History of Massachusetts

Massachusetts history begins with early European exploration and colonization. European settlement of Massachusetts began in the early 17th century. The Mayflower arrived on the shore of Massachusetts in 1620 in Plymouth. After some initial difficulties the settlement eventually prospered. Around this time in Massachusetts fishing and trading posts were established and in 1628 Salem became the center for the Puritan colony. In 1691 a new charter united Plymouth, Massachusetts and Maine and the original charter was abolished. The loss of the original charter was one of the events that sparked the witchcraft panic. It reached its climax in 1692 with the infamous Salem Witch Trials, an oft-spoken of aspect of Massachusetts history.

Several movements occurred in the history of Massachusetts from the Witch Trials on. There was discontent and revolution from roughly 1761 to 1776. In the history of Massachusetts the Embargo Act occurred in 1807, Maine was separated from Massachusetts in 1820 and the Eerie canal open in 1825. The social and religious reform movements of Unitarianism and transcendentalism were happening in the 1830's and 1840's and there was an anti-slavery crusade in the 1830's as well. The year 1860 in the history of Massachusetts saw Abraham Lincoln and the new republican party first elected by the people.

After the Civil War, in Massachusetts there was a boom is industrial expansion and the state financed many of the new railroads in the west and at the same time European immigrants were arriving in great numbers. Before the Civil War, according to the history of Massachusetts, French Canadians started arriving in the later 20th century followed by Portugese, Italian, Poles, Slavs, Russians and Scandinavians. English, Scots and Welsh became particularly influential in politics after following the immigrant influx in the 20th century.

The history of Massachusetts also includes a growth of cities which began the rise of industrialism on a much grander scale, and WW1 which created a major increase in industrial production. During WW2 industry moved forward even more and after the war the state just continued growing. In 1960 Senator John F. Kennedy was elected the 35th President of the United States. In the postwar era textile manufacturing was on the decline but the electronics industry began thriving and many skilled technicians from the Boston area prospered. During the 1980's Massachusetts advanced even more as the computer and electronics sector boomed. By the late 1980's a nationwide recession affected much of the Massachusetts economy but it bounced right back in the 1990's because of large growth in small high-tech companies. Today Massachusetts enjoys a thriving economy with tourism being one of the top contributors.

Massachusetts historical sites can be found all over the region and include Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower at Plymouth near New Bedford, Emily Dickinson House in Amherst, Memorial Hall Museum which was constructed in 1798 for Deerfield Academy, Springfield Armory National Historic Site, John F. Kennedy Birthplace National Historic Site in Brookline and many found scattered across the state.

Massachusetts historical sites found around Boston and Cambridge include African Meeting House where AntiSlavery Society was founded in 1832, the Boston Massacre Site found along Freedom Trail, Bunker Hill Monument, Copp's Hill Burial Ground, Faneuil Hall built in 1742, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and Paul Revere House. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of fascinating historical sights and monuments in tribute to Massachusetts history that paint a vivid picture of just how far Massachusetts has come, and what the state has gone through since it was first settled.

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