Massachusetts – U.S. state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. Approximately two-thirds of the state's population lives in Greater Boston, most of which is either urban or suburban. In the late 18th century, Boston became known as the "Cradle of Liberty" for the agitation there that led to the American Revolution and the independence of the United States from Great Britain. Massachusetts is also home to Harvard University, the oldest institution of higher learning in the U.S., founded in 1636.
The form of Massachusetts government is provided by the Constitution of the Commonwealth. The legislative power is exercised by the bicameral General Court, composed of the Senate and House of Representatives. The executive power generally is exercised by the Governor, along with other independently elected officers, the Attorney General, Secretary of the Commonwealth, and Auditor. The judicial power is reposed in the Supreme Judicial Court, which superintends the entire system of courts. Cities and towns also act through local governmental bodies that possess only the authority granted to them by the Commonwealth over local issues, including limited home rule authority. Most county governments were abolished in the 1990s and 2000s, although a handful remain.
The capital of Massachusetts is Boston. The seat of power is Beacon Hill, which is home to the legislative and executive branches. The Supreme Judicial Court occupies nearby Pemberton Hill.Index of Massachusetts-related articles
The following is an alphabetical list of articles related to the United States Commonwealth of Massachusetts.Massachusetts
Massachusetts ( (listen), ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island to the south, New Hampshire and Vermont to the north, and New York to the west. The state is named after the Massachusett tribe, which once inhabited the east side of the area, and is one of the original thirteen states. The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, which is also the most populous city in New England. Over 80% of Massachusetts's population lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry. Originally dependent on agriculture, fishing and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts's economy shifted from manufacturing to services. Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime trade.Plymouth was the site of the second colony in New England after Popham Colony in 1607 in what is now Maine. Plymouth was founded in 1620 by the Pilgrims, passengers of the Mayflower. In 1692, the town of Salem and surrounding areas experienced one of America's most infamous cases of mass hysteria, the Salem witch trials. In 1777, General Henry Knox founded the Springfield Armory, which during the Industrial Revolution catalyzed numerous important technological advances, including interchangeable parts. In 1786, Shays' Rebellion, a populist revolt led by disaffected American Revolutionary War veterans, influenced the United States Constitutional Convention. In the 18th century, the Protestant First Great Awakening, which swept the Atlantic World, originated from the pulpit of Northampton preacher Jonathan Edwards. In the late 18th century, Boston became known as the "Cradle of Liberty" for the agitation there that led to the American Revolution.
The entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts has played a powerful commercial and cultural role in the history of the United States. Before the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the abolitionist, temperance, and transcendentalist movements. In the late 19th century, the sports of basketball and volleyball were invented in the western Massachusetts cities of Springfield and Holyoke, respectively. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legally recognize same-sex marriage as a result of the decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Many prominent American political dynasties have hailed from the state, including the Adams and Kennedy families. Harvard University in Cambridge is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, with the largest financial endowment of any university, and Harvard Law School has educated a contemporaneous majority of Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. Kendall Square in Cambridge has been called "the most innovative square mile on the planet", in reference to the high concentration of entrepreneurial start-ups and quality of innovation which have emerged in the vicinity of the square since 2010. Both Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also in Cambridge, have been ranked among the most highly regarded academic institutions in the world. Massachusetts' public-school students place among the top tier in the world in academic performance, and the state has been ranked as one of the top states in the United States for citizens to live in, as well as one of the most expensive.Massachusetts statistical areas
The statistical areas of the United States of America comprise the metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), the micropolitan statistical areas (μSAs), and the combined statistical areas (CSAs) currently defined by the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Most recently on December 1, 2009, the Office of Management and Budget defined 1067 statistical areas for the United States, including one combined statistical area and six metropolitan statistical areas in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The table below shows the recent population of these statistical areas and the 14 counties of Massachusetts.Mount Greylock
Mount Greylock is a 3489-foot (1069 meter) mountain located in the northwest corner of Massachusetts, the highest point in the state. Its summit is in the western part of the town of Adams (near its border with Williamstown) in Berkshire County. Although technically it is geologically part of the Taconic Mountains, Mount Greylock is commonly associated with the abutting Berkshire Mountains to the east. The mountain is known for its expansive views encompassing five states and the only taiga-boreal forest in the state. A seasonal automobile road (open annually from late May through November 1) climbs to the summit, topped by a 93-foot-high (28 m) lighthouse-like Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower. A network of hiking trails traverse the mountain, including the Appalachian Trail. Mount Greylock State Reservation was created in 1898 as Massachusetts' first public land for the purpose of forest preservation.New England Colonies
The New England Colonies of British America included Connecticut Colony, the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the Province of New Hampshire, as well as a few smaller short-lived colonies. The New England colonies were part of the Thirteen Colonies and eventually became five of the six states in New England. Captain John Smith's 1616 work A Description of New England first applied the term "New England" to the coastal lands from Long Island Sound to Newfoundland.Outline of Boston
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Boston:
Boston – capital city and most populous municipality of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States. It is also the seat of Suffolk County, although the county government was disbanded on July 1, 1999. Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States, founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England. It was the scene of several key events of the American Revolution, such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Siege of Boston.Province of Massachusetts Bay
The Province of Massachusetts Bay was a crown colony in British America and one of the thirteen original states of the United States from 1776 onward. It was chartered on October 7, 1691 by William III and Mary II, the joint monarchs of the kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The charter took effect on May 14, 1692 and included the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Plymouth Colony, the Province of Maine, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick; the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the direct successor. Maine has been a separate state since 1820, and Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are now Canadian provinces, having been part of the colony only until 1697.
The name Massachusetts comes from the Massachusett Indians, an Algonquian tribe. It has been translated as "at the great hill", "at the place of large hills", or "at the range of hills", with reference to the Blue Hills and to Great Blue Hill in particular.