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Notable Events in Massachusetts History  
  • 1602.  Bartholomew Gosnold explores coast.
  • 1604.  Samuel de Champlain explores and maps coast.
  • 1606.  James I grants charter to Plymouth Company to colonize Northern Virginia.
  • 1614.  Capt. John Smith maps coast.
  • 1620.  Plymouth Company reorganized as Council for New England. Pilgrims land; found Plymouth; elect John Carver governor.
  • 1621.  Pilgrims celebrate the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth.
  • 1628.  John Endecott founds Puritan settlement in what is now Salem.
  • 1629.  Massachusetts Bay Company chartered.
  • 1630.  Dorchester founded.  John Winthrop and group of settlers establish Boston.
  • 1632.  Boston made capital of Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  • 1634.  Boston Common became the first public park in America.
  • 1635.  The first American public secondary school, Boston Latin Grammar School, founded in Boston.
  • 1636.  Harvard, the first American College, founded in Newtowne (now Cambridge).
    The people of America could now earn a Bachelors degree.
  • 1639.  First commercial printing press in English-speaking North America set up in Cambridge by Stephen Daye.
  • 1639.  The first free American public school, the Mather school, founded in Dorchester, a neighborhood of Boston.
  • 1643.  Puritan colonies form New England Confederation to oppose Dutch and Indian attacks.
  • 1643.  The first American ironworks established in Saugus.
  • 1653.  The first American public library founded in Boston.
  • 1675-76.  King Philip's War brings Indian attacks on settlers.
  • 1684.  Massachusetts charter annulled.
  • 1686.  Dominion of New England established.
  • 1691.  Massachusetts granted new charter; becomes royal colony including Maine and Plymouth.
  • 1692.  Witchcraft trials begin in Salem.
  • 1704.  The first regularly issued American newspaper, The Boston News-Letter, published in Boston.
  • 1716.  The first American lighthouse built in Boston Harbor.
  • 1770.  British troops shoot colonists in Boston Massacre.
  • 1773.  Boston Tea Party dumps tea into bay.  Colonists at Faneuil Hall, in Boston, oppose taxes.
  • 1775.  The first battle of the American Revolution fought in Lexington and Concord.
  • 1775.  The first ship of the U.S. Navy, the schooner "Hannah", commissioned in Beverly.
  • 1776.  Colonial troops force British to evacuate Boston.
  • 1780.  State constitution adopted; John Hancock becomes first elected governor.
  • 1786-87.  Shays's Rebellion occurs.
  • 1788.  Massachusetts is sixth state to ratify the United States Constitution on Feb. 6, 1788.
  • 1789.  The first American novel, William Hill Brown's The Power of Sympathy, published in Worcester.
  • 1795.  State House built in Boston.
  • 1796.  John Adams, born 1735 in Quincy, elected 2nd president of United States.
  • 1796.  Horace Mann, often called the Father of American public school education, was born in Franklin, Massachusetts on May 4th.
  • 1806.  The first church built by free blacks in America, the African Meeting House, opened on Joy Street in Boston.
  • 1820.  Maine separated from Massachusetts.
  • 1822.  Lowell set up as factory town.  Boston chartered.
  • 1824.  John Quincy Adams, born 1767 in Quincy, elected 6th president of United States.
  • 1826.  The first American railroad built in Quincy.
  • 1831.  The first abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator, published in Boston by William Lloyd Garrison.
  • 1833.  Constitutional amendment separates church and state; ends Puritanism in government.
  • 1837.  State Board of Education established under leadership of Horace Mann.
  • 1839.  The first vulcanized rubber produced by Charles Goodyear in Woburn.
  • 1845.  The first sewing machine made by Elias Howe in Boston.
  • 1846.  The first public use of ether anesthetic demonstrated in Boston.
  • 1863.  University of Massachusetts chartered at Amherst.
  • 1866.  The first African-American legislators in New England elected to the General Court.
  • 1875.  The first American Christmas card printed by Louis Prang in Boston.
  • 1876.  The first telephone demonstrated by Alexander Graham Bell in Boston.
  • 1886.  The first transformer demonstrated by William Stanley in Great Barrington.
  • 1891.  The first basketball game played in Springfield.
  • 1892.  The first successful gasoline-powered automobile perfected by Charles and Frank Duryea in Springfield.
  • 1895.  The first volleyball game played in Holyoke.
  • 1896.  The first American public beach established in Revere.
  • 1897.  The first successful American subway system opened in Boston.
  • 1914.  Canal links Cape Cod Bay with Buzzards Bay.
  • 1920.  Governor Calvin Coolidge elected vice-president; becomes 30th president of United States in 1923.
  • 1920-27.  Sacco-Vanzetti case gains world attention.
  • 1926.  The first successful liquid fuel rocket launched by Dr. Robert Goddard inAuburn.
  • 1928.  The first computer, a non-electronic "differential analyzer," developed by Dr. Vannevar Bush of M.I.T. in Cambridge.
  • 1944.  And, not to be outdone by M.I.T., Howard Aiken of Harvard developed the first automatic digital computer.
  • 1957.  Massachusetts Turnpike opened.
  • 1960.  John F. Kennedy, born 1917 in Brookline, elected 35th president of United States; assassinated 1963.
  • 1961.  The first nuclear-powered surface vessel, USS Long Beach CG(N)9, launched at Quincy.
  • 1966.  Edward W. Brooke is first black elected to United States Senate by popular vote.
  • 1974.  Busing program to integrate Boston public schools sparks white boycotts and violent demonstrations.
  • 1988.  Governor Michael Dukakis signs bill guaranteeing health insurance to all state residents.  Construction begins on 6-billion-dollar sewage-treatment project to clean up Boston Harbor.  Voters reject proposal to shut down the state's two nuclear power plants.  Dukakis becomes Democratic nominee for president of the United States.
  • 1997.  [Smiley - .12K] MassHome™ introduces a comprehensive online directory of web sites in Massachusetts.  Public acclaim dubs the site as the "unofficial home page for the Commonwealth".
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Some entries provided by Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia.
© 1994, 1995 Compton's NewMedia, Inc.  All Rights Reserved

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