Massachusetts, officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, one of the states of New England. It is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east and southeast, Rhode Island and Connecticut on the south, and New York on the west. North of Massachusetts lie Vermont and New Hampshire. Boston is the capital and largest city of Massachusetts. Massachusetts entered the Union on February 6, 1788, as the sixth of the original 13 states. When still a colony, it had become an important intellectual center, known for Harvard College and the cultural institutions of Boston. Many events in Massachusetts, including the Stamp Act riots (1765), the Boston Massacre (1770), and the Boston Tea Party (1773), were precursors to the American Revolution (1775-1783).
The first battles of the revolution were fought in Massachusetts, and its role in colonial history can be seen in the many well-preserved landmarks in such historic places as Plymouth, Boston, Lexington, and Concord. Once the nation’s fishing and commercial capital, Massachusetts later pioneered in the fields of education, medicine, and social welfare. By the 19th century the state developed into an important manufacturing center, producing textiles and footwear; in the mid-20th century, electronic components and other high-technology items became leading manufactures.
Massachusetts is famous for its summer resorts, such as the sand beaches of Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and from its long irregular shoreline to the rolling Berkshire Hills the state offers a variety of opportunities to those seeking recreation. The name of the state is probably derived from that of an Algonquin village. Massachusetts is called the Bay State after Massachusetts Bay, the site of the Puritans’ colony. Those early settlers from Europe provide the state with other nicknames, including the Pilgrim State and the Puritan State. Encarta © "United States" © Emmanuel Buchot and Encarta
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