Massachusetts History - the history of Massachusetts
   
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Massachusetts   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Massachusetts History

   
 

Massachusetts History


Before the arrival of Europeans, the area that is today the state of Massachusetts was inhabited by various Algonquian-speaking Native American peoples including the Massachusett, the Pennacook, the Wampanoag, the Nauset, the Nipmuc, the Pocomtuc, the Mahican, the Narragansett and Mohegan. Sadly however, all these peoples were soon decimated by smallpox when Europeans first arrived in North America.

In 1620, the Pilgrims arrived from England on the Mayflower, establishing a colony at Plymouth. Like the Native Americans, the Pilgrims suffered from smallpox. They were however helped by the Wampanoags, and celebrated their first Thanksgiving with the Native Americans in 1621. The English settlers were known to the Native Americans, as Yengeeze (their pronunciation of "English"). This is the origin of the word "Yankee".

In the following decades, the Pilgrims were followed by Puritans, who established a colony at Boston, as well as Anglicans and Quakers. However there were religious tensions, with Quakerism banned, and four Quakers hanged on Boston Colony. The English colonies of Connecticut and Rhode Island were founded at this time by dissenters fleeing the lack of religious tolerance in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

In the reign of King James II of England, who was an outspoken Catholic, the Massachusetts Bay Colony's charter was annulled. A short-lived Dominion of New England was formed, but the Royal Governor was overthrown by the colonials. After James' overthrow, the Plymouth Colony and Massachusetts Bay Colony (Boston) were merged, and a new royal charter was granted in 1692.

1692 was also signalled the Salem witch trials. The trials lasted until May 1693, and resulted in the deaths of 20 people (14 women and 6 men), and the imprisonment of more than 150.

Massachusetts was an important location in the run-up to, and during the the American Revolution (1775 to 1783). Samuel Adams, John Adams, and John Hancock all came from the state, and Boston was the site of the Boston Massacre (1770) and the Boston Tea Party (1773). Additionally, the Battle of Lexington and Concord, and the Battle of Bunker Hill both took place within the state.

In the early 19th century, Massachusetts became a leader in industrialization. Textiles mills were established in Boston, and the United States' first commercial railroad, the Granite Railway, was established in 1826.

Immediately, following the American Revolution, Massachusetts had been the first state to assert that slavery was no longer permitted. In the first half of the 19th century, abolitionist sentiment and activity continued to grow within the state. As a result, Massachusetts was one of the first states to respond to President Lincoln's call for troops, and also was the first state to recruit a black regiment, the 54th Massachustts Volunteer Infantry.

In the early years of the 20th century, Massachusetts had a strong industrial economy, with Boston serving as the the second most important port in the country. The economy however began to falter during the 1920s, and the state was hit hard by the Great Depression that began in 1929.

After World War II, and a difficult transition period, Massachusetts gradually transitioned to a largely service and technology based economy. The state is also an important educational center, containing many nationally and internationally reknown colleges and universities, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.


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Massachusetts: A Concise History

By Richard D. Brown

Brand: Univ of Massachusetts Pr
Paperback (400 pages)

Massachusetts: A Concise History
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From the moment the first English colonists landed on the shores of Plymouth Bay, the experiences of the people of Massachusetts have been emblematic of larger themes in American history. The story of the first Pilgrim thanksgiving is commemorated as a national holiday, while the Boston Tea Party and Paul Revere's ride have passed into the national mythology. Even the grimmer aspects of the American experience―Indian warfare and the conquest of an ever expanding frontier―were part of the early history of Massachusetts. In this book, Richard D. Brown and Jack Tager survey the rich heritage of this distinctive, and distinctly American, place, showing how it has long exerted an influence disproportionate to its size. A seedbed of revolt against British colonial rule, Massachusetts has supplied the nation with a long line of political leaders―from Samuel and John Adams to William Lloyd Garrison and Lucy Stone to John, Robert, and Edward Kennedy. Its early textile mills helped shape the industrial revolution, while its experiences with urbanization, immigration, ethnic conflict, and labor strife reflected the growth of the national economy. In the twentieth century, the state continued to lead the country through a series of wrenching economic changes as it moved from the production of goods to the provision of services, eventually becoming a center of the high-tech revolution in telecommunications. If there is one common theme in the Bay State's history, Brown and Tager make clear, it is the capacity to adapt to change. In part this trait can be attributed to the state's unique blend of resources, including its many distinguished colleges and universities. But it can also be credited to the people themselves, who have created a singular sense of place by reconciling claims of tradition with the possibilities of innovation. This book tells their story.

Boston in the American Revolution: A Town versus an Empire (History & Guide)

By Brooke Barbier

The History Press
Released: 2017-03-06
Paperback (160 pages)

Boston in the American Revolution: A Town versus an Empire (History & Guide)
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In 1764, a small town in the British colony of Massachusetts ignited a bold rebellion. When Great Britain levied the Sugar Act on its American colonies, Parliament was not prepared for Boston's backlash. For the next decade, Loyalists and rebels harried one another as both sides revolted and betrayed, punished and murdered. But the rebel leaders were not quite the heroes we consider them today. Samuel Adams and John Hancock were reluctant allies. Paul Revere couldn't recognize a traitor in his own inner circle. And George Washington dismissed the efforts of the Massachusetts rebels as unimportant. With a helpful guide to the very sites where the events unfolded, historian Brooke Barbier seeks the truth behind the myths. Barbier tells the story of how a city radicalized itself against the world's most powerful empire and helped found the United States of America.

Massachusetts: Mapping the Bay State through History: Rare and Unusual Maps from the Library of Congress (Mapping the States through History)

By Vincent Virga

Brand: Globe Pequot
Hardcover (128 pages)

Massachusetts: Mapping the Bay State through History: Rare and Unusual Maps from the Library of Congress (Mapping the States through History)
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These books, produced from the archives of the Library of Congress and edited by Vincent Virga, offer a glimpse into the history of the United States through rare historical full-color maps, narrative captions, and short essays.

Ghosts of Salem: Haunts of the Witch City (Haunted America)

By Sam Baltrusis

The History Press
Released: 2014-08-12
Paperback (128 pages)

Ghosts of Salem: Haunts of the Witch City (Haunted America)
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Nestled on the rocky coast of Massachusetts, Salem is a city steeped in history and legend. Famous for its witch trials, the storied North Shore seaport also has a dark history of smugglers and deadly fires. It is considered one of New England's most haunted destinations. Inside Howard Street Cemetery, the ghost of accused witch Giles Corey wanders among the gravestones. Outside the Ropes Mansion, the ghost of Abigail Ropes can be seen peeking out of the windows. The Gardner-Pingree House on Essex Street is host to the spirit of sea captain Joseph White, a man whose murder in 1830 inspired literary giants like Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Join author and paranormal journalist Sam Baltrusis on a chilling journey through the streets of Salem as he chronicles the historic haunts of the Witch City.

History of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1630-1877, Volume 1

By Lucius R. Paige

Jazzybee Verlag
Paperback (376 pages)

History of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1630-1877, Volume 1
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The "History of Cambridge" was originally published in 1877. Besides the historical narrative in this volume, the second volume contains a very full and carefully compiled "Genealogical Register" of the early settlers and their descendants. These volumes are, in the most essential respects, models of what a town history should be. They contain the most important information obtainable from the sources then open to the author, and this is presented in a clear and concise narrative. In the estimation of those most competent to pass judgment, these volumes are authorities. But they are something more than authorities. They not only instruct; they inspire. Nobody deserves the privilege of growing up in this city who does not make himself familiar with these books. They are epitomes of the history, not only of this town, but of a good many other Puritan towns. It fills this place with memories of by-gone scenes and deeds which were precious to the people of those times, and are precious still to us, their descendants or successors.

Jamestown and the Massachusetts Bay Colony: The History and Legacy of the Settlement of Colonial New England and Virginia

By Charles River Editors

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (162 pages)

Jamestown and the Massachusetts Bay Colony: The History and Legacy of the Settlement of Colonial New England and Virginia
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*Includes pictures *Includes contemporary accounts of the colonies *Includes a bibliography for further reading John Smith is one of the most common names in the English language and akin to the use of John Doe, but every Briton and American is familiar with the explorer and mercenary Captain John Smith, who helped found the first permanent English colony in the New World at Jamestown in 1607. Jamestown is fondly remembered today for being the first permanent English settlement in the colonies, but it was not fondly remembered by those who lived and died there. The English quickly learned it would be difficult to establish a permanent settlement because of the poor weather, the swampy terrain, the hostile natives living nearby, and the general inexperience and ineptitude of the English settlers. During their first winter, everyone nearly starved, and more than half of the settlers died. By the end of the winter of 1609-1610, known as the “starving time”, barely 10% of the settlers were still alive. Nevertheless, Jamestown is remembered today because the settlement did survive through the hardships and go on to serve as the capital of the English colony for much of the 17th century. At the same time, one of the biggest reasons for its survival and fame today can be attributed to the local Native Americans, particularly Pocahontas, who has added both a human and romanticized, mythological element to Jamestown. She was the daughter of the paramount chief (mamanatowick) Powhatan, leader of an Algonquian-speaking native group in eastern Virginia. It was this group that Smith and the other English settlers came into contact with, and Smith credited her with saving him from being killed by the Native Americans. After that, Smith was able to establish relatively friendly relations and trade with the local inhabitants, ensuring Jamestown’s survival. Though the Virginian colonists had difficulty in the beginning, by the late 1620s the Chesapeake area was thriving, having become a haven for those seeking economic opportunity in the new world. Pressures in England were growing as King Charles I was on the throne. Though Charles I himself was an Anglican, many suspected him of Catholic sympathies, a suspicion not alleviated by Charles I marriage to a French Catholic princess. Many Protestants had a growing desire to practice their faith and conduct their lives away from the mother country, and sought refuge in a destination called New England. The land chosen by this group, who “could pay their own way across the Atlantic” in contrast to the poorer settlers of the Chesapeake region was “colder, less abundant, but far healthier” than Virginia. Ultimately, the men of the New England Company decided that the time had come to remove themselves from England, and to pursue their lives in the Americas. The Dorchester Company was founded by a group of investors with an interest in settlement in the New World. This settlement would be a for-profit venture, but it would have as its two main causes the spreading of the Gospel to the Indian population and the stop of the spread of Roman Catholicism in the American colonies. John White, the company’s leader, also wanted to compete with the separatists who had begun the Plymouth colony in 1620. Cape Ann, a promontory very near to Cape Cod was established by the Dorchester Company as an early settlement. The fishing was excellent, but Cape Ann proved unable to provide the farm goods needed to sustain the Puritan settlers who came to the New World. The Dorchester Company was dissolved, but investors seeking to salvage its aims formed the New England Company or Massachusetts Bay Company and secured a charter just before King Charles I dissolved the Parliament in 1629.

The History of Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts (Classic Reprint)

By Leonard Bliss

Forgotten Books
Paperback (306 pages)

The History of Rehoboth, Bristol County, Massachusetts (Classic Reprint)
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The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry into the Salem Witch Trials

By Marion L. Starkey

Anchor
Released: 1969-08-05
Paperback (310 pages)

The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry into the Salem Witch Trials
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This historical narrative of the Salem witch trials takes its dialogue from actual trial records but applies modern psychiatric knowledge to the witchcraft hysteria. Starkey's sense of drama also vividly recreates the atmosphere of pity and terror that fostered the evil and suffering of this human tragedy.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony: The History and Legacy of the Settlement of Colonial New England

By Charles River Editors

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (38 pages)

The Massachusetts Bay Colony: The History and Legacy of the Settlement of Colonial New England
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*Includes pictures *Profiles important figures like John Winthrop, Roger Williams, and others *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents The first successful American colony in North America was settled in 1607 at Jamestown, Virginia. Though the Virginian colonists had difficulty in the beginning, by the late 1620s the Chesapeake area was thriving, having become a haven for those seeking economic opportunity in the new world. Pressures in England were growing as King Charles I was on the throne. Though Charles I himself was an Anglican, many suspected him of Catholic sympathies, a suspicion not alleviated by Charles I marriage to a French Catholic princess. Many Protestants had a growing desire to practice their faith and conduct their lives away from the mother country, and sought refuge in a destination called New England. The land chosen by this group, who “could pay their own way across the Atlantic” in contrast to the poorer settlers of the Chesapeake region was “colder, less abundant, but far healthier” than Virginia. Alan Taylor sees this decision as one in “classic Puritan fashion”, citing one settler’s view: “If men desire to have a people degenerate speedily, and to corrupt their minds and bodies too...let them seek a rich soil, that beings in much with little labor; but if they desire that Piety and Godliness should prosper…let them choose a Country such as [New England] which yields sufficiency with hard labor and industry.” The Puritans who came to America were, therefore, primed for hard work, discipline and the independent life, unlike their English counterparts who “preferred Anglicanism and the traditional culture characterized by church ales, Sunday diversions, ceremonial services, inclusive churches, and deference to the monarch.” Ultimately, the men of the New England Company decided that the time had come to remove themselves from England, and to pursue their lives in the Americas. The Dorchester Company was founded by a group of investors with an interest in settlement in the New World. This settlement would be a for-profit venture, but it would have as its two main causes the spreading of the Gospel to the Indian population and the stop of the spread of Roman Catholicism in the American colonies. John White, the company’s leader, also wanted to compete with the separatists who had begun the Plymouth colony in 1620. Cape Ann, a promontory very near to Cape Cod was established by the Dorchester Company as an early settlement. The fishing was excellent, but Cape Ann proved unable to provide the farm goods needed to sustain the Puritan settlers who came to the New World. The Dorchester Company was dissolved, but investors seeking to salvage its aims formed the New England Company or Massachusetts Bay Company and secured a charter just before King Charles I dissolved the Parliament in 1629. The Massachusetts Bay Colony: The History and Legacy of the Settlement of Colonial New England profiles the history of the colony, as well as its most famous leaders and individuals. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about colonial New England like never before, in no time at all.

History of Hardwick, Massachusetts: With a Genealogical Register

By Lucius Robinson Paige

Scholar Select
Hardcover (52 pages)

History of Hardwick, Massachusetts: With a Genealogical Register
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This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

As a reproduction of a historical artifact, this work may contain missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant.



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