From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
|State nickname: Bay State|
|Other U.S. States|
|Governor||Mitt Romney (R)|
|Senators||Edward Kennedy (D)
John Kerry (D)
|Area||27,360 km² (44th)|
|- Land||20,317 km²|
|- Water||7,043 km² (25.7%)|
|- Population||6,349,097 (13th)|
|- Density||312.68 /km² (3rd)|
|Admission into Union|
|- Date||February 6, 1788|
|Time zone||Eastern: UTC-5/-4|
|Latitude||41°10'N to 42°53'N|
|Longitude||68°57'W to 73°30'W|
|- Highest point||1,063 m|
|- Mean||150 m|
|- Lowest point||0 m|
|- ISO 3166-2||US-MA|
Massachusetts (officially, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts) is a state in the New England region of the United States of America. Its nickname is the Bay State. Other nicknames are the Old Colony State, and less commonly the Puritan state and the Baked Bean state. On December 18, 1990, the Legislature decided that the people of the Commonwealth would be designated as Bay Staters.
The United States Postal Service abbreviation for Massachusetts is MA and its traditional abbreviation is Mass.
Various Algonquin tribes inhabited the area prior to European settlement. In the Massachusetts Bay area resided the Massachusett. Near the Vermont and New Hampshire borders and the Merrimack River valley was the traditional home of the Pennacook tribe. Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, and southeast Massachusetts were the home of the Wampanoag, whom the Pilgrims met. The extreme end of the Cape was inhabited by the closely related Nauset tribe. Much of the central portion and the Connecticut River valley was home to the loosely organized Nipmuc peoples. The Berkshires were the home of both the Pocomtuc and the Mahican tribes. Spillovers of Narragansett and Mohegan from Rhode Island and Connecticut, respectively, were also present.
where mass is "great", adchu is "hill" and et is a locative suffix. It has been translated as
- "at the great hill" or "at the place of large hills", or "at the range of hills"
with reference to the Blue Hills, or in particular, Big Blue Hill, located on the boundary of Milton and Canton, to the southwest of Boston. Big Blue gives a good overlook of Boston and the bay. There is a weather observatory on the summit, but the hills have been preserved as a nature reservation and are laced with hiking trails.
It isn't clear that there was any distinction between the Massachusett and the Wampanoag, whose descendants occupy various locations, such as Mashpee, today. The Mash- in Mashpee is the same as the Mass- in Massachusetts. Very likely, they were all Wampanoag, but the Wampanoags inhabiting Massachusetts Bay were also named the Massachusett, after their place of residence.
The Massachusett, as were all the native Americans on the coast of New England, were heavily decimated by waves of smallpox both before and after the arrival of Captain John Smith in 1614. They had developed no immunity to the disease, a common story when Europeans visited parts of the world remote from Europe.
The Pilgrims from the Humber region of England established their settlement at Plymouth in 1620, arriving on the Mayflower. They also suffered grievously from the native smallpox, but they were assisted in their time of trouble by the Wampanoags under chief Massasoit. In 1621 they celebrated their first Thanksgiving Day together to thank God for their survival.
From that time on the English settlers spread rapidly into clearings and fields depopulated by smallpox, their numbers swelled by the harsh treatment of puritans by Charles I at home. The natives called them the Yengeeze, their pronunciation of English, which became yankee. A shared culture prevailed for a time.
The English Revolution began and in 1646 the Long Parliament gave John Eliot a commission and funds to preach to the Wampanoags. He succeeded in converting a large number. The colonial government placed them in a ring of villages around Boston as a defensive strategy. They were called praying indians. The oldest, Natick, was built in 1651.
The colonists treated natives as simpletons, leading at last to a sanguinary attempt to drive the English into the sea under Massasoit's son, Philip, which attempt the New Englanders came to call King Philip's War. The praying indians did their job and gave ample warning and would have fought for the yankees, but they were scorned and ignored. When the blow fell in 1675 the praying indians were caught in the middle. Most left Massachusetts.
The colonists took those who stayed into internment on Deer and Long Islands in Boston Harbor, partly for their own protection. The government succeeded in preventing the colonists from massacring them there, but they died of deprivation and disease. Only 400 emerged in 1677, to reoccupy Wampanoag lands in southeastern Massachusetts.
The villages of the praying indians were taken by eminent domain and resettled with yankees. For example, Captain Samuel Butterfield of Woburn (formerly of England) led a party across the Concord River to found the town of Chelmsford in the vicinity of the former praying Indian village of Wameset.
Until 1691 when they merged, Massachusetts Bay Colony and Plymouth Colony were separate colonies.
Massachusetts Bay Colony period (1629-1686)
The Pilgrims were soon followed by the Puritans from the River Thames region of England, who established the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Although the Puritans came to Massachusetts for religious freedom, they were not particularly tolerant of any other religion than theirs. Pilgrims, as well as Anglicans, Quakers, and a handful of other denominations were grudgingly accepted in the Puritan communities for a time, although Quakers were banned, and in 1660 four were hanged on Boston Common (see Mary Dyer). People such as Anne Hutchinson, Roger Williams, and Thomas Hooker left Massachusetts and went South because of the Puritans' lack of religious tolerance. Williams ended up founding the colony of Rhode Island and Hooker founded Connecticut. King Philip's War (1675-1676), the bloodiest Indian war of the early colonial period, included major campaigns in the Pioneer Valley and Plymouth Colony. It took many years for the colonies of southern New England to recover from the effects of the war.
Dominion of New England (1686-1692)
In May of 1686, the Massachusetts Bay Colony came to an end, as Joseph Dudley became President of New England under a commission of King James II. He established his authority later in New Hampshire and the King's Province (part of today's Rhode Island), maintaining this position until Sir Edmund Andros arrived to become the Royal Governor of the Dominion of New England. Dudley continued on as a member of Governor Andros' council.
At the news of the accession of William and Mary, the Boston colonials rebelled. Andros and his officials were held on Castle Island and then sent back to England as prisoners. Andros was exonerated and went on to become Governor of Virginia (1692–98).
Royal Colony of Massachusetts (1692-1774)
Revolutionary Massachusetts (1760s-1780s)
Massachusetts was the first colony to revolt against British rule, and thus the instigator of the American Revolution. On February 9, 1775, the British Parliament declared Massachusetts to be in rebellion, and sent additional troops to restore order to the colony.
In Boston on March 5, 1770, an African-American named Crispus Attucks, from Framingham, was killed (along with four other American colonists) at an event that became known as the Boston Massacre; Attucks is often considered the first casualty of the American Revolution.
Several early Revolutionary battles took place in Massachusetts, including the Battles of Lexington and Concord (where the famous shot heard 'round the world was fired), the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Siege of Boston.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1780-present)
A Constitutional Convention drew up a Constitution drafted mainly by John Adams, and the people ratified it on June 15, 1780. At that time, Adams along with Samuel Adams, and James Bowdoin wrote in the Preamble to the Constitution of the Commonwealth, 1780:
"We, therefore, the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe, in affording us, in the course of His Providence, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud, violence or surprize, on entering into an Original, explicit, and Solemn Compact with each other; and of forming a new Constitution of Civil Government, for Ourselves and Posterity, and devoutly imploring His direction in so interesting a design, Do agree upon, ordain and establish, the following Declaration of Rights, and Frame of Government, as the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."
Other notable history
- John Hancock was the first governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
- On February 6, 1788 Massachusetts became the sixth state to ratify the United States Constitution.
- According to a 1790 census, Massachusetts had a zero population of slaves.
- On March 15, 1820 the area of Maine was separated from Massachusetts, of which it had been a non-contiguous part, and entered the Union as the 23rd State.
- Basketball was invented in Massachusetts, as was Volleyball. The earliest reference to Baseball was also in Massachusetts, in the city of Pittsfield.
- Battles of Lexington and Concord, Siege of Boston, Bunker Hill, and Shays' Rebellion
- Massachusetts contains many historic houses
Massachusetts is bordered on the north by New Hampshire and Vermont, on the west by New York, on the south by Connecticut and Rhode Island, and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean. At the southeastern corner of the state is a large, sandy, arm-shaped peninsula called Cape Cod. The islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket lie to the south of Cape Cod.
Massachusetts is known as the Bay State because of the several large bays that give its coastline its distinctive shape: Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay on the state's east coast, and Buzzards Bay to the south. A few cities and towns on the Massachusetts–Rhode Island border are also adjacent to Narragansett Bay.
Boston is the largest city, located at the inmost point of Massachusetts Bay, at the mouth of the Charles River, the longest river entirely within Massachusetts. Most of the population of the Boston metropolitan area (approximately 5,800,000) does not live in the city; eastern Massachusetts on the whole is fairly densely populated and largely suburban. Western Massachusetts is more rural and sparsely populated, especially in the Berkshires, the branch of the Appalachian Mountains which forms the western border of the state. The most populated part of western Massachusetts is the "Pioneer Valley," alongside the Connecticut River, which flows across Western Massachusetts from north to south.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Massachusetts's total state product in 2003 was $297 billion. Per capita personal income in 2003 was $39,504, 4th in the nation.
Its agricultural outputs are seafood, nursery stock, dairy products, cranberries, and vegetables. Its industrial outputs are machinery, electric equipment, scientific instruments, printing, and publishing. Thanks largely to the Ocean Spray cooperative, Massachusetts is the second largest cranberry producing state in the union (after Wisconsin). Other sectors vital to the Massachusetts economy include higher education, health care, financial services and tourism.
The population of Massachusetts in 2004 was 6,416,505 according to the US Census Bureau. There were 881,400 foreign-born residents living in the state in 2004. Since 1990 the population has increased 400,000, a growth of 6.7%
The bulk of the state's population surrounds Greater Boston, with approximately 5,800,000 people, and the North and South Shores. Historically, the coast has been much more urban than Western Massachusetts, which is very rural, save for the cities of Springfield and Worcester.
Race and Ancestry
The racial makeup of Massachusetts:
Massachusetts is the most Irish state in the nation and the only state in which people of Irish ancestry (especially in the Boston suburbs) are a plurality. Massachusetts Yankees of English ancestry still have strong presence in the state, including in Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard. Franco-Bay Staters are the largest group in much of western and central Massachusetts. Boston has a large African-American population and its largest immigrant group is Haitians. Fall River and New Bedford on the south coast have large populations of people with Portuguese and Brazilian heritages, with a growing Brazilian population in the Boston area. Census figures become less reliable due to the large, partly undocumented Brazilian population, estimated by some studies to approach 250,000 in Massachusetts. Census data does not account for this significant segment of the community because of confusing terminology, as Brazilians speak Portuguese and often do not consider themselves specifically Hispanic, Latino, White or African American. Lowell, in the northeast of the state, is home to the second largest Cambodian (Khmer) community in the country, outside of Long Beach, California. Although most of the Native Americans were decimated by disease and warfare, the Wampanoag tribe maintains a reservation at Aquinnah, on Martha's Vineyard and a non-recognized reservation at Mashpee. The Nipmuc maintain two state-recognized reservations in the central part of the state.
Although Massachusetts was initially founded and settled by staunch Protestants (Puritan separatists) in the 17th Century and remained a majority-White Anglo Saxon Protestant state for most of its history, it has since become the second most Catholic state in the Union (second only to next-door Rhode Island in its percentage of Catholic population) due to massive Catholic immigration (especially from Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Quebec, Puerto Rico) over the years. Christian Science began in Massachusetts. Today nearly half of the residents of Massachusetts are Roman Catholics and Protestants make up less than one-third of the state's population. The descendants of the Puritans are the Congregational/United Church of Christ members, who remain prominent in the state. Massachusetts also has one of the nation's largest Unitarian Universalist populations. Both of these denominations are noted for their strong support of social justice, civil rights, and moral issues, including strong and early advocacy of abolition of slavery, women's liberation, and legal recognition of gay marriage, though this may differ from their historical practices.
The religious affiliations of the people of Massachusetts (as of 2001) are shown in the table below:
- Christian – 79%
- Jewish – 2%
- Unitarian – 1%
- Other Religions – 1%
- Non-Religious – 17%
- Main article: Massachusetts Government
The capital of Massachusetts is Boston and the current governor is Mitt Romney (Republican). The state does not maintain an official governor's residence. Massachusetts's two U.S. senators are Edward Kennedy (Democrat) and John Kerry (Democrat); as of the 2001 redistricting, Massachusetts has ten seats in the United States House of Representatives (all Democratic), giving Massachusetts the largest one-party delegation in Congress (i.e. twelve Democrats). The state legislature is formally styled the "Great and General Court"; the highest court is the "Supreme Judicial Court."
"Commonwealth" or "state"?
Massachusetts is officially termed "the Commonwealth of Massachusetts" (rather than "State") by its constitution. It is one of four U.S. states that use the name "Commonwealth;" the others are Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Kentucky. This is distinct from the U.S. federal government's use of the term "commonwealth" to refer to the status of certain insular areas such as Puerto Rico.
In the era leading up to 1780, when the state Constitution was ratified, the word Commonwealth was the preferred term among political writers for a whole body of people constituting a nation or state. There may have been some anti-monarchic sentiment informing the use of the word Commonwealth, which was also used to mean "republic."
The name "Commonwealth" for Massachusetts can be traced to the second draft of the state Constitution. The previous draft of the Constitution, and all acts and resolves up to 1780, had used the name "State of Massachusetts Bay." The second draft was written by John Adams and ratified in 1780. In Adams's draft, "Part Two, Frame of Government," states, "…that the people… form themselves into a free, sovereign, and independent body politic, or state by the name of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts." In his "Life and Works," Adams wrote:
- "There is, however, a peculiar sense in which the words republic, commonwealth, popular state, are used by English and French writers, who mean by them a democracy, a government in one centre, and that centre a single assembly, chosen at stated periods by the people and invested with the whole sovereignty, the whole legislative, executive and judicial power to be included in a body or by committees as they shall think proper." 
After the adoption of the Constitution, the state has always been officially called The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, although residents commonly refer to it both as "the state" and as "the Commonwealth." For example, on March 22, 2005, one Boston Globe story said that opponents of a proposal saw it as "burdening the state with more law schools than it needs," while another published the same day noted that "the Commonwealth faces difficult spending choices."
Legal holidays observed
|January 1||New Year's Day|
|3rd Monday in January||Martin Luther King Day|
|3rd Monday in February||Washington's Birthday|
|March 17||Evacuation Day*|
|3rd Monday in April||Patriot's Day|
|Last Monday in May||Memorial Day|
|June 17||Bunker Hill Day*|
|July 4||Independence Day|
|1st Monday in September||Labor Day|
|2nd Monday in October||Columbus Day|
|November 11||Veteran's Day|
|4th Thursday in November||Thanksgiving Day|
Massachusetts has a reputation as being a politically liberal state, and is often used as an archetype of liberalism in the U.S. It is the home of the Kennedy family of political fame, and routinely votes for the Democratic Party in federal elections. As of 2005, it is by far the largest U.S. state represented by only one party in the U.S. Congress. Although Republicans have held the governor's office continuously from 1991 to the present, many of these (especially William Weld, the first of the recent lineage of Republican governors) are considered among the most progressive Republicans in the nation. Two of these governors, Paul Cellucci and Jane Swift took office when their predecessors resigned to take other positions.
The liberal tendencies of Massachusetts extend throughout American history: in the 19th century, Massachusetts was a center of abolitionism, having been the first state to abolish slavery by law. During the Colonial period, Massachusetts was one of the leading states in the fight for independence. Recently, Massachusetts has adopted electronic document formats for the government that have the specifications available, so the people will not have to lock themselves to a proprietary office suite to view government documents. The OASIS OpenDocument XML format and PDF formats have been approved.
In presidential elections, Massachusetts supported Republicans until 1912, from 1916 through 1924, in the 1950s, and in 1980 and 1984. From 1988 through 2004, Massachusetts has supported Democratic presidential candidates, giving native son John Kerry his largest margin of victory among states with a 25 percentage point margin and 61.9% of the vote. Every county in the Commonwealth supported the Democratic candidate.
On the other hand, during the first half of the 1900s Boston was quite socially conservative, and strongly under the influence of Methodist minister J. Frank Chase and his New England Watch and Ward Society, founded in 1878. In 1903, the Old Corner Bookstore was raided and fined for selling Boccaccio's Decameron. Howard Johnson's got its start when Eugene O'Neill's Strange Interlude was banned in Boston, and the production had to be moved to Quincy. In 1927, works by Sinclair Lewis, Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos, and Sherwood Anderson were removed from bookstore shelves. "Banned in Boston" on a book's cover could actually boost sales. Burlesque artists such as Sally Rand needed to modify their act when performing at Boston's Old Howard. The clean version of a performance used to be known as the "Boston version." By 1929, the Watch and Ward society was perceived to be in decline when it failed in its attempt to ban Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy, but as late as 1935 it succeeded in banning Lillian Hellman's play The Children's Hour. Censorship was enforced by city officials, notably the "city censor" within the Boston Licensing Division. That position was held by Richard J. Sinnott from 1959 until the office was abolished on March 2, 1982. In modern times, few of such puritanical social mores persist.
Defamation of the Commonwealth
In 2002, Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania partially blamed the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal on Boston saying "...it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm." These remarks resurfaced in July of 2005 when an editorial in the Boston Globe republished Santorum's comments. Although he was heavily criticized for his remarks, Santorum not only refused to apologize, but, on August 1, 2005 he complained that Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry of Massachusetts "did nothing" about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in 2002. "They spoke nothing. They sat by and let this happen," Santorum said.
During the 2004 Presidential Election, Massachusetts was the target of many GOP regionalist attacks along the campaign trail. When informed that the Democratic National Convention would be in Boston, House Majority Leader Dick Armey remarked, "If I were a Democrat, I suspect I'd feel a heck of a lot more comfortable in Boston than, say, America." While campaigning in the western part of the country, President Bush would often jab, "My opponent says he's in touch with the West, but sometimes I think he means Western Massachusetts." The stump speech that he used at many of his campaign stops included many such remarks directed at Massachusetts and New England in general.
Contemporary political issues
Following a November 2003 decision of the state's Supreme Court, Massachusetts became the first state to issue same-sex marriage licenses on May 17, 2004. See the articles on same-sex marriage in the United States and same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.
Famous politicians and public figures
- John Adams, 1st Vice President of the U.S., 2nd President of the U.S., 1800 Federalist presidential nominee
- John Quincy Adams, Congressman, Senator, 6th President of the U.S.
- Samuel Adams, Patriot in the American Revolutionary War
- George H. W. Bush, 43rd Vice President of the U.S., 41st President of the U.S.
- Calvin Coolidge, 29th Vice President of the U.S., 30th President of the U.S.
- Michael Dukakis, Governor, 1988 Democratic presidential nominee
- Benjamin Franklin, Patriot in the American Revolutionary War
- Elbridge Gerry, Congressman, Governor, 5th Vice President of the U.S., namesake of gerrymandering
- John Hancock, Governor, President of the Continental Congress
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Supreme Court Justice
- James Michael Curley, Governor, Congressman, Mayor of Boston
- Edward M. Kennedy, incumbent U.S. Senator, 1980 Democratic presidential candidate
- John F. Kennedy, U.S. Senator, 35th President of the U.S.
- Robert F. Kennedy, U.S. Senator (representing New York), 1968 Democratic presidential candidate
- John F. Kerry, Lt. Governor, incumbent U.S. Senator, 2004 Democratic presidential nominee
- Tip O'Neill, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
- Theodore Sedgwick, President pro tempore of the Senate, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
- Paul Tsongas, U.S. Senator, 1992 Democratic presidential candidate
- Henry Wilson, U.S. Senator, 18th Vice President of the U.S.
Massachusetts cities, towns and counties
The incorporation of land
In many other states, a town is a compact incorporated area. Between the towns are unincorporated areas, usually quite large, that do not belong to any town. Instead, the state is completely apportioned into counties. County governments have significant importance, particularly to those living outside towns, and often perform major functions such as operating airports.
In contrast, all of the land in Massachusetts is divided up among the cities and towns and there are no "unincorporated" areas or population centers. This complicates comparisons with other states, as most residents identify strongly with the town or city in which they reside, and not with the "populated places" as defined and used in the U.S. Census Bureau, which in most data products considers towns to be minor civil divisions, equivalent to townships in other states (usually with much weaker forms of government). However, many Massachusetts residents also identify with neighborhoods, villages, or other districts of their towns.
The city/town distinction
Massachusetts law maintains a distinction between "cities" and "towns." The largest town in population is Framingham. Politically, the only difference between a town and a city is that a town is governed under the Town Meeting or Representative Town Meeting form of government, whereas a city has a city council (and may or may not have a mayor, a city manager, or both). This distinction dates to the 1820s; prior to that, all municipalities were governed by Town Meeting. Out of fifty cities in the Commonwealth, there are now eleven that are legally cities and have city councils, but retained "Town of…" in their names. These cities are: Agawam, Amesbury, Barnstable, Easthampton, Franklin, Greenfield, Methuen, Southbridge, Watertown, West Springfield, and Weymouth. They are legally styled "the City Known as the Town of X."
Limits to municipal government
Massachusetts has a very limited home rule mechanism— to exercise jurisdiction outside of these bounds, a municipality must petition the General Court for special legislation giving it that authority.
Massachusetts municipalities are subject to a budgetary law known as "Proposition 2½", by which they may not increase expenditures by more than 2½% per annum without the approval of the voters in a plebiscite.
The growing abolition of counties
By the 1990s, most functions of county governments (including operation of courts and road maintenance) had been taken over by the state, and most county governments were seen as inefficient and outmoded. The government of Suffolk County was substantially integrated with the city government of Boston more than one hundred years ago, to the extent that the members of the Boston city council are ex officio the Suffolk County Commissioners, and Boston's treasurer and auditor fulfill the same offices for the county. Thus, residents of the other three Suffolk County communities do not have a voice on the county commission, but all the county expenses are paid by the city of Boston.
The government of Nantucket County, which is geographically coterminous with the Town of Nantucket, is operated along similar lines— the town selectmen (executive branch) act as the county commissioners.
Mismanagement of Middlesex County's public hospital in the mid 1990s left that county on the brink of insolvency, and in 1997 the Massachusetts legislature stepped in by assuming all assets and obligations of the county. The government of Middlesex County was officially abolished on July 11, 1997. Later that year, the Franklin County Commission voted itself out of existence. The law abolishing Middlesex County also provided for the elimination of Hampden County and Worcester County on July 1, 1998. This law was later amended to abolish Hampshire County on January 1, 1999; Essex County on July 1 of that same year; and Berkshire County on July 1, 2000. Chapter 34B of the Massachusetts General Laws allows other counties either to abolish themselves, or to reorganize as a "regional council of governments", as Hampshire and Franklin Counties have done. The governments of Bristol, Plymouth, and Norfolk Counties remain substantially unchanged. Barnstable and Dukes Counties have adopted modern county charters, enabling them to act as efficient regional governments.
Prominent cities and towns
There are 50 cities and 301 towns in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, grouped into 14 counties. Municipalities of historical or cultural prominence include:
Education and research
The central role of education
Massachusetts contains only 2.5% of the U.S. population, but is home to many of its most renowned preparatory schools, colleges, and universities (see full list of colleges and universities in Massachusetts). Eight Boston-area institutions (Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis, Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, Tufts, and UMass/Boston) are recognized research universities; in the eyes of many they became engines of economic growth following World War II, and currently contribute $7 billion annually to the local economy . The population of metropolitan Boston surges noticeably during the school year due to the concentration of colleges and universities in the area (see list of colleges and universities in metropolitan Boston).
Prominent colleges and universities
According to U.S. News & World Report, five of the nation's top-50 national universities are located in Massachusetts: Boston College, Brandeis University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tufts University. Massachusetts is also home to five of the nation's top-50 liberal arts colleges : Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Wellesley College and Williams College.
Massachusetts is known for having one of the best public school systems in the nation. It has one of the lowest high-school dropout rates in the nation and is tied with New Jersey for having the 2nd highest percentage of students who go on to college after high-school. It is also one of the highest scoring states on advanced placement tests.
- Volleyball Hall of Fame (Holyoke)
For historical context, see:
- Bond, C. Lawrence, Native Names of New England Towns and Villages Translating 145 Names Derived from Native American Words, privately published by Bond, Topsfield, Massachusetts, 1991
- State web site
- Maps of Massachusetts
- Information on every Massachusetts city and town
- Massachusetts Obituary Links Page
- GenealogyBuff.com - Massachusetts Library of Files
- Historic descriptions of Massachusetts cities, towns, mountains, lakes, and rivers
|The Commonwealth of Massachusetts|
The Berkshires | Blackstone River Valley | Cape Ann | Cape Cod and the Islands | Greater Boston | Merrimack Valley | MetroWest | North Shore | Pioneer Valley | Quabbin Valley | South Shore | Western Massachusetts
Agawam | Amesbury | Attleboro | Barnstable | Beverly | Boston | Brockton | Cambridge | Chelsea | Chicopee | Easthampton | Everett | Fall River | Fitchburg | Franklin | Gardner | Gloucester | Greenfield | Haverhill | Holyoke | Lawrence | Leominster | Lowell | Lynn | Malden | Marlborough | Medford | Melrose | Methuen | New Bedford | Newburyport | Newton | North Adams | Northampton | Peabody | Pittsfield | Quincy | Revere | Salem | Springfield | Somerville | Southbridge | Taunton | Waltham | Watertown | West Springfield | Westfield | Weymouth | Woburn | Worcester
|Towns||For the complete list of the 301 towns, see: List of towns in Massachusetts.|
|Political divisions of the United States|