Information and Tourism
Massachusetts might well be one of the smallest states in America, but it is also one of the best known. Part of the New England group of states, it is bordered by Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Vermont and New Hampshire. Plymouth Rock was the first point of land to be settled by English pioneers, and many of its towns and cities bear names that can also be found in England, including, of course, Plymouth.
The role that Massachusetts has played in American history is impossible to ignore. It is, after all, known as the Pilgrim State. Of course, when those earliest settlers first set foot on land from their ship the 'Mayflower', Massachusetts was a very different place. In the 17th century, it was almost completely covered in forests. Nowadays, over three-quarters of its population live in cities, rather than the countryside.
Apart from being one of the 13 original pioneer American states, Massachusetts has influenced the shaping of the United States in many other ways throughout its long and eventful history. America's oldest institution of higher learning, Harvard, was founded here in Cambridge, nearby Boston, in the year 1636. Today, the state boasts over 120 further higher education institutions, including the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Massachusetts was made infamous thanks to the Salem Witch Trials that took place here in 1692. Thirteen women and five men were hanged because of their supposed use of an 'invisible astral spectrum' to torture their victims. The mass hysteria ended as quickly as it had begun.
In the late 1700s, Massachusetts became known as the 'Cradle of Liberty' for kick-starting events that eventually led to the American Revolution and US independence from its colonial masters. The state's island of Nantucket also once led the world's whaling industry - it even features in 'Moby Dick' by Herman Melville.
Today, Massachusetts is an important cultural center, home to orchestras and music extravaganzas, such as the Tanglewood Music Festival and the Boston Ballet.
Massachusetts Information and Fast Facts
- Country: USA
- Population: approximately 6.6 million
- Capital city: Boston
- Biggest city: Boston
- Biggest urban area: Boston Metropolitan Area
- Language: American English
- Area: 10,550 square miles / 227,330 square kilometers
WORLD GUIDES TO MASSACHUSETTS
World Guide to Boston, MA, USA
Boston, MA is a relatively compact city and most of the major places of interest are within walking distance of each other. An American travel magazine recently named Boston as the seventh most popular city in the world.
World Guide to Martha's Vineyard, MA, USA
Martha's Vineyard is a scenic island and part of Massachusetts (MA) state. Close to Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard is the New England's biggest island and features a number of scenic cycle trails, sandy beaches and conservation areas.
Map of Massachusetts