Massachusetts – Geography & Population
Massachusetts (MA), also known as The Bay State, is located in the Northeastern part of the United States in the region of New England. The state borders the Atlantic Ocean, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. Massachusetts is 10,565 square miles, making it the 44th largest state in the country.
With just under 6.9 million people, Massachusetts is the 15th most populous state in the United States. Boston, the capital and the most heavily populated city in the state, is also the most populated city in New England, with roughly 688,000 people.
Massachusetts obtained its name from the Massachusetts tribe, a Native American tribe that originally inhabited the area. Tragically, however, between 1617 and 1619, health epidemics such as measles, influenza, and smallpox contributed to 90% of Massachusetts Native American deaths.
In 1620, the first English settlers of New England came over on the Mayflower and colonized in Plymouth, forming amicable relationships with the natives in the area. The Plymouth colony became known as the second thriving permanent colony after the one in Jamestown, Virginia. Other Puritans who opposed the Church of England fled to Massachusetts for religious safety and freedom.
Massachusetts was a center of contention between colonists and the rulers of Great Britain during the Revolutionary War. Protests, the Boston Massacre, and the Boston Tea Party all added fuel to the already high tensions. American political figures such as Samuel Adams and John Hancock refused to follow British government rule, and the result they saw was the American Revolution starting in 1775. Many of the prominent battles took place on Massachusetts soil, such as the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the Siege of Boston. Bostonian John Adams was famously known for helping write the Declaration of Independence. After the United States won the war, Massachusetts became the 6th state to join the U.S. Union on February 6th, 1788.
In the 19th century, Massachusetts became a prominent state contributing to the American Industrial Revolution. Boston, Lowell, and Springfield had many factories that produced textiles, shoes, paper, and tools. The revolution greatly impacted the state’s economy and changed it from being agriculturally based to industrially based.
Abolitionism was also prevalent in Massachusetts in the mid 19th century, and many renowned abolitionists such as John Brown, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and Susan B. Anthony resided in the state. In addition, Massachusetts became the first state to recruit and arm black men to fight under white officers in the Civil War.
Thanksgiving was created and celebrated by the Pilgrims that came over to Plymouth in the early 17th century. The feast lasted three days and commemorated their first harvest in the New World.
Although not born in Massachusetts, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and, in 1876, displayed the technology at Boston University.
Sports are a significant part of Massachusetts’s culture and society, with five major league professional sports teams. Boston is home to the seventeen-time NBA Champions, the Boston Celtics. The Boston Red Sox are eight-time World Series winners, whereas the Boston Bruins are six-time Stanley Cup winners. The New England Patriots are renowned as they are five-time Super Bowl winners. These are not the only sports teams that Massachusetts has. American Major League Soccer also has a team, appropriately named the New England Revolution. Massachusetts is also home to the Basketball Hall of Fame and the Volleyball Hall of Fame.