History: 10,000 years before the Europeans stuck their oars in the waters of Cape Cod, the state of Massachusetts was home to the Paleo-Indians. These natives lived in migratory bands, sustaining themselves by hunting, gathering, and fishing. Over the course of a millennia, Massachusetts found himself immersed in diverse tribal societies that had started to emerge in his land. These many tribes were governed by religious, and political laws, cultivating vegetables and grains, hunting deer and game bird, as well as fishing.
Massachusetts’ land was divided amongst more than six groups of natives. They include: Mama Wampanog and her people (“People of the East”), inhibited his south shore, the peninsula of Cape Cod, an the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. The Mama Massachusett and her tribe occupied the central shore, and Papa Pennacook and his people lived along the Merrimack River valley. Finally inland, the fertile Connecticut River valley was home to Mama Nipmuc, and the rolling Berkshire hills were the territory of the Pocomtuc and Mahican tribes.
Though legend insists that Iceland and Leif Ericson visited the shores of Massachusetts in the 11th century, many presume John Cabot to be the First European to sail within sight of Cape Cod in the late 1490s. During the 1500s, fishermen just merely sailed pass en route to Grand Banks off Canada. Though roughly around 1616, European diseases began to plague Massachusetts and his tribes off the coast of his land; this contributed to the death of nearly 90% of his native people. During the winters of 1620-1621, it was as a weakened people that Massachusetts and the Wampanoag people encountered the strange group of English separatists who lived in the old Patuxet village.
Those strange people were the Pilgrims, religious exiles that were attempting to start their own colony in the Americas. They arrived in late Autumn after a long and difficult journey aboard the Mayflower; these strange people also found themselves ill-prepared for the coming winter. By December, sickness and malnutrition consumed the group. After searching for a better campsite they stumbled upon the village that Massachusetts and Mama Wampanoag found them in. This village became the site of the Plymouth Plantation; the earliest colonial town in Massachusetts.
The spring of 1621 bought great confusion to the young native boy and his American Indian caretakers. Yes the Indians have given them (The Pilgrims) priority over their flourishing village; the Pilgrims believed that the land was rightfully theirs in the first place. This simple concept of owning land was something new and not embraced by the Native people...at all.
The first representatives of the Massachusetts Bay Colony arrived in 1629, under a prized royal charter that granted them the right to settle Massachusetts “from sea to sea”. The Great Migration, the exodus of tens of thousands of English Puritans to America, had begun.
As the English settlement expanded inland, the 17th century became a fervent and bloody affair. Now established, the Massachusetts Puritans believed in their divine right to occupy the land and convert the native boy and his Native American caretakers to Christianity By the 1660s the Wampanoag--former allies of the Pilgrims mind you--had decisively soured on the Puritan presence. Metacome, the Chief of the Wampanoag, traveled throughout the countryside and arranged an alliance of tribes to expel the Puritans once and for all. In 1675 raids began, ones that the native boy tried his best to keep out of and let the grown ups handle it. The natives attacked colonial villages, and the fighting progressed into some of the bloodiest and costliest combat ever waged on American soil.
In August 1676 Metacomer---or King Philip as the English knew him---was killed, and King Philip’s War had effectively finished, having resulted in thousands of Puritan deaths, a swath of colonial villages destroyed, and a complete and utter crippling of the Native American influence over the land. The remaining Indians were persecuted by the Puritans or fled to outlaying tribal lands. This left the boy alone to be cared for by the people that killed a good portion of his family.
The 18th century saw Massachusetts firmly under British control as part of the British province of Massachusetts Bay, which also included New Hampshire, Maine, and Nova Scotia. The relationship between Puritan Massachusetts and the British crown was not always a good one, however, and though the Puritan politics in Massachusetts has dissipated, the growing boy was still very rebellious at heart. A number of parliamentary acts restricting and taxing much of American commerce really annoyed the 13 colonies, but in Boston---at the time one of the busiest ports in the world---Parliament’s actions inspired tremendous outrage.
British responses to Massachusetts’ libertarian fervor led to the infamous Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party! But on April 19, 1775, while British hunted agitators Samuel Adams and John Hancock, colonial “minutemen” and British regulars exchanged gunfire on the village green in Lexington. The American Revolution has begun.
The war didn’t stay long in Massachusetts, because on a real note, he wasn’t letting that happen. The early skirmishes progressed into the colonists’ siege of Boston, highlighted by the bloody Battle of Bunker Hill. During the months-long siege, the Continental Congress established the Continental Army, who took the Massachusetts minutemen into their rankings. In July of 1775, George Washington arrived in Boston to lead the newly formed army, and after a period of stalemate, January 1776 had the Continental Army fortifying the city with 60 tons of artillery under their belt! In March 1776, the British vacated the city; though the war would last another seven years, the fighting would not scar his land thereafter.
As the 19th century opened, Massachusetts was the sixth state in the fledgling nation, and as changes in the United States influenced the world, so too did a shifting affect the United States. Massachusetts became a hive of industrial activity. Textile mills in Lowell and Lawrence were among the most efficient and productive in the world, just the way Massachusetts like things to work. However most mill workers were generally scantly paid women, children, or immigrants.
Boston, the primary city of New England, became a national center of finance and learning. The ports of Southeastern Massachusetts, esp. the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard became hubs for the whaling industry. This very industry was immortalized in Herman Melvile’s novel “Moby Dick”.
Progressive political and literary thought bloomed in his land. In 1825 John Quincy Adams became the second Adams (After his father John Adams) to become president of the United States. Daniel Webster and Charles Sumner (very powerful presences in the US Senate in their time) called for the abolition of slavery. This echoed throughout the state and into the progressive stance among Massachusetts thinkers like William Lloyd Garrison. Meanwhile, Ralph Waldo Emerson philosophized Transcendentalism, a movement in nineteenth-century American literature and thought. It called on people to view the objects in the world as small versions of the whole universe and to trust their individual intuitions. This very movement is something that drastically shaped Massachusetts as a person, as weird as it may seem.
As the American Civil War tore the ,family that is the, United States in half, Massachusetts made yet another progressive mark. That mark of his was the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (Sounds familiar yes? They are the regiment that the movie “Glory” was based on), which became the first black regiment to serve in the U.S. Army.
In the early 1900s, embroiled in bitter conflict over unionization and worker’s rights, along with supplanting commercial rivals elsewhere in the union, Massachusetts’s industry declined. The Great Depression exacerbated his simmering economic and societal problems. The lack of jobs caused higher migration into urban centers, thus the increase in racial tensions among the working classes. After World War II, Massachusetts reckoned with a different world; the industry of the old wasn’t going to return, and the Civil Rights Movement along with generational and cultural divide were sweeping the nation.
In the 1960s, Boston’s wealthy Kennedy family became a progressive political force. In 1961, John F. Kennedy became the 35th president of the United States. His handsomeness, eloquence, and youthful character redefined the office, and his assassination in 1963 made him a symbol of a turbulent age. Robert F. Kennedy (younger brother to the late president) served as the attorney general of the United States and as a US senator from New York. He was in the midst of his own presidential run, in 1968, when he too was assassinated. Edward “Ted” Kennedy (Youngest brother of the previous Kennedy’s) became a US Senator in 1962 and was a leader of the Democratic Party, he was the longest serving US senator in Office. For he died of brain cancer on August 25, 2009.
The 21st finds Massachusetts at a relatively stable point in his life. He’s blighted industrial centers have started the transition to new economic activity. In an age of widespread college attendance, his prestigious universities---Harvard, Boston University, Boston College, MIT, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Amherstm and the University of Massachusetts, among others---have become economic stimulants, and sustain communities both east and west. Education is serious business with this state. Suburbanization continues, but much wilderness still exists in western Massachusetts and with effective environmental protection, it should exist for a very long time.
The religiously fervent and culturally conflagrant Massachusetts Bay Colony has became one of the liberal and progressive bedrocks of the East Coast. If his history represents the conflicted beginnings of the United States, then perhaps his present symbolizes the complex choices all states face in an age of global economy and environmental unease.
In the words of Henry Beston, “East of America, there stands in the open Atlantic the last fragment of an ancient and vanished land. Worn by the breakers and the rains, and disintegrated by the wind, it still stands bold.”
~ Johnny Appleseed was designated the official folk hero of the Commonwealth on August 2, 1996. Appleseed was born John Chapman and lived from 1775(?)-1845. An American pioneer and hero of folklore, his planting of apple trees from New England to the Ohio River valley earned him his more popular name.
~The Salem witch trials occurred in colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft—the Devil's magic—and 20 were executed. Eventually, the colony admitted the trials were a mistake and compensated the families of those convicted. Since then, the story of the trials has become synonymous with paranoia and injustice, and it continues to beguile the popular imagination more than 300 years later.
He still feels guilty about it to this day.
~Fascinated by witchcraft and somewhat dabbles in it. >.>
~He can see spirits, for Massachusetts is a pretty haunted state.
~Boston built the first subway system in the United States in 1897.
~The visible portion of Plymouth Rock is a lumpy fragment of glacial moraine about the size of a coffee table, with the date 1620 cut into its surface. After being broken, dragged about the town of Plymouth by ox teams used to inspire Revolution-aries, and reverently gouged and scraped by 19th-century souvenir hunters, it is now at rest near the head of Plymouth Harbor.
~The Basketball Hall Of Fame is located in Springfield.
~On October 1, 1998, "Say Hello To Someone From Massachusetts" by Lenny Gomulka, was approved as the official polka of the Commonwealth.
~Robert Goddard, inventor of the first liquid fueled rocket, was born and lived much of his life in Worcester and launched the first rocket fueled with liquid fuel from the neighboring town of Auburn.
~The birth control pill was invented at Clark University in Worcester.
~Harvard was the first college established in North America. Harvard was founded in 1636. Because of Harvard's size there is no universal mailing address that will work for every office at the University
~On top of the commercial building on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain sits a weather vane with a whale on it. The building was once state headquarters of Greenpeace. - "Save the whales" Ironic in a state that once had a very powerful whaling industry.
~The 3rd Monday in April is a legal holiday in Massachusetts called Patriot's Day. Which is a civic holiday commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War
~ Massachusetts has a Museum of Bad Art located in Dedham, it's motto is "Art too bad to be ignored"
~Although the Library of Congress contains the most volumes in the country at more than 29,550,000, Harvard University's Library is second with more than 15,000,000 and the Boston Public Library is third with more than 14,000,000. In short, he's quite the bookworm.
~Springfield physical education teacher James A. Naismith invented basketball in 1891. He did so in response to the lack of team sports that are played indoors during the winter months.
~Baseball's first World Series was played in Boston in October 1903, between the Boston Americans and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Boston Americans won.
~The first public school system was founded in Boston in 1635 and Boston Latin was our country's first public school. The Mather School in Dorchester was founded in 1639 as the first public elementary school.
~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. Massachusetts became the sixth jurisdiction in the world (after the Netherlands, Belgium, Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec) to legalize same-sex marriage. It was the first U.S. state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
~Dunkin' Donuts was founded in 1950 in Quincy, Massachusetts by William Rosenberg. It is now headquartered in Canton, Massachusetts. Despite originally focusing on donuts and other baked goods, over half of Dunkin' Donuts business today is in coffee, making it more of a competitor to Starbucks as opposed to traditional competitors Krispy Kreme and Tim Hortons.
So there you have it, after a week in the making I give you guys Massachusetts' profile. It was really hard to write at times but I finished it.
As always if you have questions or suggestions, don't be shy, feel free to leave them in your comment.
Massachusetts (c) Alexander Rowe