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A Tour of Massachusetts History and Trivia

All underlined entries in the text are links to other historical people, places or events.
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| Introduction | Original Inhabitants | Notable Events | Presidents | Facts About Massachusetts |
| Colleges & Universities | State Official Symbols | Site Map | Site Menu |


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[Up - .1K] [Spacer] INTRODUCTION [Spacer] [Down - .1K]

The name Massachusetts comes from Algonquian Indian words that mean the great mountain, an apparent reference to the tallest of the Blue Hills, a recreation area south of the town of Milton. Massachusetts is nicknamed the "Bay State", for the early settlement on Cape Cod Bay. Like other New Englanders, Bay Staters are popularly referred to as Yankees. (Not if they are Red Sox fans!)

Much of the American heritage is embodied in Massachusetts. The windswept seacoast of this small northeastern state may have been the first part of what is now the United States seen by Europeans. The Mayflower colonists who reached Plimoth (Plymouth) in December 1620 (in the words of Governor William Bradford) found it "fitt for shipping; and marched into ye land, & found diverse cornfields, & little running brooks, a place fitt for situation".These Pilgrims were refugees from religious persecution that had already driven them to another alien land. The English-speaking colony they founded became the New World's hub of liberty and culture, its cradle of commerce and industry.

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[Up - .1K] [Spacer] ORIGINAL INHABITANTS [Spacer] [Down - .1K]

Original inhabitants included:
Nauset, Algonquian Indians formerly living on Cape Cod, Massachusetts;
Massachuset, a North American Indian tribe that formerly lived in Massachusetts; and
Wampanoag, powerful Algonquian Indian tribe whose proper territory was the peninsula on the east shore of Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, and the adjacent parts of Massachusetts but whose chiefs ruled a much larger territory.

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[Up - .1K] [Spacer] NOTABLE EVENTS IN MASSACHUSETTS HISTORY [Spacer] [Down - .1K]

For over three hundred years, Massachusetts has led the nation and the world:

In Massachusetts the concept of popular government quickly took substance and the first free public schools were founded. Among the many American institutions and practices introduced in Massachusetts were the town meeting form of self-government, the first regular newspapers, and the first private academies. Harvard, founded at Cambridge in 1636, was the first American College. The first celebration of Thanksgiving Day was celebrated at Plymouth. Massachusetts was also the scene of the notorious witch hunts and trials in Salem during the late 17th century.

The heightened ideals of the Massachusetts people made their colony the tinderbox of the American Revolution. The first martyr killed in the cause of independence was a runaway slave, Crispus Attucks, who fell on the Boston Common in 1770.   Boston Harbor was the stage for the famous Tea Party (1773) that defied British tax laws. The opening shots of the conflict that created the United States were fired on Massachusetts soil in Lexington and Concord, and at Bunker Hill.

Read the Chronological List for a summary of "Famous Firsts In Massachusetts" and other noteable events in Massachusetts history.

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[Up - .1K] [Spacer] PRESIDENTS FROM MASSACHUSETTS [Spacer] [Down - .1K]

The second and sixth presidents of the new nation came from the same Massachusetts family: John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams.  Other presidents elected from Massachusetts include the 30th president, Calvin Coolidge and the 35th president, John F. Kennedy. In 1988, both major presidential candidates were Massachusetts-born: the Democratic governor, Michael S. Dukakis, was defeated by George H. W. Bush.

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[Up - .1K] [Spacer] FACTS ABOUT MASSACHUSETTS [Spacer] [Down - .1K]

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts entered the Union on February 6, 1788, as the sixth state. It is governed under its original constitution, which was adopted in 1780. Boston (also known as "The Hub" and "Beantown") became the capitol city of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1632. It has served as the state capitol since 1780.

The chief executive officer is the governor, elected for a four-year term. An interesting fact to know and tell: There have been 12 Democratic and 14 Republican Governors of Massachusetts since 1914, a virtual 50-50 split. This is pretty remarkable when you consider that many people view Massachusetts as a Democratic political stronghold.

The legislature, called the General Court, consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The judiciary is headed by the Supreme Judicial Court, consisting of seven justices.

Despite its industrial orientation and the location of corporate headquarters for many businesses in the state, Massachusetts is a popular state for visitors.  Tourism is a major industry. The state's scenic and recreational attractions are many, ranging from the low, sandy beaches of Cape Cod to the wooded Berkshire Hills of the west. The chief seaside resort areas are Cape Ann, the north shore (between Cape Ann and Boston), Cape Cod, and the offshore islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. All along the coastline dotted with fine harbors swimming, boating, and fishing are popular. Inland, the areas along the Mohawk Trail, which have long been a magnet for artists, are a summer and winter playground.

Many visitors are drawn to the historic and cultural richness of Massachusetts. Through-out the state, and especially in Boston and the other coastal cities and towns, the past is preserved for the future in historic buildings, monuments, museums, and libraries.

Massachusetts ranked 13th in population as of the 1990 census with 6,029,051 residents. The state covers an area of 8,257 square miles, with 431 square miles of water surface. Elevations range from 3,491 feet (Mount Greylock near North Adams) to sea level along the shoreline. The geographic center is in the northern part of the City of Worcester.

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[Up - .1K] [Spacer] MASSACHUSETTS COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES [Spacer] [Down - .1K]

The chief state-supported school is the University of Massachusetts,with branches in Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell, and Worcester. Harvard, in Cambridge, was the first American College. Other notable schools include Northeastern University and Boston University, both in Boston; Boston College, in Chestnut Hill; Brandeis University, in Waltham; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge; Tufts University, in Medford; College of the Holy Cross, in Worcester; Clark University, in Worcester; Smith College, in Northampton; Springfield College, in Springfield; Wellesley College, in Wellesley; Mount Holyoke College, in South Hadley; Williams College, in Williamstown; American International College, in Springfield; and Amherst College, in Amherst.  Over one hundred colleges, universities, and teaching hospitals are located in Massachusetts, including an extensive network of State Colleges.

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[Up - .1K] [Spacer] MASSACHUSETTS STATE OFFICIAL SYMBOLS [Spacer] [Down - .1K]

| Top of Page | Flag | Seal | Song | Poem | Bird | Flower | Tree | Vessel | Other | Site Menu |

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[Up - .1K] [Spacer] The STATE FLAG [Spacer] [Down - .1K]

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The Massachusetts flag was two-sided from 1908 to 1971. The current flag (above) bears the arms of the state on a white field. The arms show an American Indian holding a bow and arrow and a white star in the upper left of the shield. The state motto appears below it. The other side of the former flag had a green pine tree on a blue shield. The pine tree had been a traditional symbol of the state since the founding of the original colony.

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[Up - .1K] [Spacer] The STATE SEAL [Spacer] [Down - .1K]

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The state seal of Massachusetts has remained essentially the same since 1780, though details changed and were standardized in 1898. The arms, as on the state flag, include a crest (an arm holding a sword) and a ribbon with the state motto Petit Placidam Sub Libertate Quietem (By the Sword We Seek Peace, but Peace Only Under Liberty).

(You can see another "State Seal" here.)

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[Up - .1K] OFFICIAL POEM:
"Blue Hills of Massachusetts"
by Katherine E. Mullen.

OFFICIAL SONG:
"All Hail to Massachusetts"
Words & Music by Arthur J. Marsh.
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OFFICIAL BIRD:
Black-Capped Chickadee
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OFFICIAL FLOWER:
Mayflower


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[American Elm]
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OFFICIAL TREE:
American Elm

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[Schooner Ernestina]

Tom Wells Painting
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OFFICIAL VESSEL:
The Schooner Ernestina
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[Up - .1K] [Spacer] OTHER OFFICIALDOM [Spacer] [Down - .1K]

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| Rocks & Minerals | Food | Site Menu |

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[Up - .1K] [Spacer] MEMORIALS [Spacer] [Down - .1K]

KOREAN WAR MEMORIAL:
Korean War Memorial in Charlestown

MIA/POW MEMORIAL:
Massachusetts National Cemetery MIA/POW Memorial

VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL:
Worcester Vietnam Veterans Memorial

SOUTHWEST ASIA WAR VETERANS MEMORIAL:
Worcester Southwest Asia War Veterans Memorial

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[Up - .1K] [Spacer] MUSIC & DANCE [Spacer] [Down - .1K]

PATRIOTIC SONG:
" Because of You Our Land Is Free"
Words & Music by Bernard Davidson.
CEREMONIAL MARCH:
"The Road to Boston"
Composer unknown.
FOLK SONG: "Massachusetts"
Words & Music by Arlo Guthrie.
FOLK DANCE: "Square Dance"
Danced by four couples arranged in a square.
POLKA: " Say Hello To Someone From Massachusetts"
Written by Lenny Gomulka.
GLEE CLUB SONG: " The Great State of Massachusetts"
Words by George A. Wells, Music by J. Earl Bley.

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[Up - .1K] [Spacer] ANIMALS [Spacer] [Down - .1K]

[Tabby Cat]
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CAT: Tabby Cat
[Boston Terrier]
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DOG: Boston Terrier
[Cod]
FISH: Cod
[Wild Turkey]
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GAME BIRD: Wild Turkey
[Morgan Horse]
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HORSE: Morgan Horse
[Ladybug]
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INSECT: Ladybug
[Right Whale]
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MARINE MAMMAL: Right Whale
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REPTILE: Garter Snake

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[Up - .1K] [Spacer] PEOPLE [Spacer] [Down - .1K]

ARTIST: Norman Rockwell BLUES ARTIST: Taj Mahal
CHILDREN'S AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR:
Theodor Geisel/Dr. Seuss
CHILDREN'S BOOK:
"Make Way For Ducklings"
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FOLK HERO: Johnny Appleseed
HEROINE: Deborah Sampson INVENTOR: Benjamin Franklin

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[Up - .1K] [Spacer] ROCKS & MINERALS [Spacer] [Down - .1K]

FOSSIL: Dinosaur Track GEM: Rhodonite
BUILDING AND MONUMENT STONE: Granite ROCK: Roxbury Pudding Stone
EXPLORER ROCK: Dighton Rock HISTORICAL ROCK: Plymouth Rock
MINERAL: Babingtonite
SOIL: Paxton Soil Series

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[Up - .1K] [Spacer] FOOD [Spacer] [Down - .1K]

[Baked Beans] [Spacer]
BEAN: Baked Navy Bean
[Cranberry]
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BERRY: Cranberry
[Cranberry Juice] [Spacer]
BEVERAGE: Cranberry Juice
[Toll House]
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COOKIE: Chocolate Chip
[Boston Cream Donut]
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DONUT: Boston Cream Donut
[Corn Muffins]
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MUFFIN: Corn Muffin

and last, but by no means least, the official DESSERT:
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[Boston Cream Pie]
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Boston Cream Pie

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| Introduction | Original Inhabitants | Notable Events | Presidents |
| Facts About Massachusetts | Colleges & Universities | State Official Symbols | Site Map | Top of Page |

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(Major Source: Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia - 1996 Edition, © Compton's NewMedia Inc.)
Provided as a Public Service by the MassHome Directory of Massachusetts Web Sites.

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