, health care technology, high technology, financial services
Financial services
Financial services refer to services provided by the finance industry. The finance industry encompasses a broad range of organizations that deal with the management of money. Among these organizations are credit unions, banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, consumer finance companies,...

, cannabis law reform
Massachusetts Sensible Marijuana Policy Initiative
The Sensible Marijuana Policy Initiative, also known as Massachusetts Ballot Question 2, was an initiated state statute that replaced prior criminal penalties with new civil penalties on adults possessing an ounce or less of marijuana. The initiative appeared on the November 4, 2008 ballot in...

, and universal healthcare.

Name


The Massachusetts Bay Colony
Massachusetts Bay Colony
The Massachusetts Bay Colony was an English settlement on the east coast of North America in the 17th century, in New England, situated around the present-day cities of Salem and Boston. The territory administered by the colony included much of present-day central New England, including portions...

 was named after the indigenous population, the Massachusett
Massachusett
The Massachusett are a tribe of Native Americans who lived in areas surrounding Massachusetts Bay in what is now the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in particular present-day Greater Boston; they spoke the Massachusett language...

, whose name can be segmented as mass-adchu-s-et, where mass- is "large", -adchu- is "hill", -s- is a diminutive
Diminutive
In language structure, a diminutive, or diminutive form , is a formation of a word used to convey a slight degree of the root meaning, smallness of the object or quality named, encapsulation, intimacy, or endearment...

 suffix meaning "small", and -et is a locative suffix, identifying a place. It has been translated as "near the great hill", "by the blue hills", "at the little big hill", or "at the range of hills", referring to the Blue Hills
Blue Hills Reservation
Blue Hills Reservation is a state park in Norfolk County, Massachusetts. Managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, it extends into Milton, Quincy, Braintree, Canton, Randolph, and Dedham south of Boston.-Description:...

, or in particular, Great Blue Hill
Great Blue Hill
Great Blue Hill is a hill of 635 feet located within the Blue Hills Reservation in the eastern part of the U.S. state of Massachusetts, 10 miles southwest of Boston. It is the highest point in Norfolk County...

, located on the boundary of Milton
Milton, Massachusetts
Milton is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States and part of the Greater Boston area. The population was 27,003 at the 2010 census. Milton is the birthplace of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush and architect Buckminster Fuller. Milton also has the highest percentage of...

 and Canton
Canton, Massachusetts
Canton is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 21,561 at the 2010 census. Canton is part of Greater Boston, about 15 miles southwest of downtown Boston.- History :...

. Alternatively, Massachusett has been represented as Moswetuset, from the name of the Moswetuset Hummock
Moswetuset Hummock
Moswetuset Hummock is a wooded historic place in Quincy, Massachusetts. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.The site is located at the northern end of Wollaston Beach along Quincy Bay on East Squantum Street near the junction with Quincy Shore Drive...

 (meaning "hill shaped like an arrowhead") in Quincy
Quincy, Massachusetts
Quincy is a city in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. Its nicknames are "City of Presidents", "City of Legends", and "Birthplace of the American Dream". As a major part of Metropolitan Boston, Quincy is a member of Boston's Inner Core Committee for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council...

 where Plymouth Colony
Plymouth Colony
Plymouth Colony was an English colonial venture in North America from 1620 to 1691. The first settlement of the Plymouth Colony was at New Plymouth, a location previously surveyed and named by Captain John Smith. The settlement, which served as the capital of the colony, is today the modern town...

 commander Miles Standish and Squanto
Squanto
Tisquantum was a Patuxet. He was the Native American who assisted the Pilgrims after their first winter in the New World and was integral to their survival. The Patuxet tribe was a tributary of the Wampanoag Confederacy.-Biography:Squanto's exact date of birth is unknown but many historians...

, a Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

, met Chief Chickatawbut in 1621.
The official name of the state is the "Commonwealth of Massachusetts". Colloquially, it is often referred to simply as "the Commonwealth". While this designation is part of the state's official name, it has no practical implications. Massachusetts has the same position and powers within the United States as other states.

Geography



Massachusetts is the 7th smallest state in the United States. It is located in the New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 region of the northeastern United States, and has an area of 10555 square miles (27,337.3 km²). Several large bays
Headlands and bays
Headlands and bays are two related features of the coastal environment.- Geology and geography :Headlands and bays are often found on the same coastline. A bay is surrounded by land on three sides, whereas a headland is surrounded by water on three sides. Headlands are characterized by high,...

 distinctly shape its coast. Boston is the largest city, at the inmost point of Massachusetts Bay
Massachusetts Bay
The Massachusetts Bay, also called Mass Bay, is one of the largest bays of the Atlantic Ocean which forms the distinctive shape of the coastline of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. Its waters extend 65 miles into the Atlantic Ocean. Massachusetts Bay includes the Boston Harbor, Dorchester Bay,...

, the mouth of the Charles River
Charles River
The Charles River is an long river that flows in an overall northeasterly direction in eastern Massachusetts, USA. From its source in Hopkinton, the river travels through 22 cities and towns until reaching the Atlantic Ocean at Boston...

, which is the longest river entirely within Massachusetts. The state extends from the mountains of the Appalachian system in the west to the sandy beaches and rocky shorelines of the Atlantic coast.

The National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

 administers a number of natural and historical sites in Massachusetts. Along with twelve national historic sites, areas, and corridors, the National Park Service also manages the Cape Cod National Seashore
Cape Cod National Seashore
The Cape Cod National Seashore , created on August 7, 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, encompasses on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It includes ponds, woods and beachfront of the Atlantic coastal pine barrens ecoregion...

 and the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area
Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area
The Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area is a National Recreation Area situated among the islands of Boston Harbor of Boston, Massachusetts. The area is made up of a collection of islands, together with a former island and a peninsula, many of which are open for public recreation and some...

. In addition, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation maintains a number of parks, trails, and beaches throughout the commonwealth.

Ecology


The primary biome
Biome
Biomes are climatically and geographically defined as similar climatic conditions on the Earth, such as communities of plants, animals, and soil organisms, and are often referred to as ecosystems. Some parts of the earth have more or less the same kind of abiotic and biotic factors spread over a...

 of inland Massachusetts is temperate deciduous forest
Temperate deciduous forest
A temperate deciduous forest, more precisely termed temperate broadleaf forest or temperate broadleaved forest, is a biome found in North America, southern South America, Europe, and Asia. A temperate deciduous forest consists of trees that lose their leaves every year...

. Although much
of the state had been cleared for agriculture, leaving only traces of old growth forest
Old growth forest
An old-growth forest is a forest that has attained great age , and thereby exhibits unique ecological features. An old growth forest has also usually reached a climax community...

 in isolated pockets,
secondary growth has regenerated in many rural areas as farms have been abandoned. Currently, forests cover around 62% of Massachusetts. The areas most affected by human development include the Greater Boston area in the east, the smaller Springfield metropolitan area in the west, and the largely agricultural Pioneer Valley. Animals that have become locally extinct over the past few centuries include gray wolves, elk
Elk
The Elk is the large deer, also called Cervus canadensis or wapiti, of North America and eastern Asia.Elk may also refer to:Other antlered mammals:...

, wolverines, and mountain lions.


A number of species are doing well despite (and in some cases because of) the increased urbanization of the commonwealth. Peregrine falcons utilize office towers in larger cities as nesting areas, and the population of coyotes, whose diet may include garbage and roadkill, has been increasing in recent decades. White-tailed deer
White-tailed Deer
The white-tailed deer , also known as the Virginia deer or simply as the whitetail, is a medium-sized deer native to the United States , Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America as far south as Peru...

, raccoons, wild turkey
Wild Turkey
The Wild Turkey is native to North America and is the heaviest member of the Galliformes. It is the same species as the domestic turkey, which derives from the South Mexican subspecies of wild turkey .Adult wild turkeys have long reddish-yellow to grayish-green...

s and eastern gray squirrel
Eastern Gray Squirrel
The eastern gray squirrel is a tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus native to the eastern and midwestern United States, and to the southerly portions of the eastern provinces of Canada...

s are also found throughout Massachusetts. In more rural areas in the western part of the state, larger mammals such as moose
Moose
The moose or Eurasian elk is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic configuration...

 and black bears
American black bear
The American black bear is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent's smallest and most common bear species. Black bears are omnivores, with their diets varying greatly depending on season and location. They typically live in largely forested areas, but do leave forests in...

 have returned, largely due to reforestation following the regional decline in agriculture.

Massachusetts is located along the Atlantic Flyway
Atlantic Flyway
The Atlantic Flyway is a bird migration route that generally follows the Atlantic Coast of North America and the Appalachian Mountains. The main endpoints of the flyway include the Canadian Maritimes and the region surrounding the Gulf of Mexico; the migration route tends to narrow considerably in...

, a major route for migratory waterfowl along the Atlantic coast. Lakes in central Massachusetts provide habitat for the common loon, while a significant population of long-tailed ducks
Long-tailed Duck
The Long-tailed Duck or Oldsquaw is a medium-sized sea duck. It is the only living member of its genus, Clangula; this was formerly used for the goldeneyes, with the Long-tailed Duck being placed in Harelda...

 winter off Nantucket. Small offshore islands and beaches are home to roseate tern
Roseate Tern
The Roseate Tern is a seabird of the tern family Sternidae. This bird has a number of geographical races, differing mainly in bill colour and minor plumage details....

s and are important breeding areas for the locally threatened piping plover
Piping Plover
The Piping Plover is a small sand-colored, sparrow-sized shorebird that nests and feeds along coastal sand and gravel beaches in North America. The adult has yellow-orange legs, a black band across the forehead from eye to eye, and a black ring around the neck...

. Protected areas such as the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge
Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge
Monomoy Island National Wildlife Refuge is federal wildlife refuge located on Monomoy Island in Massachusetts.- History :It was taken over by the US government just before World War II. The island was home to the Monomoy Island Gunnery Range until 1944 when the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge was...

 provide critical breeding habitat for shorebirds and a variety of marine wildlife including a large population of gray seals.

Freshwater fish species in the commonwealth include bass
Bass (fish)
Bass is a name shared by many different species of popular gamefish. The term encompasses both freshwater and marine species. All belong to the large order Perciformes, or perch-like fishes, and in fact the word bass comes from Middle English bars, meaning "perch."-Types of basses:*The temperate...

, carp
Common carp
The Common carp is a widespread freshwater fish of eutrophic waters in lakes and large rivers in Europe and Asia. The wild populations are considered vulnerable to extinction, but the species has also been domesticated and introduced into environments worldwide, and is often considered an invasive...

, catfish
Catfish
Catfishes are a diverse group of ray-finned fish. Named for their prominent barbels, which resemble a cat's whiskers, catfish range in size and behavior from the heaviest and longest, the Mekong giant catfish from Southeast Asia and the second longest, the wels catfish of Eurasia, to detritivores...

, and trout
Trout
Trout is the name for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the family Salmonidae. Salmon belong to the same family as trout. Most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water...

, while saltwater species such as Atlantic cod
Atlantic cod
The Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua, is a well-known demersal food fish belonging to the family Gadidae. It is also commercially known as cod, codling or haberdine....

, haddock
Haddock
The haddock , also known as the offshore hake, is a marine fish distributed on both sides of the North Atlantic. Haddock is a popular food fish and is widely fished commercially....

 and American lobster
American lobster
The American lobster, Homarus americanus, is a species of lobster found on the Atlantic coast of North America, chiefly from Labrador to New Jersey. Within North America, it is also known as the northern lobster or Maine lobster. It can reach a body length of , and a mass of over , making it the...

 populate offshore waters. Other marine species include Harbor seals, the endangered North Atlantic right whale
North Atlantic Right Whale
The North Atlantic right whale which means "good, or true, whale of the ice") is a baleen whale, one of three right whale species belonging to the genus Eubalaena, formerly classified as a single species. With only 400 in existence, North Atlantic right whales are among the most endangered whales...

s, as well as humpback whales, fin whale
Fin Whale
The fin whale , also called the finback whale, razorback, or common rorqual, is a marine mammal belonging to the suborder of baleen whales. It is the second longest whale and the sixth largest living animal after the blue whale, bowhead whale, and right whales, growing to nearly 27 metres long...

s, minke whales and Atlantic white-sided dolphins
Atlantic White-sided Dolphin
The Atlantic White-sided Dolphin is a distinctively coloured dolphin found in the cool to temperate waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.-Taxonomy:...

.

History




Early


Massachusetts was originally inhabited by tribes of the Algonquian language family
Algonquian languages
The Algonquian languages also Algonkian) are a subfamily of Native American languages which includes most of the languages in the Algic language family. The name of the Algonquian language family is distinguished from the orthographically similar Algonquin dialect of the Ojibwe language, which is a...

 such as the Wampanoag
Wampanoag
The Wampanoag In the 1600s when encountered by the English, the Wampanoag lived in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as within a territory that encompassed current day Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket...

, Narragansett
Narragansett
Narragansett may refer to:*Narragansett , a Pennsylvania Railroad train*Narragansett , an Amtrak train*Narragansett **Narragansett land claim*Narragansett, Rhode Island, a town*Narragansett Bay*Narragansett...

, Nipmuc, Pocomtuc
Pocomtuc
The Pocumtuck, also Pocomtuc or Deerfield Indians, were a Native American tribe formerly inhabiting western Massachusetts, especially around the confluence of the Deerfield and Connecticut Rivers in Franklin County. Their territory also included parts of Hampden and Hampshire County, as well as...

, Mahican
Mahican
The Mahican are an Eastern Algonquian Native American tribe, originally settling in the Hudson River Valley . After 1680, many moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts. During the early 1820s and 1830s, most of the Mahican descendants migrated westward to northeastern Wisconsin...

, and Massachusett
Massachusett
The Massachusett are a tribe of Native Americans who lived in areas surrounding Massachusetts Bay in what is now the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in particular present-day Greater Boston; they spoke the Massachusett language...

. While cultivation of crops like squash and corn
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

 supplemented their diets, these tribes were generally dependent on hunting, gathering and fishing for most of their food supply. Villages consisted of lodges called wigwams as well as long houses, and tribes were led by male or female elders known as sachem
Sachem
A sachem[p] or sagamore is a paramount chief among the Algonquians or other northeast American tribes. The two words are anglicizations of cognate terms from different Eastern Algonquian languages...

s.

Colonial period


In the early 1600s (after contact had been made with Europeans, but before permanent settlements were established), large numbers of the indigenous people in the northeast of what is now the United States were killed by virgin soil epidemics
Virgin soil epidemics
Virgin soil epidemic refers to an epidemic resulting from the introduction of a disease into a place where it does not occur or spread naturally...

 such as smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

, measles
Measles
Measles, also known as rubeola or morbilli, is an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus, specifically a paramyxovirus of the genus Morbillivirus. Morbilliviruses, like other paramyxoviruses, are enveloped, single-stranded, negative-sense RNA viruses...

, influenza
Influenza
Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae , that affects birds and mammals...

, and perhaps leptospirosis
Leptospirosis
Leptospirosis is caused by infection with bacteria of the genus Leptospira, and affects humans as well as other mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles.The...

. In 1617–1619, smallpox reportedly killed 90% of the Massachusetts Bay
Massachusetts Bay
The Massachusetts Bay, also called Mass Bay, is one of the largest bays of the Atlantic Ocean which forms the distinctive shape of the coastline of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. Its waters extend 65 miles into the Atlantic Ocean. Massachusetts Bay includes the Boston Harbor, Dorchester Bay,...

 Native Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

.

The first English settlers in Massachusetts, the Pilgrims, established their settlement at Plymouth
Plymouth (town), Massachusetts
Plymouth is a town in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States. Plymouth holds a place of great prominence in American history, folklore and culture, and is known as "America's Hometown." Plymouth was the site of the colony founded in 1620 by the Pilgrims, passengers of the famous ship the...

 in 1620, and developed friendly relations with the native Wampanoag. This was the second successful permanent English colony in North America, after the Jamestown Colony. The Pilgrims were soon followed by Puritan
Puritan
The Puritans were a significant grouping of English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries. Puritanism in this sense was founded by some Marian exiles from the clergy shortly after the accession of Elizabeth I of England in 1558, as an activist movement within the Church of England...

s who established the Massachusetts Bay Colony
Massachusetts Bay Colony
The Massachusetts Bay Colony was an English settlement on the east coast of North America in the 17th century, in New England, situated around the present-day cities of Salem and Boston. The territory administered by the colony included much of present-day central New England, including portions...

 at present-day Boston in 1630. The Puritans, who believed the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 was too hierarchical (among other disagreements) came to Massachusetts for religious freedom, although, unlike the Plymouth colony, the bay colony was founded under a royal charter. Both religious dissent and expansionism resulted in several new colonies being founded shortly after Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay elsewhere in New England. Dissenters such as Anne Hutchinson
Anne Hutchinson
Anne Hutchinson was one of the most prominent women in colonial America, noted for her strong religious convictions, and for her stand against the staunch religious orthodoxy of 17th century Massachusetts...

 and Roger Williams
Roger Williams (theologian)
Roger Williams was an English Protestant theologian who was an early proponent of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. In 1636, he began the colony of Providence Plantation, which provided a refuge for religious minorities. Williams started the first Baptist church in America,...

 were banished due to religious disagreements; (Hutchinson held meetings in her home discussing flaws in the Puritan beliefs, while Williams believed that the Puritan beliefs were wrong, and the Indians must be respected.) In 1636, Williams founded the colony of Rhode Island
Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
The Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations was one of the original English Thirteen Colonies established on the east coast of North America that, after the American Revolution, became the modern U.S...

 and Hutchinson joined him there several years later.

In 1691, the colonies of Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth were united (along with present-day Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

, which had previously been divided between Massachusetts and New York
Province of New York
The Province of New York was an English and later British crown territory that originally included all of the present U.S. states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Vermont, along with inland portions of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine, as well as eastern Pennsylvania...

) into the Province of Massachusetts Bay
Province of Massachusetts Bay
The Province of Massachusetts Bay was a crown colony in North America. It was chartered on October 7, 1691 by William and Mary, the joint monarchs of the kingdoms of England and Scotland...

. Shortly after the arrival of the new province's first governor, Sir William Phips
William Phips
Sir William Phips was a shipwright, ship's captain, treasure hunter, military leader, and the first royally-appointed governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay....

, the Salem witch trials
Salem witch trials
The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings before county court trials to prosecute people accused of witchcraft in the counties of Essex, Suffolk, and Middlesex in colonial Massachusetts, between February 1692 and May 1693...

 took place, in which a number of men and women were hanged.

The most destructive earthquake
1755 Cape Ann Earthquake
The Cape Ann Earthquake took place off the coast of the British Province of Massachusetts Bay on November 18, 1755. At between 6.0 and 6.3 on the Richter scale, it remains the largest earthquake in the history of Massachusetts...

 yet known in New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 occurred in 1755, causing considerable damage across the commonwealth.


Massachusetts was a center of the movement for independence from Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

; colonists here had long had uneasy relations with the British monarchy, including open rebellion under the Dominion of New England
Dominion of New England
The Dominion of New England in America was an administrative union of English colonies in the New England region of North America. The dominion was ultimately a failure because the area it encompassed was too large for a single governor to manage...

 in the 1680s. Protests against British attempts to tax the colonies after the French and Indian War
French and Indian War
The French and Indian War is the common American name for the war between Great Britain and France in North America from 1754 to 1763. In 1756, the war erupted into the world-wide conflict known as the Seven Years' War and thus came to be regarded as the North American theater of that war...

 ended in 1763 led to the Boston Massacre
Boston Massacre
The Boston Massacre, called the Boston Riot by the British, was an incident on March 5, 1770, in which British Army soldiers killed five civilian men. British troops had been stationed in Boston, capital of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, since 1768 in order to protect and support...

 in 1770, and the 1773 Boston Tea Party
Boston Tea Party
The Boston Tea Party was a direct action by colonists in Boston, a town in the British colony of Massachusetts, against the British government and the monopolistic East India Company that controlled all the tea imported into the colonies...

 escalated tensions to the breaking point. Anti-Parliamentary activity by men such as Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams was an American statesman, political philosopher, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. As a politician in colonial Massachusetts, Adams was a leader of the movement that became the American Revolution, and was one of the architects of the principles of American...

 and John Hancock
John Hancock
John Hancock was a merchant, statesman, and prominent Patriot of the American Revolution. He served as president of the Second Continental Congress and was the first and third Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts...

, followed by reprisals by the British government, were a primary reason for the unity of the Thirteen Colonies
Thirteen Colonies
The Thirteen Colonies were English and later British colonies established on the Atlantic coast of North America between 1607 and 1733. They declared their independence in the American Revolution and formed the United States of America...

 and the outbreak of the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

. The Battles of Lexington and Concord
Battles of Lexington and Concord
The Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. They were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Menotomy , and Cambridge, near Boston...

 initiated the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 and were fought in the Massachusetts towns of Concord
Concord, Massachusetts
Concord is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 17,668. Although a small town, Concord is noted for its leading roles in American history and literature.-History:...

 and Lexington
Lexington, Massachusetts
Lexington is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 31,399 at the 2010 census. This town is famous for being the site of the first shot of the American Revolution, in the Battle of Lexington on April 19, 1775.- History :...

. Future President George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 took over what would become the Continental Army after the battle. His first victory was the Siege of Boston
Siege of Boston
The Siege of Boston was the opening phase of the American Revolutionary War, in which New England militiamen—who later became part of the Continental Army—surrounded the town of Boston, Massachusetts, to prevent movement by the British Army garrisoned within...

 in the winter of 1775–6, after which the British were forced to evacuate the city. The event is still celebrated in Suffolk County
Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Suffolk County has no land border with Plymouth County to its southeast, but the two counties share a water boundary in the middle of Massachusetts Bay.-National protected areas:*Boston African American National Historic Site...

 as Evacuation Day
Evacuation Day (Massachusetts)
March 17 is Evacuation Day, a holiday observed in Suffolk County and also by the public schools in Cambridge and Somerville, Massachusetts. The holiday commemorates the evacuation of British forces from the city of Boston following the Siege of Boston, early in the American Revolutionary War...

.

Federal period


Bostonian John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

, known as the "Atlas of Independence", was an important figure in both the struggle for independence as well as the formation of the new United States. Adams was highly involved in the push for separation from Britain and the writing of the Massachusetts Constitution
Massachusetts Constitution
The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the fundamental governing document of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, one of the 50 individual state governments that make up the United States of America. It was drafted by John Adams, Samuel Adams, and James Bowdoin during the...

 in 1780 (which, in the Elizabeth Freeman and Quock Walker
Quock Walker
Quock Walker, also known as Kwaku or Quok Walker , was an American slave who sued for and won his freedom in June 1781 in a case citing language in the new Massachusetts Constitution that declared all men to be born free and equal...

 cases, effectively made Massachusetts the first state to have a constitution that declared universal rights and, as interpreted by Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice William Cushing
William Cushing
William Cushing was an early Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, from its inception to his death. He was the longest-serving of the Court's original members, sitting on the bench for 21 years...

, abolished slavery). Later, Adams was active in early American foreign affairs and succeeded Washington as US President. His son, John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams was the sixth President of the United States . He served as an American diplomat, Senator, and Congressional representative. He was a member of the Federalist, Democratic-Republican, National Republican, and later Anti-Masonic and Whig parties. Adams was the son of former...

, would go on to become the sixth US President.

After independence and during the formative years of independent American government, Shays' Rebellion
Shays' Rebellion
Shays' Rebellion was an armed uprising in central and western Massachusetts from 1786 to 1787. The rebellion is named after Daniel Shays, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War....

 was an armed uprising
Rebellion
Rebellion, uprising or insurrection, is a refusal of obedience or order. It may, therefore, be seen as encompassing a range of behaviors aimed at destroying or replacing an established authority such as a government or a head of state...

 in the western half of the state from 1786 to 1787. The rebels were mostly small farmers angered by crushing war debt and taxes. The rebellion was one of the major factors in the decision to draft a stronger national constitution to replace the Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation, formally the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, was an agreement among the 13 founding states that legally established the United States of America as a confederation of sovereign states and served as its first constitution...

.
On February 6, 1788, Massachusetts became the sixth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

.

19th century


In 1820, Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

 separated from Massachusetts, of which it had been first a contiguous and then a non-contiguous part, and entered the Union as the 23rd state as a result of the ratification of the Missouri Compromise
Missouri Compromise
The Missouri Compromise was an agreement passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories. It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30'...

.


During the 19th century, Massachusetts became a national leader in the American Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, with factories around Boston producing textiles and shoes, and factories around Springfield producing precision manufacturing tools and paper. The economy transformed from one based primarily on agriculture to an industrial one, initially making use of waterpower and later the steam engine to power factories, and canals and later railroads for transporting goods and materials. At first, the new industries drew labor from Yankee
Yankee
The term Yankee has several interrelated and often pejorative meanings, usually referring to people originating in the northeastern United States, or still more narrowly New England, where application of the term is largely restricted to descendants of the English settlers of the region.The...

s on nearby subsistence farms, and later relied upon immigrant labor from Europe and Canada.

In the years leading up to the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, Massachusetts was a center of social progressivism, Transcendentalism
Transcendentalism
Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement that developed in the 1830s and 1840s in the New England region of the United States as a protest against the general state of culture and society, and in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard University and the doctrine of the Unitarian...

, and abolitionist activity. Horace Mann
Horace Mann
Horace Mann was an American education reformer, and a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1827 to 1833. He served in the Massachusetts Senate from 1834 to 1837. In 1848, after serving as Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education since its creation, he was...

 made the state system of schools the national model. Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist...

 and Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century...

 made major contributions to American thought. Members of the Transcendentalism movement, they emphasized the importance of the natural world and emotion to humanity. Although significant opposition to abolitionism existed early on in Massachusetts, resulting in anti-abolitionist riots between 1835 and 1837, opposition to slavery gradually increased in the next few decades. The works of abolitionists contributed to subsequent actions of the state during the Civil War. Massachusetts was the first state to recruit, train, and arm a Black regiment with White officers, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry
54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry
The 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment that saw extensive service in the Union Army during the American Civil War. The regiment was one of the first official black units in the United States during the Civil War...

. The Robert Gould Shaw Memorial in Boston Common
Boston Common
Boston Common is a central public park in Boston, Massachusetts. It is sometimes erroneously referred to as the "Boston Commons". Dating from 1634, it is the oldest city park in the United States. The Boston Common consists of of land bounded by Tremont Street, Park Street, Beacon Street,...

 contains a relief depicting the 54th regiment.

20th century



The industrial economy began a decline in the early 20th century with the exodus of many manufacturing companies. By the 1920s competition from the South and Midwest, followed by the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, led to the collapse of the three main industries in Massachusetts: textiles, shoemaking, and mechanized transportation. This decline would continue into the latter half of the century; between 1950 and 1979, the number of Bay Staters involved in textile manufacturing declined from 264,000 to 63,000. This spurred an exodus of high-paying jobs from Western Massachusetts, which suffered greatly as it de-industrialized during the last 40 years of the 20th century. In Eastern Massachusetts, following World War II, the economy was transformed from one based on heavy industry into a service and high-tech based economy. Government contracts, private investment, and research facilities led to a new and improved industrial climate, with reduced unemployment and increased per capita income. Suburbanization flourished, and by the 1970s, the Route 128 corridor was dotted with high-technology
High tech
High tech is technology that is at the cutting edge: the most advanced technology currently available. It is often used in reference to micro-electronics, rather than other technologies. The adjective form is hyphenated: high-tech or high-technology...

 companies who recruited graduates of the area's many elite institutions of higher education.

The Kennedy family
Kennedy family
In the United States, the phrase Kennedy family commonly refers to the family descending from the marriage of the Irish-Americans Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald that was prominent in American politics and government. Their political involvement has revolved around the...

 was prominent in Massachusetts politics in the 20th century. Children of businessman and ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. included John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

, who was a senator and US president before his assassination
Assassination of John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas...

 in 1963, Robert F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy , also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician, a Democratic senator from New York, and a noted civil rights activist. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Kennedy family, he was a younger brother of President John F...

, who was a senator, US attorney general and presidential candidate before his assassination in 1968, Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history...

, a senator from 1962 until his death in 2009, and Eunice Kennedy Shriver
Eunice Kennedy Shriver
Eunice Kennedy Shriver, DSG a member of the Kennedy family, sister to President John F. Kennedy and Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Edward Kennedy, was the founder in 1962 of Camp Shriver, and in 1968, the Special Olympics...

, a co-founder of the Special Olympics
Special Olympics
Special Olympics is the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to more than 3.1 million athletes in 175 countries....

. The famous Kennedy Compound
Kennedy Compound
The Kennedy Compound or Hyannis Port Historic District is the name given to six acres of waterfront property on Cape Cod along Nantucket Sound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, United States....

 is located at Hyannisport on Cape Cod
Cape Cod
Cape Cod, often referred to locally as simply the Cape, is a cape in the easternmost portion of the state of Massachusetts, in the Northeastern United States...

.

Recent history


In 1987, the state received federal funding for the Central Artery/Tunnel Project. Known as "the Big Dig", it was at the time the biggest federal highway project ever approved. The project included making the Central Artery
Central Artery
The John F. Fitzgerald Expressway, known locally as the Central Artery, is a section of freeway in downtown Boston, Massachusetts, designated as Interstate 93, U.S. Route 1 and Route 3. It was initially constructed in the 1950s as a partly elevated and partly tunneled divided highway...

 a tunnel under downtown Boston, in addition to the re-routing of several other major highways. Often controversial, with numerous claims of graft and mismanagement, and with its initial price tag of $2.5 billion increasing to a final tally of over $15 billion, the Big Dig has nonetheless changed the face of Downtown Boston. It has connected areas that were once divided by elevated highway, (much of the raised old Central Artery was replaced with the Rose Kennedy Greenway
Rose Kennedy Greenway
The Rose Kennedy Greenway is a roughly 1.5-mile-long long series of parks and public spaces being created in downtown Boston, Massachusetts, USA. It is the final part of the Big Dig that put Interstate 93 underground and removed the elevated freeway that served as the main highway through downtown...

) and improved traffic conditions along a number of routes.

Demographics





Massachusetts had an estimated 2009 population of 6,593,587. As of 2000, Massachusetts was estimated to be the third most densely populated U.S. state, with 809.8 per square mile, behind New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 and Rhode Island
Rhode Island
The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

. Massachusetts in 2008 included 919,771 foreign-born residents. Most Bay Staters live within the Boston Metropolitan Area, also known as Greater Boston
Greater Boston
Greater Boston is the area of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts surrounding the city of Boston. Due to ambiguity in usage, the size of the area referred to can be anywhere between that of the metropolitan statistical area of Boston and that of the city's combined statistical area which includes...

. The state's only other metropolitan area is the Springfield Metropolitan Area, also known as Greater Springfield. Centered in the Connecticut River Valley, Greater Springfield includes the revitalizing city of Springfield
Springfield, Massachusetts
Springfield is the most populous city in Western New England, and the seat of Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. Springfield sits on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River near its confluence with three rivers; the western Westfield River, the eastern Chicopee River, and the eastern...

, and an eclectic array of college towns, (e.g. Amherst
Amherst, Massachusetts
Amherst is a town in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States in the Connecticut River valley. As of the 2010 census, the population was 37,819, making it the largest community in Hampshire County . The town is home to Amherst College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts...

 and Northampton
Northampton, Massachusetts
The city of Northampton is the county seat of Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of Northampton's central neighborhoods, was 28,549...

,) and rural areas to the north and west. Geographically, the center of population
Center of population
In demographics, the center of population of a region is a geographical point that describes a centerpoint of the region's population...

 of Massachusetts is located in Middlesex County
Middlesex County, Massachusetts
-National protected areas:* Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge* Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge* Longfellow National Historic Site* Lowell National Historical Park* Minute Man National Historical Park* Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge...

, in the town of Natick
Natick, Massachusetts
Natick is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. Natick is located near the center of the MetroWest region of Massachusetts, with a population of 33,006 at the 2010 census. Only west from Boston, Natick is considered part of the Greater Boston area...

.

Like the rest of the northeastern United States, the population of Massachusetts has continued to grow in the past few decades, although at a slower pace than states in the South
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

 or West
Western United States
.The Western United States, commonly referred to as the American West or simply "the West," traditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. Because the U.S. expanded westward after its founding, the meaning of the West has evolved over time...

. The latest census estimates show that the commonwealth's population grew by 3.9% since 2000, compared with nearly 10% nationwide. In their decisions to leave Massachusetts, most former residents cited high housing costs and a high cost of living. Another factor has been the transformation from a manufacturing economy into one based on high technology, leaving limited employment options for lower-skilled workers, particularly males. Foreign immigration is more than making up for these losses, causing the state's population to continue to grow as of the 2010 Census (particularly in Massachusetts gateway cities
Massachusetts gateway cities
The Massachusetts Gateway Cities are a group of 24 former industrial Massachusetts mill cities. The group initially comprised 11 cities named in a 2007 report co-authored by the and the...

 where costs of living are lower). 40% of foreign immigrants were from Central or South America, according to a 2005 Census Bureau study. Many residents who have settled in Greater Springfield claim Puerto Rican
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 descent. Many areas of the commonwealth showed relatively stable population trends between 2000 and 2010. Exurban Boston and coastal areas grew the most rapidly, while Berkshire County
Berkshire County, Massachusetts
Berkshire County is a non-governmental county located on the western edge of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of the 2010 census, the population was 131,219. Its largest city and traditional county seat is Pittsfield...

 in far Western Massachusetts
Western Massachusetts
Western Massachusetts is a loosely defined geographical region of the U.S. state of Massachusetts which contains the Berkshires, the Pioneer Valley, and some or all of the Swift River Valley. The region is always considered to include Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties, and the...

 and Barnstable County on Cape Cod
Cape Cod
Cape Cod, often referred to locally as simply the Cape, is a cape in the easternmost portion of the state of Massachusetts, in the Northeastern United States...

 were the only counties to lose population as of the 2010 Census. Both of these counties feature many "second homes," and constitute major centers of Massachusetts tourism.

In 2005, 79% of the state population spoke English, 7% spoke Spanish, 3.5% spoke Portuguese, and 1% spoke either French or Chinese.

Race and ancestry


According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was 6,547,629, of which 3,166,628 (48.4%) were male and 3,381,001 (51.6%) were female. In terms of age, 78.3% were over 18 years old and 13.8% were over 65 years old; the median age is 39.1 years. The median age for males is 37.7 years and 40.3 years for females.

In terms of race and ethnicity, Massachusetts was 80.4% White (76.1% Non-Hispanic Whites
Non-Hispanic Whites
Non-Hispanic Whites or White, Not Hispanic or Latino are people in the United States, as defined by the Census Bureau, who are of the White race and are not of Hispanic or Latino origin/ethnicity. Hence the designation is exclusive in the sense that it defines who is not included as opposed to who is...

), 6.6% Black or African American, 0.3% American Indian and Alaska Native, 5.3% Asian (1.9% Chinese, 1.2% Asian Indian, and 0.7% Vietnamese), <0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 4.7% from Some Other Race, and 2.6% from Two or More Races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 9.6% of the population (4.1% Puerto Rican).

As late as 1795, the population of Massachusetts was nearly 95% of British ancestry. During the early and mid 19th century, immigrant groups began arriving to the commonwealth in large numbers; first from Ireland in the 1840s, and later from Quebec as well as places in Europe such as Italy and Poland. In the early 20th century, a number of African Americans immigrated to Massachusetts, although in somewhat fewer numbers than many other Northern states. Later in the 20th century, immigration from Latin America, Africa, and East Asia increased considerably. Massachusetts has the third largest population of Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

ans in the United States. Massachusetts also has a relatively large population of Portuguese descent. Many of the earliest Portuguese-speaking immigrants came from the Azores
Azores
The Archipelago of the Azores is composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, and is located about west from Lisbon and about east from the east coast of North America. The islands, and their economic exclusion zone, form the Autonomous Region of the...

 in the 19th century to work in the whaling industry in cities like New Bedford
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New Bedford is a city in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States, located south of Boston, southeast of Providence, Rhode Island, and about east of Fall River. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 95,072, making it the sixth-largest city in Massachusetts...

. Later, further waves of Portuguese arrived, this time often finding work in the textile mills. Lowell
Lowell, Massachusetts
Lowell is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA. According to the 2010 census, the city's population was 106,519. It is the fourth largest city in the state. Lowell and Cambridge are the county seats of Middlesex County...

 is home to the second largest Cambodian (Khmer)
Cambodian American
A Cambodian American is an American who is born, raised, or from Cambodia usually of Khmer descent but also including Chinese Cambodians, Vietnamese Cambodians, Cham people and other ethnicities of Cambodia...

 community in the nation. The Wampanoag tribe maintains reservations at Aquinnah
Aquinnah, Massachusetts
Aquinnah is a town located on the island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. Prior to 1998 the town was officially known as Gay Head, which it is still called by most Islanders from the neighboring towns, but this name does not reflect as well the year-round population of a large American Indian...

, at Grafton, on Martha's Vineyard, and at Mashpee
Mashpee, Massachusetts
Mashpee is a town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 14,006 as of 2010.For geographic and demographic information on specific parts of the town of Mashpee, please see the articles on Mashpee Neck, Monomoscoy Island, New Seabury, Popponesset, Popponesset Island,...

 on Cape Cod, while the Nipmuck
Nipmuck
The Nipmuc are a group of Algonquian Indians native to Worcester County, Massachusetts, some parts of Northeastern CT, and NW RI, and the Northwestern and Western parts of Middlesex County, Massachusetts.-Name:...

 maintain two state-recognized reservations in the central part of the state. While Massachusetts had avoided many of the more violent forms of racial strife seen elsewhere in the US, examples such as the successful electoral showings of the nativist
Nativism (politics)
Nativism favors the interests of certain established inhabitants of an area or nation as compared to claims of newcomers or immigrants. It may also include the re-establishment or perpetuation of such individuals or their culture....

 (mainly anti-Catholic
Anti-Catholicism
Anti-Catholicism is a generic term for discrimination, hostility or prejudice directed against Catholicism, and especially against the Catholic Church, its clergy or its adherents...

) Know Nothing
Know Nothing
The Know Nothing was a movement by the nativist American political faction of the 1840s and 1850s. It was empowered by popular fears that the country was being overwhelmed by German and Irish Catholic immigrants, who were often regarded as hostile to Anglo-Saxon Protestant values and controlled by...

s in the 1850s, the controversial Sacco and Vanzetti
Sacco and Vanzetti
Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were anarchists who were convicted of murdering two men during a 1920 armed robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts, United States...

 executions in the 1920s, and Boston's opposition to desegregation busing in the 1970s show that the ethnic history of the commonwealth was not completely harmonious.

Religion


Massachusetts was founded and settled by the Puritans in 1620. The descendants of the Puritans belong to many different churches; in the direct line of inheritance are the Congregational
Congregational church
Congregational churches are Protestant Christian churches practicing Congregationalist church governance, in which each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs....

/United Church of Christ
United Church of Christ
The United Church of Christ is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination primarily in the Reformed tradition but also historically influenced by Lutheranism. The Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches united in 1957 to form the UCC...

, and congregations of Unitarian Universalist Association
Unitarian Universalist Association
Unitarian Universalist Association , in full the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations in North America, is a liberal religious association of Unitarian Universalist congregations formed by the consolidation in 1961 of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of...

. Most people in Massachusetts were Christians. Some also believed in predestination
Predestination
Predestination, in theology is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God. John Calvin interpreted biblical predestination to mean that God willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others...

. The headquarters of the Unitarian Universalist Association
Unitarian Universalist Association
Unitarian Universalist Association , in full the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations in North America, is a liberal religious association of Unitarian Universalist congregations formed by the consolidation in 1961 of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of...

 is located on Beacon Hill in Boston. Today Protestants make up less than 1/4 of the state's population. Roman Catholics now predominate because of massive immigration from primarily Ireland, followed by Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, and Latin America. A large Jewish population came to the Boston and Springfield areas 1880–1920. Mary Baker Eddy
Mary Baker Eddy
Mary Baker Eddy was the founder of Christian Science , a Protestant American system of religious thought and practice religion adopted by the Church of Christ, Scientist, and others...

 made the Boston Mother Church of Christian Science
Christian Science
Christian Science is a system of thought and practice derived from the writings of Mary Baker Eddy and the Bible. It is practiced by members of The First Church of Christ, Scientist as well as some others who are nonmembers. Its central texts are the Bible and the Christian Science textbook,...

 the world headquarters. Buddhists, Pagans
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

, Hindus, Seventh-day Adventists
Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ...

, Muslims, and Mormons
Mormons
The Mormons are a religious and cultural group related to Mormonism, a religion started by Joseph Smith during the American Second Great Awakening. A vast majority of Mormons are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while a minority are members of other independent churches....

 also can be found. Kripalu Center
Kripalu Center
The Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health is a non-profit organization that operates a health and yoga retreat in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Its facility is a former Jesuit novitiate and juniorate seminary built in 1957. The center has described itself as North America's largest residential facility...

 in Stockbridge
Stockbridge, Massachusetts
Stockbridge is a town in Berkshire County in Western Massachusetts. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,947 at the 2010 census...

, the Shambala Center in Northampton, and the Insight Meditation Center in Barre
Barre, Massachusetts
Barre is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 5,398 at the 2010 census.-History:Originally called the Northwest District of Rutland, it was first settled in 1720. The town was incorporated on June 17, 1774, as Hutchinson after Thomas Hutchinson, colonial...

 are examples of non-western religious centers in Massachusetts. According to the Association of Religion Data Archives
Association of religion data archives
The Association of Religion Data Archives is a free source of online information related to American and international religion. Founded as the American Religion Data Archive in 1997, and online since 1998, the archive was initially targeted at researchers interested in American religion...

 the largest single denominations are the Roman Catholic Church with 3,092,296; the United Church of Christ
United Church of Christ
The United Church of Christ is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination primarily in the Reformed tradition but also historically influenced by Lutheranism. The Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches united in 1957 to form the UCC...

 with 121,826; and the Episcopal Church
Episcopal Church (United States)
The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States , but also in Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe...

 with 98,963 adherents. Jewish congregations
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 had about 275,000 members.

The religious affiliations of the people of Massachusetts, according to a 2001 survey, are shown below:

  • Christian – 69%
    • Catholic – 44%
    • Protestant denominations – 25%
      • Non-specific Protestant – 4%
      • Baptist
        Baptist
        Baptists comprise a group of Christian denominations and churches that subscribe to a doctrine that baptism should be performed only for professing believers , and that it must be done by immersion...

         – 4%
      • Congregational
        Congregational church
        Congregational churches are Protestant Christian churches practicing Congregationalist church governance, in which each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs....

        /United Church of Christ
        United Church of Christ
        The United Church of Christ is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination primarily in the Reformed tradition but also historically influenced by Lutheranism. The Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches united in 1957 to form the UCC...

         – 3%
      • Episcopal – 3%
      • Other denominations (2% or less each) – 11%
  • Jewish – 2%
  • Muslim – 1%
  • Other – 7%
  • No Religion – 16%
  • Refused to answer – 7%

Economy


The United States Bureau of Economic Analysis
Bureau of Economic Analysis
The Bureau of Economic Analysis is an agency in the United States Department of Commerce that provides important economic statistics including the gross domestic product of the United States. Its stated mission is to "promote a better understanding of the U.S...

 estimates that the Massachusetts gross state product in 2008 was US$365 billion. The per capita personal income in 2008 was $50,735, making it the third highest state in the nation. 13 Fortune 500
Fortune 500
The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks the top 500 U.S. closely held and public corporations as ranked by their gross revenue after adjustments made by Fortune to exclude the impact of excise taxes companies collect. The list includes publicly and...

 companies are located in the commonwealth, the largest of which are the Liberty Mutual Insurance Group and MassMutual Financial Services. CNBC's list of "Top States for Business for 2010" has recognized Massachusetts as the fifth best state in the nation. Sectors vital to the Massachusetts economy include higher education, biotechnology
Biotechnology
Biotechnology is a field of applied biology that involves the use of living organisms and bioprocesses in engineering, technology, medicine and other fields requiring bioproducts. Biotechnology also utilizes these products for manufacturing purpose...

, finance, health care, and tourism. Route 128 was a major center for the development of minicomputers and electronics. High technology remains an important sector, though few of the largest technology companies are based there. In recent years tourism has played an ever-important role in the state's economy, with Boston and Cape Cod
Cape Cod
Cape Cod, often referred to locally as simply the Cape, is a cape in the easternmost portion of the state of Massachusetts, in the Northeastern United States...

 being the leading destinations. Other popular tourist destinations include Salem
Salem, Massachusetts
Salem is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 40,407 at the 2000 census. It and Lawrence are the county seats of Essex County...

, Plymouth and the Berkshires
The Berkshires
The Berkshires , is a highland geologic region located in the western parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut.Also referred to as the Berkshire Hills, Berkshire Mountains, and Berkshire Plateau, the region enjoys a vibrant tourism industry based on music, arts, and recreation.-Definition:The term...

. As of September 2011, the state's unemployment rate was 7.4%, well below the national level.
As of 2005, there were 7,700 farms in Massachusetts encompassing a total of 520000 acres (2,104.4 km²), averaging 68 acre (0.27518648 km²) apiece. Almost 2,300 of the state's 6,100 farms grossed under $2,500 in 2007. Particular agricultural products of note include tobacco, livestock, and fruits, tree nuts, and berries, for which the state is nationally ranked 11th, 17th, and 16th, respectively. Massachusetts is the second largest cranberry producing state in the union (after Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

).

The overall state and local tax burden in Massachusetts ranks 23rd highest in the United States. Massachusetts has a flat-rate personal income tax
Income tax
An income tax is a tax levied on the income of individuals or businesses . Various income tax systems exist, with varying degrees of tax incidence. Income taxation can be progressive, proportional, or regressive. When the tax is levied on the income of companies, it is often called a corporate...

 of 5.3%, with an exemption for income below a threshold that varies from year to year. The corporate income tax rate is 8.8%, and the capital gains
Capital gains tax
A capital gains tax is a tax charged on capital gains, the profit realized on the sale of a non-inventory asset that was purchased at a lower price. The most common capital gains are realized from the sale of stocks, bonds, precious metals and property...

 tax rate was 12%. The state imposes a 6.25% sales tax
Sales tax
A sales tax is a tax, usually paid by the consumer at the point of purchase, itemized separately from the base price, for certain goods and services. The tax amount is usually calculated by applying a percentage rate to the taxable price of a sale....

 on retail sales of tangible personal property—except for groceries, clothing (up to $175.00), and periodicals. The sales tax is charged on clothing that costs more than $175.00. All real and tangible personal property
Personal property
Personal property, roughly speaking, is private property that is moveable, as opposed to real property or real estate. In the common law systems personal property may also be called chattels or personalty. In the civil law systems personal property is often called movable property or movables - any...

 located within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is taxable unless specifically exempted by statute. Property taxes in the state were the eighth highest in the nation. There is no inheritance tax
Inheritance tax
An inheritance tax or estate tax is a levy paid by a person who inherits money or property or a tax on the estate of a person who has died...

 and limited Massachusetts estate tax related to federal estate tax collection.

Energy


The state's electricity generation market was made competitive in 1998, enabling retail customers to change suppliers without changing utility companies. Though most residential customers remain with incumbent generators, most of the 4.3 billion kilowatt-hours consumed in the state in July 2011 were generated competitively. In 2011, Massachusetts was ranked as the most energy efficient state in America.

Transportation




Massachusetts has 10 regional metropolitan planning organization
Metropolitan planning organization
A metropolitan planning organization is a federally-mandated and federally-funded transportation policy-making organization in the United States that is made up of representatives from local government and governmental transportation authorities...

s and three non-metropolitan planning organizations covering the remainder of the state; statewide planning is handled by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

Rail service


Amtrak
Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

 operates inter-city rail
Inter-city rail
Inter-city rail services are express passenger train services that cover longer distances than commuter or regional trains.There is no precise definition of inter-city rail. Its meaning may vary from country to country...

, including the high-speed Acela service to cities such as Providence
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

, New Haven, New York City, Washington, D.C. and Charlotte, NC.

Regional services


The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, often referred to as the MBTA or simply The T, is the public operator of most bus, subway, commuter rail and ferry systems in the greater Boston, Massachusetts, area. Officially a "body politic and corporate, and a political subdivision" of the...

 (MBTA) operates public transportation in the form of subway
Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

, bus
Bus
A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-decker bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker buses and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are...

  and ferry systems in the Metro Boston area. It also operates longer distance commuter rail services throughout the larger Greater Boston
Greater Boston
Greater Boston is the area of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts surrounding the city of Boston. Due to ambiguity in usage, the size of the area referred to can be anywhere between that of the metropolitan statistical area of Boston and that of the city's combined statistical area which includes...

 area, including service to Worcester
Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester is a city and the county seat of Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Named after Worcester, England, as of the 2010 Census the city's population is 181,045, making it the second largest city in New England after Boston....

 and Providence
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

, Rhode Island.

Fifteen other regional transit authorities provide public transportation in the form of bus services in their local communities. Two heritage railway
Heritage railway
thumb|right|the Historical [[Khyber train safari|Khyber Railway]] goes through the [[Khyber Pass]], [[Pakistan]]A heritage railway , preserved railway , tourist railway , or tourist railroad is a railway that is run as a tourist attraction, in some cases by volunteers, and...

s are in operation: the Cape Cod Central Railroad
Cape Cod Central Railroad
The Cape Cod Central Railroad is a heritage railroad located in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.Originally founded in 1999, it operates a variety of excursion trains from downtown Hyannis to the Cape Cod Canal during spring, summer, and fall. Recently, it has expanded service in a limited capacity to offer...

 and the Berkshire Scenic Railway.

As of 2006, a number of freight railroads were operating in Massachusetts, with CSX
CSX Transportation
CSX Transportation operates a Class I railroad in the United States known as the CSX Railroad. It is the main subsidiary of the CSX Corporation. The company is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, and owns approximately 21,000 route miles...

 being the largest carrier. Massachusetts has a total of 1079 miles (1,736.5 km) of freight trackage in operation. The Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority
The Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority
The Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority, referred to coloquially as The Steamship Authority or simply the SSA, is the statutory regulatory body for all ferry operations to and from the Islands from the Massachusetts mainland, as well as being an operator of ferry service...

 regulates freight and passenger ferry service to the islands and operates some of those lines.

Air service


The major airport in the state is Logan International Airport
Logan International Airport
General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport is located in the East Boston neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts . It covers , has six runways, and employs an estimated 16,000 people. It is the 19th busiest airport in the United States.Boston serves as a focus city for JetBlue Airways...

. The airport served over 28 million passengers in 2007 and is used by around 50 airlines. Logan, Hanscom Field
Hanscom Field
Hanscom Field , also known by its full name Laurence G. Hanscom Field, is a public airport located in Bedford, in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. It is operated by the Massachusetts Port Authority....

 in Bedford
Bedford, Massachusetts
Bedford is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. It is within the Greater Boston area, north-west of the city of Boston. The population of Bedford was 13,320 at the 2010 census.- History :...

, and Worcester Regional Airport are operated by Massport, an independent state transportation agency. Massachusetts has approximately 42 public-use airfields, and over 200 private landing spots. Some airports receive funding from the Aeronautics Division of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

; FAA is also the primary regulator.

Road


There are a total of 31300 miles (50,372.3 km) of interstates and highways in Massachusetts. Interstate 90
Interstate 90
Interstate 90 is the longest Interstate Highway in the United States at . It is the northernmost coast-to-coast interstate, and parallels US 20 for the most part. Its western terminus is in Seattle, at Edgar Martinez Drive S. near Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field, and its eastern terminus is in...

, also known as the Massachusetts Turnpike
Massachusetts Turnpike
The Massachusetts Turnpike is the easternmost stretch of Interstate 90. The Turnpike begins at the western border of Massachusetts in West Stockbridge connecting with the Berkshire Connector portion of the New York State Thruway...

, is the longest interstate in the commonwealth. The route runs 136 mi (218.9 km) generally west to east from the New York state line near the town of West Stockbridge and passes just north of Springfield
Springfield, Massachusetts
Springfield is the most populous city in Western New England, and the seat of Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. Springfield sits on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River near its confluence with three rivers; the western Westfield River, the eastern Chicopee River, and the eastern...

, just south of Worcester
Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester is a city and the county seat of Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Named after Worcester, England, as of the 2010 Census the city's population is 181,045, making it the second largest city in New England after Boston....

 and through Framingham
Framingham, Massachusetts
Framingham is a New England town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 68,318 as of the United States 2010 Census. -History:...

 before terminating near Logan International Airport in Boston. Other major interstates include Interstate 91
Interstate 91
Interstate 91 is an Interstate Highway in the New England region of the United States. It provides the primary north–south thoroughfare in the western part of New England...

, which runs generally north and south along the Connecticut River
Connecticut River
The Connecticut River is the largest and longest river in New England, and also an American Heritage River. It flows roughly south, starting from the Fourth Connecticut Lake in New Hampshire. After flowing through the remaining Connecticut Lakes and Lake Francis, it defines the border between the...

, Interstate 93
Interstate 93
Interstate 93 is an Interstate Highway in the New England section of the United States. Its southern terminus is in Canton, Massachusetts, in the Boston metropolitan area, at Interstate 95; its northern terminus is near St. Johnsbury, Vermont, at Interstate 91...

, which runs north and south through central Boston, then passes Methuen
Methuen, Massachusetts
Methuen is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 43,789 at the 2000 census.-History:Methuen was first settled in 1642 and was officially incorporated in 1726; it is named for the British diplomat Sir Paul Methuen. Methuen was originally part of Haverhill,...

 and Lawrence
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Lawrence is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States on the Merrimack River. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a total population of 76,377. Surrounding communities include Methuen to the north, Andover to the southwest, and North Andover to the southeast. It and Salem are...

 before entering New Hampshire. Interstate 95
Interstate 95
Interstate 95 is the main highway on the East Coast of the United States, running parallel to the Atlantic Ocean from Maine to Florida and serving some of the most populated urban areas in the country, including Boston, Providence, New Haven, New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore,...

, which follows most of the US Atlantic coastline, connects Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

 with Greater Boston, forming a loop around the more urbanized areas (for some distance cosigned with Route 128) before continuing north along the coast. Interstate 495
Interstate 495 (Massachusetts)
Interstate 495 is the designation of an Interstate Highway half-beltway in Massachusetts. It was the longest auxiliary Interstate Highway of its kind—measuring 120.74 miles —until 1996, when the PA Route 9 section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was redesignated as Interstate 476, making it about ...

 forms a wide loop around the outer edge of Greater Boston. Other major interstates in the commonwealth include I-291
Interstate 291 (Massachusetts)
Interstate 291 is a connector highway in Massachusetts that links Interstate 91 in downtown Springfield with Interstate 90 in Chicopee. I-291 is roughly a northeast/southwest highway. It merges with I-91 at its southwestern terminus, via a flyover...

, I-391, I-84
Interstate 84 (east)
Interstate 84 is an Interstate Highway extending from Dunmore, Pennsylvania at an interchange with Interstate 81 to Sturbridge, Massachusetts, at an interchange with the Massachusetts Turnpike . I-84 has mile-log junction numbering in Pennsylvania; otherwise, exit numbers are roughly sequential...

, I-195
Interstate 195 (Rhode Island-Massachusetts)
Interstate 195 is an Interstate Highway running a combined 40.1 miles in the U.S. states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It travels from a junction with Interstate 95 in Providence, Rhode Island east to a junction with Interstate 495 and Route 25 in Wareham, Massachusetts...

, I-395
Interstate 395 (Connecticut)
Interstate 395 is a 67-mile-long north–south Interstate Highway that begins at Interstate 95 in East Lyme, Connecticut and ends at Interstate 90 in Auburn, Massachusetts, where it becomes Interstate 290. The original designation for the freeway was Route 52...

, I-290
Interstate 290 (Massachusetts)
Interstate 290 runs for from Auburn, Massachusetts to Marlborough, Massachusetts. It is a continuation of I-395 north of I-90 and runs through downtown Worcester, Massachusetts, I-190 splits off, and I-290 runs across Lake Quinsigamond and east to I-495 in Marlborough...

, and I-190
Interstate 190 (Massachusetts)
Interstate 190 runs for north from I-290 in Worcester, Massachusetts to Route 2 in Leominster, Massachusetts. A portion of the highway was built with extra-wide shoulders, which are painted green, to prevent runoff from contaminating the nearby Wachusett Reservoir...

. Major non-interstate highways in Massachusetts include U.S. Routes
United States Numbered Highways
The system of United States Numbered Highways is an integrated system of roads and highways in the United States numbered within a nationwide grid...

 1
U.S. Route 1 in Massachusetts
In the U.S. state of Massachusetts, U.S. Route 1 is a major north–south state highway through Boston. The portion of US 1 south of Boston is also known as the Boston-Providence Turnpike, and portions north of the city are known as the Northeast Expressway and the Newburyport Turnpike.-Route...

, 3, 6
U.S. Route 6
U.S. Route 6 , also called the Grand Army of the Republic Highway, a name that honors an American Civil War veterans association, is a main route of the U.S. Highway system, running east-northeast from Bishop, California to Provincetown, Massachusetts. Until 1964, it continued south from Bishop to...

, and 20
U.S. Route 20
U.S. Route 20 is an east–west United States highway. As the "0" in its route number implies, US 20 is a coast-to-coast route. Spanning , it is the longest road in the United States, and the route sparsely parallels Interstate 90...

, and state routes 2
Route 2 (Massachusetts)
Route 2 is a major east–west state highway in Massachusetts, parts of which are sometimes known as the Cambridge and Concord Turnpike. Along with Route 9 and U.S. Route 20 to the south, these highways are the main alternatives to the Massachusetts Turnpike/I-90 toll highway...

, 3
Route 3 (Massachusetts)
Route 3 is a southward continuation of U.S. Route 3, connecting Cambridge, Massachusetts with Cape Cod. All of it, except for the northernmost end in downtown Boston and Cambridge, is a freeway....

, 24
Route 24 (Massachusetts)
Route 24 is a freeway south of I-93 in southeastern Massachusetts, linking Fall River with the Boston metropolitan area. It begins in the south in Fall River at the border with Tiverton, Rhode Island where it connects with Rhode Island Route 24, and runs north to an interchange with Interstate...

 and 128. A great majority of interstates in Massachusetts were constructed during the mid 20th century, and at times were controversial, particularly the routing of I-95 through central Boston. Opposition to continued construction grew, and in 1970 Governor Francis W. Sargent
Francis W. Sargent
Francis William Sargent was the 64th Governor of Massachusetts from 1969 to 1975. Born in 1915 in Hamilton, Massachusetts, he was known for his sharp wit and self-deprecating manner...

 issued a general prohibition on most further freeway construction within the I-95/Route 128 loop in the Boston area. A massive undertaking to depress I-93 in downtown Boston, called the Big Dig, has brought the city's highway system under public scrutiny over the last decade.

Government and politics



The government of Massachusetts is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The commonwealth has a long political history; earlier political structures included the Mayflower Compact
Mayflower Compact
The Mayflower Compact was the first governing document of Plymouth Colony. It was written by the colonists, later together known to history as the Pilgrims, who crossed the Atlantic aboard the Mayflower...

 of 1620, the separate Massachusetts Bay
Massachusetts Bay Colony
The Massachusetts Bay Colony was an English settlement on the east coast of North America in the 17th century, in New England, situated around the present-day cities of Salem and Boston. The territory administered by the colony included much of present-day central New England, including portions...

 and Plymouth
Plymouth Colony
Plymouth Colony was an English colonial venture in North America from 1620 to 1691. The first settlement of the Plymouth Colony was at New Plymouth, a location previously surveyed and named by Captain John Smith. The settlement, which served as the capital of the colony, is today the modern town...

 colonies, and the combined colonial Province of Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Constitution
Massachusetts Constitution
The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the fundamental governing document of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, one of the 50 individual state governments that make up the United States of America. It was drafted by John Adams, Samuel Adams, and James Bowdoin during the...

 was ratified in 1780 while the Revolutionary War was in progress, four years after the Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation, formally the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, was an agreement among the 13 founding states that legally established the United States of America as a confederation of sovereign states and served as its first constitution...

 was drafted, and eight years before the present United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 was ratified on June 21, 1788. Drafted by John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

, the Commonwealth's constitution is one of the oldest functioning written constitutions in continuous effect in the world. In recent decades, Massachusetts politics have been generally dominated by the Democratic Party, and the state has a reputation for being one of the most liberal in the country.

Government



The Government of Massachusetts is divided into three branches: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. The governor of Massachusetts
Governor of Massachusetts
The Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the executive magistrate of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, United States. The current governor is Democrat Deval Patrick.-Constitutional role:...

 heads the executive branch; duties of the governor include signing or vetoing legislation, filling judicial and agency appointments, granting pardons, preparing an annual budget, and commanding the Massachusetts National Guard
Massachusetts National Guard
The Massachusetts National Guard was founded as the Massachusetts Bay Colonial Militia on December 13, 1636, and contains the oldest units in the United States Army. It is currently headquartered in Milford, Massachusetts and commanded by Major General Joseph C...

. Massachusetts governors, unlike those of most other states, are addressed as His/Her Excellency. The current governor is Deval Patrick
Deval Patrick
Deval Laurdine Patrick is the 71st and current Governor of Massachusetts. A member of the Democratic Party, Patrick served as an Assistant United States Attorney General under President Bill Clinton...

, a Democrat from Milton
Milton, Massachusetts
Milton is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States and part of the Greater Boston area. The population was 27,003 at the 2010 census. Milton is the birthplace of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush and architect Buckminster Fuller. Milton also has the highest percentage of...

. The executive branch also includes the Executive Council, which is made up of eight elected councilors and the Lieutenant Governor
Lieutenant governor
A lieutenant governor or lieutenant-governor is a high officer of state, whose precise role and rank vary by jurisdiction, but is often the deputy or lieutenant to or ranking under a governor — a "second-in-command"...

. Abilities of the Council include confirming gubanatorial appointments and certifying elections. The Massachusetts House of Representatives
Massachusetts House of Representatives
The Massachusetts House of Representatives is the lower house of the Massachusetts General Court, the state legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is composed of 160 members elected from single-member electoral districts across the Commonwealth. Representatives serve two-year terms...

 and Massachusetts Senate
Massachusetts Senate
The Massachusetts Senate is the upper house of the Massachusetts General Court, the bicameral state legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Senate comprises 40 elected members from 40 single-member senatorial districts in the state...

 comprise the legislature of the commonwealth, known as the Massachusetts General Court
Massachusetts General Court
The Massachusetts General Court is the state legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The name "General Court" is a hold-over from the Colonial Era, when this body also sat in judgment of judicial appeals cases...

. The House consists of 160 members while the Senate has 40 members. Leaders of the House and Senate are chosen by the members of those bodies; the leader of the House is known as the Speaker while the leader of the Senate is known as the President. Each branch consists of several committees. Members of both bodies are elected to two-year terms. The Judicial branch is headed by the Supreme Judicial Court, which serves over a number of lower courts. The Supreme Judicial Court is made up of a chief justice and six associate justices. Judicial appointments are made by the governor and confirmed by the executive council.

The Congressional delegation from Massachusetts is almost entirely Democratic. Currently, the U.S. senators
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 are Democrat John Kerry
John Kerry
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

 and Republican Scott Brown
Scott Brown
Scott Brown is a United States senator.Scott Brown may also refer to:-Sportsmen:*Scott Brown , American college football coach of Kentucky State...

. The ten members of the state's delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives (all Democrats) are John Olver
John Olver
John Walter Olver is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1991. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Early in his career, he was a chemistry professor and served in both chambers of the Massachusetts General Court....

, Richard Neal
Richard Neal
Richard Edmund Neal is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1989. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He is a former city councilor and mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts....

, Jim McGovern, Barney Frank
Barney Frank
Barney Frank is the U.S. Representative for . A member of the Democratic Party, he is the former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee and is considered the most prominent gay politician in the United States.Born and raised in New Jersey, Frank graduated from Harvard College and...

, Niki Tsongas
Niki Tsongas
Nicola Dickson "Niki" Sauvage Tsongas is the U.S. Representative for , serving since a special election in 2007. She is a member of the Democratic Party.She is the widow of U.S. Senator Paul Tsongas, who represented the 5th district in the 1970s...

, John F. Tierney
John F. Tierney
John F. Tierney is the United States representative for . He is a member of the Democratic Party and an advocate for liberal policies and government oversight. A former attorney, he has served since 1997....

, Ed Markey
Ed Markey
Edward John "Ed" Markey is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1976. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes most of Boston's northern and western suburbs, such as Medford and Framingham. Markey is the Dean of both the Massachusetts and New England House delegations...

, Mike Capuano
Mike Capuano
Michael Everett "Mike" Capuano is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1999. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district, which was once represented by John F. Kennedy and Tip O'Neill, includes the northern three-fourths of Boston, as well as Somerville and Cambridge...

, Stephen Lynch
Stephen Lynch (politician)
Stephen F. Lynch is the U.S. representative for . He is a member of the Democratic Party who has served since 2001. Lynch was previously an ironworker and lawyer, and served in both chambers of the Massachusetts General Court....

, and Bill Keating
William R. Keating
William Richard "Bill" Keating is the U.S. Representative for . From 1999 to 2011 he was District Attorney of Norfolk County. He is a member of the Democratic Party and a former Massachusetts state representative and state senator....

. Federal court cases are heard in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts is the federal district court whose jurisdiction is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, USA. The first court session was held in Boston in 1789. The second term was held in Salem in 1790 and until 1813 court session locations...

, and appeals are heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts:* District of Maine* District of Massachusetts...

. In US presidential elections, Massachusetts is allotted 12 votes in the electoral college
United States Electoral College
The Electoral College consists of the electors appointed by each state who formally elect the President and Vice President of the United States. Since 1964, there have been 538 electors in each presidential election...

, out of a total of 538. Like most states, the commonwealth's electoral votes are granted in a winner-take-all system.

Politics


Presidential elections results
Year Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

2008
United States presidential election, 2008
The United States presidential election of 2008 was the 56th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on November 4, 2008. Democrat Barack Obama, then the junior United States Senator from Illinois, defeated Republican John McCain, the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona. Obama received 365...

36.20% 1,105,908 62.01% 1,894,067
2004
United States presidential election, 2004
The United States presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Republican Party candidate and incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic Party candidate John Kerry, the then-junior U.S. Senator...

36.83% 1,070,109 61.92% 1,803,801
2000
United States presidential election, 2000
The United States presidential election of 2000 was a contest between Republican candidate George W. Bush, then-governor of Texas and son of former president George H. W. Bush , and Democratic candidate Al Gore, then-Vice President....

32.51% 878,502 59.93% 1,616,487
1996
United States presidential election, 1996
The United States presidential election of 1996 was a contest between the Democratic national ticket of President Bill Clinton of Arkansas and Vice President Al Gore of Tennessee and the Republican national ticket of former Senator Bob Dole of Kansas for President and former Housing Secretary Jack...

28.11% 718,107 61.52% 1,571,763
1992
United States presidential election, 1992
The United States presidential election of 1992 had three major candidates: Incumbent Republican President George Bush; Democratic Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, and independent Texas businessman Ross Perot....

29.04% 805,049 47.51% 1,318,662
1988
United States presidential election, 1988
The United States presidential election of 1988 featured no incumbent president, as President Ronald Reagan was unable to seek re-election after serving the maximum two terms allowed by the Twenty-second Amendment. Reagan's Vice President, George H. W. Bush, won the Republican nomination, while the...

45.42% 1,194,635 53.23% 1,401,416


Throughout the mid 20th century, Massachusetts has gradually shifted from a Republican-leaning state to one largely dominated by Democrats; the 1952 victory
United States Senate election in Massachusetts, 1952
The United States Senate election of 1952 in Massachusetts was held on November 4, 1952. This election marked the end of the Lodge family dynasty and the beginning of the Kennedy family dynasty.-The campaign:...

 of John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 over incumbent Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.
Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.
Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. was a Republican United States Senator from Massachusetts and a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, South Vietnam, West Germany, and the Holy See . He was the Republican nominee for Vice President in the 1960 Presidential election.-Early life:Lodge was born in Nahant,...

 is seen as a watershed moment in this transformation. His younger brother Edward M. Kennedy held that seat until his death from a brain tumor in 2009. Massachusetts has since gained a reputation as being a politically liberal state and is often used as an archetype of modern liberalism, hence the usage of the phrase "Massachusetts liberal
Massachusetts liberal
Eastern Massachusetts liberal is a phrase in American politics which is generally used as a political epithet by Republicans against Democrats who are from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It was most significantly used in the 1988 presidential race by Vice-president George H.W. Bush against...

". Eastern Massachusetts routinely votes for the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 in federal elections while the western half tends to vote Republican. As of the 2006 election, the Republican party holds less than 13% of the seats in both legislative houses of the General Court
Massachusetts General Court
The Massachusetts General Court is the state legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The name "General Court" is a hold-over from the Colonial Era, when this body also sat in judgment of judicial appeals cases...

: in the House, the balance is 141 Democratic to 19 Republican, and in the Senate, 35–5. Although Republicans
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 held the governor's office continuously from 1991 to 2007, they have been among the more socially liberal Republican leaders in the nation. In the 2004 election
United States presidential election, 2004
The United States presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Republican Party candidate and incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic Party candidate John Kerry, the then-junior U.S. Senator...

, Massachusetts gave native son John Kerry
John Kerry
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

 61.9% of the vote, his best showing in any state. In 2008
United States presidential election, 2008
The United States presidential election of 2008 was the 56th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on November 4, 2008. Democrat Barack Obama, then the junior United States Senator from Illinois, defeated Republican John McCain, the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona. Obama received 365...

, President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 carried the state with 61.8% of the vote. In a recent statewide election, a special election in 2010
United States Senate special election in Massachusetts, 2010
The 2010 United States Senate special election in Massachusetts was a special election held on January 19, 2010, in order to fill the Massachusetts Class I United States Senate seat for the remainder of the term ending January 3, 2013...

 for the U.S. Senate, saw Republican Scott Brown
Scott Brown
Scott Brown is a United States senator.Scott Brown may also refer to:-Sportsmen:*Scott Brown , American college football coach of Kentucky State...

 defeat Democrat Martha Coakley
Martha Coakley
Martha Mary Coakley is the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Prior to serving as Attorney General, she was District Attorney of Middlesex County, Massachusetts from 1999 to 2007....

 in an upset, by a 52% to 47% margin.

A number of contemporary national political issues have been influenced by events in the commonwealth, such as the 2003 state Supreme Court decision allowing same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage in Massachusetts
Same-sex marriage in the U.S. state of Massachusetts began on May 17, 2004, as a result of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruling in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that it was unconstitutional under the Massachusetts constitution to allow only heterosexual couples to marry...

 and a 2006 bill which mandated health insurance for all Bay Staters. In 2008, Massachusetts voters passed an initiative
Massachusetts Sensible Marijuana Policy Initiative
The Sensible Marijuana Policy Initiative, also known as Massachusetts Ballot Question 2, was an initiated state statute that replaced prior criminal penalties with new civil penalties on adults possessing an ounce or less of marijuana. The initiative appeared on the November 4, 2008 ballot in...

 decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Cities, towns, and counties



There are 50 cities and 301 towns in Massachusetts, grouped into 14 counties. The fourteen counties, moving roughly from west to east, are Berkshire
Berkshire County, Massachusetts
Berkshire County is a non-governmental county located on the western edge of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of the 2010 census, the population was 131,219. Its largest city and traditional county seat is Pittsfield...

, Franklin
Franklin County, Massachusetts
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 71,535 people, 29,466 households, and 18,416 families residing in the county. The population density was 102 people per square mile . There were 31,939 housing units at an average density of 46 per square mile...

, Hampshire
Hampshire County, Massachusetts
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 152,251 people, 55,991 households, and 33,818 families residing in the county. The population density was 288 people per square mile . There were 58,644 housing units at an average density of 111 per square mile...

, Hampden
Hampden County, Massachusetts
-Demographics:As of the census of 2004, there were 461,228 people, 175,288 households, and 115,690 families residing in the county. The population density was 738 people per square mile . There were 185,876 housing units at an average density of 301 per square mile...

, Worcester
Worcester County, Massachusetts
-Demographics:In 1990 Worcester County had a population of 709,705.As of the census of 2000, there were 750,963 people, 283,927 households, and 192,502 families residing in the county. The population density was 496 people per square mile . There were 298,159 housing units at an average density...

, Middlesex
Middlesex County, Massachusetts
-National protected areas:* Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge* Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge* Longfellow National Historic Site* Lowell National Historical Park* Minute Man National Historical Park* Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge...

, Essex
Essex County, Massachusetts
-National protected areas:* Parker River National Wildlife Refuge* Salem Maritime National Historic Site* Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site* Thacher Island National Wildlife Refuge-Demographics:...

, Suffolk
Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Suffolk County has no land border with Plymouth County to its southeast, but the two counties share a water boundary in the middle of Massachusetts Bay.-National protected areas:*Boston African American National Historic Site...

, Norfolk
Norfolk County, Massachusetts
-National protected areas:* Adams National Historical Park* Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area * Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site* John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site-Demographics:...

, Bristol
Bristol County, Massachusetts
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 534,678 people, 205,411 households, and 140,706 families residing in the county. The population density was 962 people per square mile . There were 216,918 housing units at an average density of 390 per square mile...

, Plymouth
Plymouth County, Massachusetts
Plymouth County is a county located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of 2010, the population was 494,919. Its county seats are Plymouth and Brockton...

, Barnstable
Barnstable County, Massachusetts
Barnstable County is a county located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts, consisting of Cape Cod and associated islands. As of the 2010 census, the population was 216,902...

, Dukes
Dukes County, Massachusetts
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 14,987 people, 6,421 households, and 3,788 families residing in the county. The population density was 144 people per square mile . There were 14,836 housing units at an average density of 143 per square mile...

, and
Nantucket. Eleven communities which call themselves "towns" are, by law, cities since they have traded the town meeting
Town meeting
A town meeting is a form of direct democratic rule, used primarily in portions of the United States since the 17th century, in which most or all the members of a community come together to legislate policy and budgets for local government....

 form of government for a mayor-council or manager-council form.

Boston is the state capital and largest city in Massachusetts. The population of the city proper is 609,023, and Greater Boston
Greater Boston
Greater Boston is the area of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts surrounding the city of Boston. Due to ambiguity in usage, the size of the area referred to can be anywhere between that of the metropolitan statistical area of Boston and that of the city's combined statistical area which includes...

, with a population of 4,522,858, is the 10th largest metropolitan area
Metropolitan area
The term metropolitan area refers to a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metropolitan area usually encompasses multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships,...

 in the nation. Other cities with a population over 100,000 include Worcester
Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester is a city and the county seat of Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Named after Worcester, England, as of the 2010 Census the city's population is 181,045, making it the second largest city in New England after Boston....

, Springfield
Springfield, Massachusetts
Springfield is the most populous city in Western New England, and the seat of Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. Springfield sits on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River near its confluence with three rivers; the western Westfield River, the eastern Chicopee River, and the eastern...

, Lowell
Lowell, Massachusetts
Lowell is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA. According to the 2010 census, the city's population was 106,519. It is the fourth largest city in the state. Lowell and Cambridge are the county seats of Middlesex County...

, and Cambridge
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders. Cambridge is home to two of the world's most prominent...

. Plymouth is the largest municipality in the state by land area.

Massachusetts, along with the five other New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 states, features the local governmental structure known as the New England town
New England town
The New England town is the basic unit of local government in each of the six New England states. Without a direct counterpart in most other U.S. states, New England towns are conceptually similar to civil townships in other states, but are incorporated, possessing powers like cities in other...

. In this structure, incorporated towns—as opposed to townships or counties—hold many of the responsibilities and powers of local government. Some of the county governments were abolished by the commonwealth in 1997, and elect only a sheriff and registrar of deed who are part of the state government. Others have been reorganized, and a few still retain county councils.

Education


Massachusetts was the first state to require municipalities to appoint a teacher or establish a grammar school with the passage of the Massachusetts Education Law of 1647, and 19th century reforms pushed by Horace Mann
Horace Mann
Horace Mann was an American education reformer, and a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1827 to 1833. He served in the Massachusetts Senate from 1834 to 1837. In 1848, after serving as Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education since its creation, he was...

, founder of Westfield State University, laid much of the groundwork for contemporary universal public education. Massachusetts is home to the country's oldest public elementary school (The Mather School
The Mather School
The Mather School is the oldest public elementary school in North America. It is located in the Dorchester region of Boston, Massachusetts and was named after Richard Mather...

, founded in 1639), oldest high school (Boston Latin School
Boston Latin School
The Boston Latin School is a public exam school founded on April 23, 1635, in Boston, Massachusetts. It is both the first public school and oldest existing school in the United States....

, founded in 1635), oldest boarding school (The Governor's Academy
The Governor's Academy
The Governor's Academy is an independent school located on in the village of Byfield, Massachusetts, United States ; north of Boston. The Academy enrolls approximately 385 students in grades nine through twelve, 70% of whom are boarders...

, founded in 1763), oldest college (Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

, founded in 1636) and oldest women's college (Mount Holyoke College
Mount Holyoke College
Mount Holyoke College is a liberal arts college for women in South Hadley, Massachusetts. It was the first member of the Seven Sisters colleges, and served as a model for some of the others...

, founded in 1837). In 1852, Massachusetts became the first state to pass compulsory school attendance laws. The per-student public expenditure for elementary and secondary schools (kindergarten through grade 12) was fifth in the nation in 2004, at $11,681. In 2007, Massachusetts scored highest of all the states in math on the National Assessments of Educational Progress.

Massachusetts is home to 121 institutions of higher education. Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

, both located in Cambridge
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders. Cambridge is home to two of the world's most prominent...

, consistently rank among the world's best universities. The University of Massachusetts
University of Massachusetts
This article relates to the statewide university system. For the flagship campus often referred to as "UMass", see University of Massachusetts Amherst...

 (nicknamed UMass) features five campuses in the state, with its flagship campus in Amherst
Amherst, Massachusetts
Amherst is a town in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, United States in the Connecticut River valley. As of the 2010 census, the population was 37,819, making it the largest community in Hampshire County . The town is home to Amherst College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts...

 that enrolls over 25,000 students.

Arts and culture



Massachusetts has contributed much to American arts and culture. Drawing from its Native American and Yankee roots, along with later immigrant groups, the commonwealth has produced a number of writers, artists, and musicians. A number of major museums and important historical sites are also located there, and events and festivals throughout the year celebrate the state's history and heritage.

Massachusetts was an early center of the Trancendentalist movement, which emphasized intuition, emotion, human individuality and a deeper connection with nature. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century...

, who was from Boston but spent much of his later life in Concord
Concord, Massachusetts
Concord is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 17,668. Although a small town, Concord is noted for its leading roles in American history and literature.-History:...

, largely created the philosophy with his 1836 work Nature, and continued to be a key figure in the movement for the remainder of his life. Emerson's friend, Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist...

, who was also involved in Trancendentalism, recorded his year spent alone in a small cabin at nearby Walden Pond
Walden Pond
Walden Pond is a 31-metre-deep lake in Massachusetts . It is in area and around, located in Concord, Massachusetts, in the United States...

 in the 1854 work Walden; or, Life in the Woods. Other famous authors and poets born or strongly associated with Massachusetts include Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist and short story writer.Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804 in the city of Salem, Massachusetts to Nathaniel Hathorne and the former Elizabeth Clarke Manning. His ancestors include John Hathorne, a judge during the Salem Witch Trials...

, John Updike
John Updike
John Hoyer Updike was an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic....

, Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson
Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was an American poet. Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life...

, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was an American poet and educator whose works include "Paul Revere's Ride", The Song of Hiawatha, and Evangeline...

, E.E. Cummings, Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath was an American poet, novelist and short story writer. Born in Massachusetts, she studied at Smith College and Newnham College, Cambridge before receiving acclaim as a professional poet and writer...

, and Theodor Seuss Geisel
Dr. Seuss
Theodor Seuss Geisel was an American writer, poet, and cartoonist most widely known for his children's books written under the pen names Dr. Seuss, Theo LeSieg and, in one case, Rosetta Stone....

, better known as "Dr. Seuss". Famous painters from Massachusetts include Winslow Homer
Winslow Homer
Winslow Homer was an American landscape painter and printmaker, best known for his marine subjects. He is considered one of the foremost painters in 19th century America and a preeminent figure in American art....

 and Norman Rockwell
Norman Rockwell
Norman Percevel Rockwell was a 20th-century American painter and illustrator. His works enjoy a broad popular appeal in the United States for their reflection of American culture. Rockwell is most famous for the cover illustrations of everyday life scenarios he created for The Saturday Evening...

; many of the latter's works are on display at the Norman Rockwell Museum
Norman Rockwell Museum
The Norman Rockwell Museum is home to the world's largest collection of original Rockwell art.-History:Founded in 1969, the museum is located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where Rockwell lived the last 25 years of his life. The museum has been at its current location since 1993. The museum...

 in Stockbridge
Stockbridge, Massachusetts
Stockbridge is a town in Berkshire County in Western Massachusetts. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,947 at the 2010 census...

.


The commonwealth is also an important center for the performing arts. Both the Boston Symphony Orchestra
Boston Symphony Orchestra
The Boston Symphony Orchestra is an orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts. It is one of the five American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five". Founded in 1881, the BSO plays most of its concerts at Boston's Symphony Hall and in the summer performs at the Tanglewood Music Center...

 and Boston Pops Orchestra
Boston Pops Orchestra
The Boston Pops Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts, that specializes in playing light classical and popular music....

 are based in Massachusetts. Other orchestras in the commonwealth include the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra
Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra
The Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra is an American orchestra, based at the Barnstable High School Performing Arts Center in Hyannis, Massachusetts, USA.-History:...

 in Barnstable
Barnstable, Massachusetts
Barnstable is a city, referred to as the Town of Barnstable, in the U.S. state of Massachusetts and the county seat of Barnstable County. Barnstable is the largest community, both in land area and population, on Cape Cod. The town contains seven villages within its boundaries...

 and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra
Springfield Symphony Orchestra
The Springfield Symphony Orchestra is an orchestra based in Springfield, Massachusetts. It performs at Symphony Hall, a part of the Springfield Municipal Group....

. Tanglewood
Tanglewood
Tanglewood is an estate and music venue in Lenox and Stockbridge, Massachusetts. It is the home of the annual summer Tanglewood Music Festival and the Tanglewood Jazz Festival, and has been the Boston Symphony Orchestra's summer home since 1937. It was the venue of the Berkshire Festival.- History...

, in western Massachusetts, is a music venue that is home to both the Tanglewood Music Festival
Tanglewood Music Festival
The Tanglewood Music Festival is a music festival held every summer on the Tanglewood estate in Lenox, Massachusetts in the Berkshire Hills in western Massachusetts....

 and Tanglewood Jazz Festival
Tanglewood Jazz Festival
The Tanglewood Jazz Festival, is a summer music festival, featuring contemporary jazz artists. It is held every year on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Labor Day weekend, in Lenox, Massachusetts...

, as well as the summer host for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Jacob's Pillow
Jacob's Pillow
Jacob’s Pillow Dance is a dance center, school and performance space located in Becket, Massachusetts, in the Berkshires. The organization is known for the oldest internationally acclaimed summer dance festival in the United States. The facility also includes a professional school and extensive...

 in the Berkshires
The Berkshires
The Berkshires , is a highland geologic region located in the western parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut.Also referred to as the Berkshire Hills, Berkshire Mountains, and Berkshire Plateau, the region enjoys a vibrant tourism industry based on music, arts, and recreation.-Definition:The term...

 hosts a number of traditional and contemporary musical and dance events. Other performing arts and theater organizations in Massachusetts include the Boston Ballet
Boston Ballet
Boston Ballet, founded in 1963 by E. Virginia Williams, was the first professional repertory ballet company in New England. Boston Ballet’s national and international reputation developed under the leadership of Artistic Directors Violette Verdy , Bruce Marks , and Anna-Marie Holmes...

, the Boston Lyric Opera
Boston Lyric Opera
Boston Lyric Opera is an American opera company based in Boston, Massachusetts, founded in 1976.Each season, BLO produces three mainstage productions at the Citi Performing Arts Center Shubert Theatre in Boston and a fully staged, one-hour English language version of a popular opera for school...

, and the Lenox
Lenox, Massachusetts
Lenox is a town in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. Set in Western Massachusetts, it is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 5,077 at the 2000 census. Where the town has a border with Stockbridge is the site of Tanglewood, summer...

-based Shakespeare & Company
Shakespeare & Company (Massachusetts)
Shakespeare & Company is an American theatre company located in Lenox, Massachusetts in the Berkshire region of western Massachusetts. It was founded in 1978 by Artistic Director Tina Packer, who stepped down in 2009. Tony Simotes is the current Artistic Director. A co-founder was Kristin...

. In addition to classical and folk music, Massachusetts has produced musicians and bands spanning a number of contemporary genres, such as the classic rock
Classic rock
Classic rock is a radio format which developed from the album-oriented rock format in the early 1980s. In the United States, the classic rock format features music ranging generally from the late 1960s to the late 1980s, primarily focusing on the hard rock genre that peaked in popularity in the...

 band Aerosmith
Aerosmith
Aerosmith is an American rock band, sometimes referred to as "The Bad Boys from Boston" and "America's Greatest Rock and Roll Band". Their style, which is rooted in blues-based hard rock, has come to also incorporate elements of pop, heavy metal, and rhythm and blues, and has inspired many...

, the New Wave
New Wave music
New Wave is a subgenre of :rock music that emerged in the mid to late 1970s alongside punk rock. The term at first generally was synonymous with punk rock before being considered a genre in its own right that incorporated aspects of electronic and experimental music, mod subculture, disco and 1960s...

 band The Cars
The Cars
The Cars are an American rock band that emerged from the early New Wave music scene in the late 1970s. The band consisted of lead singer and rhythm guitarist Ric Ocasek, lead singer and bassist Benjamin Orr, guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes and drummer David Robinson...

, and the alternative rock
Alternative rock
Alternative rock is a genre of rock music and a term used to describe a diverse musical movement that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became widely popular by the 1990s...

 band Pixies. Film events in the state include the Boston Film Festival
Boston Film Festival
Boston Film Festival is an annual film festival held in Boston in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. It has been held annually since 1984, usually in early September....

, the Boston International Film Festival
Boston International Film Festival
The Boston International Film Festival is a film festival in the United States held in Boston, Massachusetts which showcases over 90 films annually....

, and a number of smaller film festivals in various cities throughout the commonwealth.
Massachusetts is home to a large number of museums and historical sites. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art and the DeCordova
DeCordova Museum
The DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum is a sculpture park and art museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts focused on modern and contemporary art, and holds a collection focused on work in all media, especially works by artists with connections to New England...

 contemporary art and sculpture museum in Lincoln
Lincoln, Massachusetts
Lincoln is a town in the historic area of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 6,362 at the 2010 census, including residents of Hanscom Air Force Base that live within town limits...

 are all located within the commonwealth, and the Maria Mitchell Association
Maria Mitchell Association
The Maria Mitchell Association is a private non-profit organization on the island of Nantucket off the coast of Massachusetts. The association owns the Maria Mitchell Observatory, a second observatory , a Natural History Museum, an aquarium at Nantucket Harbor, a history museum that is the...

 in Nantucket includes several observatories, museums, and an aquarium. Historically themed museums and sites such as the Springfield Armory National Historic Site in Springfield
Springfield, Massachusetts
Springfield is the most populous city in Western New England, and the seat of Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. Springfield sits on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River near its confluence with three rivers; the western Westfield River, the eastern Chicopee River, and the eastern...

, Boston's Freedom Trail
Freedom Trail
The Freedom Trail is a red path through downtown Boston, Massachusetts, that leads to 16 significant historic sites. It is a 2.5-mile walk from Boston Common to Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown. Simple ground markers explaining events, graveyards, notable churches and other buildings, and a...

 and nearby Minute Man National Historical Park
Minute Man National Historical Park
Not to be confused with Minuteman Missile National Historic Site.Minute Man National Historical Park commemorates the opening battle in the American Revolutionary War. It also includes The Wayside, home in turn to three noted American authors...

, both of which preserve a number of sites important during the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

, the Lowell National Historical Park
Lowell National Historical Park
Lowell National Historical Park is a National Historical Park of the United States located in Lowell, Massachusetts. Established in 1978 a few years after Lowell Heritage State Park, it is operated by the National Park Service and comprises a group of different sites in and around the city of...

, which focuses on some of the earliest mills and canals of the industrial revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 in the US, the Black Heritage Trail
Black Heritage Trail
The Black Heritage is a path in Boston, Massachusetts, winding through the Beacon Hill neighborhood and sites important in American black history....

 in Boston, which includes important African-American and abolitionist sites in Boston, and the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park
New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park
New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park is a United States National Historical Park in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and is maintained by the National Park Service. The park commemorates the heritage of the world's preeminent whaling port during the nineteenth century.Established in 1996, the...

 all showcase various periods of the commonwealth's history. Plimoth Plantation
Plimoth Plantation
Plimoth Plantation is a living museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts that shows the original settlement of the Plymouth Colony established in the 17th century by English colonists, some of whom later became known as Pilgrims. They were among the first people who emigrated to America to avoid religious...

 and Old Sturbridge Village
Old Sturbridge Village
Old Sturbridge Village is a living museum located in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, in the United States, which re-creates life in rural New England during the 1790s through 1830s. It is the largest living museum in New England, covering more than 200 acres . The Village includes 59 antique...

 are two open-air or "living" museums in Massachusetts, recreating life as it was in the 17th and early 19th centuries, respectively. Boston's annual St. Patrick's Day parade and "Harborfest", a week-long Fourth of July celebration featuring a fireworks display and concert by the Boston Pops as well as a turnaround cruise in Boston Harbor by USS Constitution
USS Constitution
USS Constitution is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. Named by President George Washington after the Constitution of the United States of America, she is the world's oldest floating commissioned naval vessel...

, are popular events. The New England Summer Nationals
New England Summer Nationals
The New England Summer Nationals is a popular, annual, four-day-long automotive festival in Worcester, Massachusetts. It usually occurs on the July 4th holiday weekend. In 1980, the first such festival attracted 2,000 visitors; since then, attendees have peaked at 200,000, drawn from both New...

, an auto show
Auto show
An auto show, or motor show, is a public exhibition of current automobile models, debuts, concept cars, or out-of-production classics. It is commonly attended by automobile manufacturers. Most auto shows occur once or twice a year...

 in Worcester, draws tens of thousands of attendees every year.

Media


There are two major television media markets located in Massachusetts. The Boston/Manchester market is the fifth largest in the United States. All major networks are represented. The other market surrounds the Springfield area. WGBH-TV
WGBH-TV
WGBH-TV, channel 2, is a non-commercial educational public television station located in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. WGBH-TV is a member station of the Public Broadcasting Service , and produces more than two-thirds of PBS's national prime time television programming...

 in Boston is a major public television station and produces national programs such as Nova
NOVA (TV series)
Nova is a popular science television series from the U.S. produced by WGBH Boston. It can be seen on the Public Broadcasting Service in the United States, and in more than 100 other countries...

, Frontline, and American Experience
American Experience
American Experience is a television program airing on the Public Broadcasting Service Public television stations in the United States. The program airs documentaries, many of which have won awards, about important or interesting events and people in American history...

. The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe is an American daily newspaper based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Globe has been owned by The New York Times Company since 1993...

, Boston Herald
Boston Herald
The Boston Herald is a daily newspaper that serves Boston, Massachusetts, United States, and its surrounding area. It was started in 1846 and is one of the oldest daily newspapers in the United States...

, Springfield Republican
Springfield Republican
The Republican is a newspaper based in Springfield, Massachusetts. It is owned by Newhouse Newspapers, a division of Advance Publications. It played important roles in the United States Republican Party's founding, Charles Dow's career, and the invention of the pronoun "Ms."-Beginning:Established...

and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Worcester Telegram & Gazette
The Telegram & Gazette is Worcester, Massachusetts's only daily newspaper. The paper, known locally as the Telegram or the T & G is owned by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of The New York Times Company .It offers coverage of all of...

are the commonwealth's largest daily newspapers. In addition, there are many community dailies and weeklies. There are a number of major AM
AM broadcasting
AM broadcasting is the process of radio broadcasting using amplitude modulation. AM was the first method of impressing sound on a radio signal and is still widely used today. Commercial and public AM broadcasting is carried out in the medium wave band world wide, and on long wave and short wave...

 and FM
FM broadcasting
FM broadcasting is a broadcasting technology pioneered by Edwin Howard Armstrong which uses frequency modulation to provide high-fidelity sound over broadcast radio. The term "FM band" describes the "frequency band in which FM is used for broadcasting"...

 stations which serve Massachusetts, along with many more regional and community-based stations. Some colleges and universities also operate campus television and radio stations, and print their own newspapers.

Health



Massachusetts generally ranks highly among states in most health and disease prevention categories. In 2009, the United Health Foundation ranked the state as third healthiest overall. However, the study also pointed to several areas in which Massachusetts ranked below average, such as the state's rate of binge drinking
Binge drinking
Binge drinking or heavy episodic drinking is the modern epithet for drinking alcoholic beverages with the primary intention of becoming intoxicated by heavy consumption of alcohol over a short period of time. It is a kind of purposeful drinking style that is popular in several countries worldwide,...

, which was the 11th highest in the country. Massachusetts has the most doctors per 100,000 residents, the second lowest infant mortality rate, and the lowest percentage of uninsured residents (for both children as well as the total population). According to Businessweek
BusinessWeek
Bloomberg Businessweek, commonly and formerly known as BusinessWeek, is a weekly business magazine published by Bloomberg L.P. It is currently headquartered in New York City.- History :...

, commonwealth residents have an average life expectancy of 78.4 years, the fifth longest in the country. 37.2% of the population is overweight and 21.7% is obese, and Massachusetts ranks sixth highest in the percentage of residents who are considered neither obese nor overweight (41.1%).

The nation's first Marine Hospital
Marine Hospital Service
The Marine-Hospital Service was an organization of Marine Hospitals dedicated to the care of ill and disabled seamen in the U.S. Merchant Marine, U.S. Coast Guard and other federal beneficiaries....

 was erected by federal order in Boston in 1799. The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine lists a total of 132 hospitals in the state. According to rankings by US News & World Report, Massachusetts General Hospital
Massachusetts General Hospital
Massachusetts General Hospital is a teaching hospital and biomedical research facility in the West End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts...

 in Boston is the third best overall hospital in the nation; the hospital also ranked first in psychiatry
Psychiatry
Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study and treatment of mental disorders. These mental disorders include various affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual abnormalities...

. Massachusetts General was founded in 1811 and serves as the largest teaching hospital for nearby Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

. Other teaching and medical institutions affiliated with Harvard include Brigham and Women's Hospital
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Brigham and Women's Hospital is the largest hospital of the Longwood Medical and Academic Area in Boston, Massachusetts. It is directly adjacent to Harvard Medical School of which it is the second largest teaching affiliate with 793 beds...

, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts is a major flagship teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. It was formed out of the 1996 merger of Beth Israel Hospital and New England Deaconess Hospital...

 and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Dana–Farber Cancer Institute is part of a Comprehensive Cancer Center designated by the National Cancer Institute. It is a major affiliate of Harvard Medical School and is located in the Longwood Medical Area in Boston, Massachusetts.-Overview:...

, among others. Boston is also the location of New England Baptist Hospital
New England Baptist Hospital
New England Baptist Hospital is a 141-bed adult medical/surgical hospital in Boston, Massachusetts specializing in orthopedic care and complex orthopedic procedures...

, Tufts Medical Center
Tufts Medical Center
Tufts Medical Center is a medical institution in Boston, Massachusetts occupying space between Chinatown and the Theater District....

 and Boston Medical Center
Boston Medical Center
Boston Medical Center is a non-profit 639 licensed-bed medical center in Boston, Massachusetts. It was created by the formal merger of Boston City Hospital which was the first municipal hospital in the United States and Boston University Medical Center Hospital in July 1996 which was sponsored...

, the latter of which is the primary teaching hospital for Boston University
Boston University
Boston University is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. With more than 4,000 faculty members and more than 31,000 students, Boston University is one of the largest private universities in the United States and one of Boston's largest employers...

. The University of Massachusetts Medical School
University of Massachusetts Medical School
The University of Massachusetts Medical School is one of five campuses of the University of Massachusetts system and is home to three schools: the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Graduate School of Nursing; a biomedical research enterprise; and a range of...

 is located in Worcester
Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester is a city and the county seat of Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Named after Worcester, England, as of the 2010 Census the city's population is 181,045, making it the second largest city in New England after Boston....

. The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is an accredited, private institution located in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area of Boston, Massachusetts...

 has campuses in both Boston and Worcester.

Organized sports



The Olympic sports of basketball and volleyball were invented in Western Massachusetts, (in Springfield and Holyoke, respectively.) The Basketball Hall of Fame
Basketball Hall of Fame
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, located in Springfield, Massachusetts, United States, honors exceptional basketball players, coaches, referees, executives, and other major contributors to the game of basketball worldwide...

, a shrine to the sport's history, is a major tourist destination in the City of Springfield. The Volleyball Hall of Fame
Volleyball Hall of Fame
The Volleyball Hall of Fame was founded to honor extraordinary players, coaches, officials, and leaders who have made significant contributions to the game of volleyball. The hall is located in Holyoke, Massachusetts, where volleyball was invented in 1895 by William G...

 is located in Holyoke.

Massachusetts has a long history with amateur athletics and professional teams. Most of the major professional teams have won multiple championships in their respective leagues. Massachusetts teams have won six Stanley Cup
Stanley Cup
The Stanley Cup is an ice hockey club trophy, awarded annually to the National Hockey League playoffs champion after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Finals. It has been referred to as The Cup, Lord Stanley's Cup, The Holy Grail, or facetiously as Lord Stanley's Mug...

s (Boston Bruins
Boston Bruins
The Boston Bruins are a professional ice hockey team based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. They are members of the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League . The team has been in existence since 1924, and is the league's third-oldest team and its oldest in the...

), seventeen NBA Championships
NBA Finals
The NBA Finals is the championship series of the National Basketball Association . The series was named the NBA World Championship Series until 1986....

 (Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are a National Basketball Association team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. Founded in 1946, the team is currently owned by Boston Basketball Partners LLC. The Celtics play their home games at the TD Garden, which...

), three Super Bowl
Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is the championship game of the National Football League , the highest level of professional American football in the United States, culminating a season that begins in the late summer of the previous calendar year. The Super Bowl uses Roman numerals to identify each game, rather...

s (New England Patriots
New England Patriots
The New England Patriots, commonly called the "Pats", are a professional football team based in the Greater Boston area, playing their home games in the town of Foxborough, Massachusetts at Gillette Stadium. The team is part of the East Division of the American Football Conference in the National...

), and eight World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

 (seven for the Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are a professional baseball team based in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of Major League Baseball’s American League Eastern Division. Founded in as one of the American League's eight charter franchises, the Red Sox's home ballpark has been Fenway Park since . The "Red Sox"...

, one for the Boston Braves
Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves are a professional baseball club based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Braves are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League. The Braves have played in Turner Field since 1997....

). The American Hockey League
American Hockey League
The American Hockey League is a 30-team professional ice hockey league based in the United States and Canada that serves as the primary developmental circuit for the National Hockey League...

, (AHL,) the NHL's development league, is headquartered in Springfield. Other professional sports teams in Massachusetts include the Springfield Falcons
Springfield Falcons
The Springfield Falcons are an ice hockey team in the American Hockey League . They play in Springfield, Massachusetts, at the MassMutual Center and are the top affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League. The Falcons' two main rivals are the Connecticut Whale and the...

 AHL team, the Worcester Sharks
Worcester Sharks
The Worcester Sharks are a professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League . The franchise is located in Worcester, Massachusetts and play their home games at the DCU Center in Downtown Worcester. The Sharks and the city of Worcester hosted the 2009 AHL All-Star Classic.-History:On...

 AHL team, and the Springfield Armor
Springfield Armor
The Springfield Armor is a basketball team located in Springfield, Massachusetts, which plays in the NBA Development League. The Armor plays its home games at the MassMutual Center in Springfield's Metro Center neighborhood. The team is owned by HWS Basketball, LLC which is principally owned by...

 NBA Development League
NBA Development League
The NBA Development League, or NBA D-League, is the National Basketball Association's official minor league basketball organization. Known until summer 2005 as the National Basketball Development League , the NBA D-League started with eight teams in the fall of 2001...

 team.

Massachusetts is also the home of the Cape Cod Baseball League
Cape Cod Baseball League
The Cape Cod Baseball League is a collegiate summer baseball league located on Cape Cod in the U.S. state of Massachusetts, in which many college baseball stars play during the summer. Many future Major League Baseball players have started there during their college years; MLB has provided...

, rowing events such as the Eastern Sprints
Eastern Sprints
Eastern Sprints refers to the annual rowing championship for the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges . Since 1974, the "Women's Eastern Sprints" has been held as the annual championship for the Eastern Association of Women's Rowing Colleges league.*For the women's regatta, see Women's Eastern...

 on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester and the Head of the Charles Regatta
Head of the Charles Regatta
The Head of the Charles Regatta, also known as HOCR or HOTC, is a rowing race held on the penultimate complete weekend of October each year on the Charles River, which separates Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. The race is named the "Head" of the Charles because it is a head race...

, and the Boston Marathon
Boston Marathon
The Boston Marathon is an annual marathon hosted by the U.S. city of Boston, Massachusetts, on Patriots' Day, the third Monday of April. Begun in 1897 and inspired by the success of the first modern-day marathon competition in the 1896 Summer Olympics, the Boston Marathon is the world's oldest...

. A number of major golf events have taken place in Massachusetts, including nine U.S. Opens
U.S. Open (golf)
The United States Open Championship, commonly known as the U.S. Open, is the annual open golf tournament of the United States. It is the second of the four major championships in golf, and is on the official schedule of both the PGA Tour and the European Tour...

 and two Ryder Cup
Ryder Cup
The Ryder Cup is a biennial golf competition between teams from Europe and the United States. The competition is jointly administered by the PGA of America and the PGA European Tour, and is contested every two years, the venue alternating between courses in the United States and Europe...

s, among others. The New England Revolution
New England Revolution
The New England Revolution is an American professional association football club based in Foxborough, Massachusetts which competes in Major League Soccer , the top professional soccer league in the United States and Canada...

 is the Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer is a professional soccer league based in the United States and sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation . The league is composed of 19 teams — 16 in the U.S. and 3 in Canada...

 team in Massachusetts, and the Boston Cannons
Boston Cannons
The Boston Cannons are a Major League Lacrosse professional men's field lacrosse team based in Boston, Massachusetts. They have played in the MLL since the 2001 season. From 2006 to 2008, they were in the Eastern Conference. From the league's inception in 2001 through 2005, they were in the...

 are the Major League Lacrosse
Major League Lacrosse
Major League Lacrosse, or MLL, is a professional men's field lacrosse league that is made up of five teams in the United States and one team in Canada.- History :...

 team. The Boston Breakers
Boston Breakers
Boston Breakers are an American professional soccer club based in Boston, Massachusetts which participate in Women's Professional Soccer. They replace the original Breakers, who competed in the defunct Women's United Soccer Association, as the Boston area's professional women's soccer team...

 are the Women's Professional Soccer
Women's Professional Soccer
Women's Professional Soccer is the top level professional women's soccer league in the United States. It began play on March 29, 2009. The league was composed of seven teams for its first two seasons and fielded 6 teams for the 2011 season, with continued plans for future expansion...

 in Massachusetts.

Many universities in Massachusetts are active in college athletics. There are a number of NCAA
National Collegiate Athletic Association
The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a semi-voluntary association of 1,281 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States...

 Division I teams in the state involved in multiple sports: Boston University
Boston University
Boston University is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. With more than 4,000 faculty members and more than 31,000 students, Boston University is one of the largest private universities in the United States and one of Boston's largest employers...

, Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

, Boston College
Boston College
Boston College is a private Jesuit research university located in the village of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA. The main campus is bisected by the border between the cities of Boston and Newton. It has 9,200 full-time undergraduates and 4,000 graduate students. Its name reflects its early...

, Northeastern University, College of the Holy Cross
College of the Holy Cross
The College of the Holy Cross is an undergraduate Roman Catholic liberal arts college located in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA...

 in Worcester, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a public research and land-grant university in Amherst, Massachusetts, United States and the flagship of the University of Massachusetts system...

.

Outdoor recreation


Long-distance hiking trails in Massachusetts include the Appalachian Trail
Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the AT, is a marked hiking trail in the eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. It is approximately long...

, the New England National Scenic Trail
New England National Scenic Trail
The New England National Scenic Trail is a National Scenic Trail in southern New England, which includes most of the three single trails Metacomet-Monadnock Trail, Mattabesett Trail and Metacomet Trail. After the Metacomet-Monadnock-Mattabesett trail system, the trail is sometimes called Triple-M...

, the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail
Metacomet-Monadnock Trail
The Metacomet-Monadnock Trail is a hiking trail that traverses the Metacomet Ridge of the Pioneer Valley region of Massachusetts and the central uplands of Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire...

, the Midstate Trail, and the Bay Circuit Trail. Other outdoor recreational activities in the commonwealth include sailing and yachting, freshwater and deep-sea fishing, whale watching
Whale watching
Whale watching is the practice of observing whales and other cetaceans in their natural habitat. Whales are watched most commonly for recreation but the activity can also serve scientific or educational purposes. A 2009 study, prepared for IFAW, estimated that 13 million people went whale watching...

, downhill and cross-country skiing, and hunting.

See also



  • Massachusetts in 2010
    Massachusetts in 2010
    -January:* January 19 - Republican Scott Brown wins U.S. Senate seat* Unemployment rate reaches 9.5- April :* April 19 - Boston Marathon* April 27 - 2010 U.S. census completed...

  • New England
    New England
    New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

  • US state


External links




Related information