Skip links

Massachusetts (MA): State Guide and Fun Facts


When was Massachusetts Founded? 1630

Who Founded Massachusetts? John Winthrop

First settlers: Wampanoag, Nauset, Nipmuc, Pocomtuc, Mahican and Massachuset Indians

Square Miles: 10,555

US Rank: 44th largest state

State Flower: Mayflower

State Bird: Black-capped Chickadee

State Motto:
Latin: “Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem”
Translation: “By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty”

Capital City

Boston – The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, which is one of the first cities founded in the United States (in 1630) and the largest city in the state as well as New England. Historically, the city was an important site for many events that occurred during the American Revolution. It is home to a high concentration of colleges and universities and is well known at a leader in higher education, technology, research, engineering and biotechnology.

What is Massachusetts famous for?

1. Boston Tea Party This historic event was largely responsible for escalating the conflict between the British and American colonists, beginning the Revolutionary War. The event occurred on December 16, 1773 when Boston residents would not accept three ships full of taxed tea from Britain. Colonists threw the tea over the side of the ships, enraging the British.

2. Boston Red Sox/Fenway Park – Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox opened for the 1912 MLB season on April 20. Named after the area of Boston in which it is located, the first game played at Fenway was against the New York Highlanders (who later became the Yankees). The red sox won in extra innings, and the groundwork was laid for a rivalry that has lasted almost a century. The park remains one of the few small ballparks in the country that is nestled among residential downtown neighborhoods. All baseball fans agree, Fenway’s character is unparalleled by larger newer stadiums.

3. Birthplace of famous people – Massachusetts lays claim to being the birthplace for an enormous number of important historical figures. 18th century notables include John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Quincy Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere and Samuel Adams. 19th Century Americans born in Massachusetts include Susan B Anthony, Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman). More recent figures from Massachusetts include John F Kennedy, George Bush, Bette Davis and Christa McAuliffe.

What is Massachusetts’s economy?

1. Higher Education – As mentioned, Boston has a highly concentrated student population. The rest of the state has a number of colleges and universities as well.

2. Biomedical research and technology – Massachusetts is home to an extremely high concentration of biomedical research companies, pharmaceutical research facilities and healthcare centers. As many of the top biomed and healthcare colleges are located in and around Boston, it is natural that many of these graduates go on to work for top companies such as Genzyme and Boston Biomedical.

3. High Technology – In addition to being the home for some of the most brilliant biomedical minds, thousands of engineers from top universities such as MIT work for high technologies located within the “technology belt” the name given to the arc created by Route 128 around the outskirts of Greater Boston. Technology is responsible for a significant share of the revenue of Massachusetts.

 

Massachusetts Historical Landmarks

1. Paul Revere’s House – Nestled within the North End of Boston’s irrevocably quaint, narrow, rutted cobblestone streets lies the house of Paul Revere. In addition to its rich history as home to one of the American Revolutions most well known participants, the house has undergone a number of changes. In the 1800s it became a tenement and had retail shops on the lower level. The house remained as such for the majority of the 19th century. In 1902, Paul Revere’s grandson bought the house and began to restore it to its original condition.

2. Old North Church – Old North Church is the site of the infamous “one if by land, two if by sea” warning sent to Patriot soldiers in Charlestown, just outside of Boston. Due to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, Paul Revere’s Ride, many do not know the true story about the night. Robert Newman, the caretaker of Old North Church, was the man that climbed the stairs to the steeple of the church in the pitch black of the night. He held up two lanterns briefly to warn Patriot soldiers, however the British saw as well, and quickly approached the church to find out what they had seen. Newman narrowly escaped capture by sneaking out a window behind the altar.
The church is open for tours and regular services and remains one of Boston’s most prominent historical sites.

3. Union Oyster House – The restaurant, located in downtown Boston near historic Faneuil Hall, is the oldest continuously operated restaurant in the United States. It has been open since 1826, serving excellent seafood and a cold beer to locals and tourists. The building itself dates back to around 1704.
Side fun fact: The king of France lived above the restaurant in 1830 while in exile from his country.

4. USS Constitution – The ship, nicknamed “Old Ironsides” is the oldest remaining naval vessel in the United States. It was built in 1797 and its most important years were during the war of 1812 when she won many battles against British ships. The Constitution continued to be used as a training ship during the American Civil war a half-decade later, but shortly after that was retired.

Additional Resources