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Portal:Massachusetts

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Introduction

Flag of Massachusetts.svg

Massachusetts (/ˌmæsəˈsɪts/ (About this sound listen), /-zɪts/), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by 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. The capital of Massachusetts and the most populous city in New England is Boston. 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 first colony in New England, 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.

Selected article

Burnside’s Bridge, a contested site at the Battle of Antietam
The 21st Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment in the Union Army during the American Civil War. It was organized in Worcester, Massachusetts and mustered into service on August 23, 1861.

After garrison duty at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, the regiment served with the Coast Division commanded by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside. The Coast Division was deployed in January 1862 for operations on the coast of North Carolina, and participated in the Battle of Roanoke Island and the Battle of New Bern among other engagements. Burnside's division was recalled to Virginia in July 1862. The 21st Massachusetts was then attached to the Army of the Potomac and participated in several of the largest battles of the Civil War, including the Second Battle of Bull Run, the Battle of Antietam, and the Battle of Fredericksburg. The most devastating engagement of the war for the 21st was the Battle of Chantilly, fought on September 1, 1862, during which the unit suffered 35 percent casualties. From March 1863 to January 1864, the 21st served with Burnside in the Department of the Ohio, seeing action in Kentucky and eastern Tennessee. In May 1864, the regiment rejoined the Army of the Potomac, participating in Lt. Gen. Ulysses Grant's Overland Campaign and the Siege of Petersburg. The regiment was a favorite of Clara Barton, the famed battlefield nurse, who was also from Worcester County, Massachusetts.

By the end of its three years of service, the 21st Massachusetts had been reduced from 1,000 men to fewer than 100. Those of the 21st who chose to re-enlist at the end of their initial three-year commitment were eventually consolidated with the 36th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

Selected biography

James Bowdoin (1748)
James Bowdoin II was an American political and intellectual leader from Boston, Massachusetts during the American Revolution. He served in both branches of the Massachusetts General Court from the 1750s to the 1770s. Although he was initially supportive of the royal governors, he opposed British colonial policy and eventually became an influential advocate of independence. He authored a highly political report on the 1770 Boston Massacre that has been described as one of the most influential pieces of writing that shaped public opinion in the colonies. From 1775 to 1777 he served as president of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress' executive council, the de facto head of the Massachusetts government. He was elected president of the constitutional convention that drafted the state's constitution in 1779, and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1780, losing to John Hancock. In 1785, following Hancock's resignation, he was elected governor. His harsh fiscal policy while in office contributed to Shays' Rebellion. In addition to his political activities, Bowdoin was active in scientific pursuits, collaborating with Benjamin Franklin in his pioneering research on electricity. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, and was a founder and first president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Selected location

Mount Greylock from the West Mountain Road
Mount Greylock is, at 3,491 feet (1,064 m), the highest natural point in Massachusetts. Its peak is located in the northwest corner of the state in the western part of the town of Adams, near its border with Williamstown, in Berkshire County. Although geologically part of the Taconic Mountains, Mount Greylock is commonly associated with the abutting Berkshire Hills to the east. The mountain is known for its expansive views encompassing five states and as the only taiga-boreal forest in the state. A seasonal automobile road climbs to the summit, where stands the iconic 93-foot-high (28 m) lighthouse-like Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower. A network of hiking trails traverse the mountain, including the 2,179-mile (3,507 km) Appalachian Trail. Mount Greylock State Reservation was created in 1898 as Massachusetts' first public land for the purpose of forest preservation. Among the writers and artists inspired by the mountain were Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Cullen Bryant, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Herman Melville, and Henry David Thoreau. Melville is said to have taken part of his inspiration for Moby-Dick from the view of the mountain from his house, Arrowhead.

Selected picture

Soldiers training at Camp Edwards in Barnstable County, Massachusetts
Credit: U.S. Army Signal Corps. (1942)

Soldiers training at Camp Edwards in Barnstable County, Massachusetts

State facts

Location of Massachusetts in the United States
Location of Massachusetts in the United States
Atlas showing the location of the major urban areas and roads in Massachusetts
Atlas of Massachusetts with Greater Boston highlighted

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USS Long Beach at sea

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State symbols

Colors Blue, Green, and Cranberry
Motto Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem
Song All Hail to Massachusetts
Bird Black-capped Chickadee
Tree American Elm
Flower Mayflower
Bug Ladybug
Mineral Babingtonite
Fish Cod
Beverage Cranberry Juice
Fossil Dinosaur Tracks
Soil Paxton Soil

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