Portal:Massachusetts

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Massachusetts Listeni/ˌmæsəˈsts/, officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is the 7th smallest, but the 14th most populous and the 3rd most densely populated of the 50 United States, and has the United States' sixth highest GDP per capita.

Massachusetts has played a significant historical, cultural, and commercial role in American history. Plymouth was the site of the colony founded in 1620 by the Pilgrims. Harvard University, founded in 1636, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Protestant First Great Awakening originated from the pulpit of Northampton, Massachusetts 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. In 1786, a populist revolt led directly to the Constitutional Convention. Before the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the temperance, transcendentalist, and abolitionist movements. In the late 19th century, basketball and volleyball were invented in Springfield and Holyoke, respectively. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legally recognize same-sex marriage.

Originally dependent on fishing, agriculture, and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts' economy shifted from manufacturing to services. In the 21st century, Massachusetts is a leader in higher education, health care technology, high technology, and financial services.

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Selected article

The USS Massachusetts, off the coast of Point Wilson, Washington
USS Massachusetts (BB-59), known as "Big Mamie" to her crewmembers during World War II, was a battleship of the second South Dakota class. She was the seventh ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the sixth state, and one of two ships of her class (along with her sister Alabama) to be donated for use as a museum ship. Among the ships armed with 16-inch (410 mm) guns during World War II, Massachusetts stands out because it is believed that she fired the US Navy's first and last 16 in (410 mm) shells of the war.

During World War II, Massachusetts was initially assigned to duty in the Atlantic Fleet, and exchanged shots with the Vichy French battleship Jean Bart during Operation Torch. Transferred to the Pacific fleet in 1943, Massachusetts participated in the Solomon Islands campaign and the Philippines Campaign, and in the latter campaign took part in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. In 1945 she was one of several ships assigned to shell targets on Honshū, the largest of the Japanese Home Islands. Following the end of World War II, Massachusetts was involved in routine operations off the US coast and eventually reassigned to the Atlantic fleet. Decommissioned in 1947, she was laid up in the reserve fleet at Norfolk, Virginia until stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in 1962.

In an effort to spare the battleship from scrapping, citizens of Massachusetts pooled resources to raise money for her transfer to the Massachusetts Memorial Committee, and in 1965 the Navy formally donated the battleship to the committee. Massachusetts was towed to Battleship Cove, Fall River, Massachusetts, and formally opened as a museum ship on 14 August 1965.

In the 1980s, when the Reagan administration, as part of its "600-ship Navy" plan, recommissioned all four of the Iowa-class battleships, the U.S. Navy recovered large amounts of specialized equipment and spare parts that were still in storage aboard Massachusetts. Despite being used as a parts cache to get the Iowa-class battleships back in service, Massachusetts was added to the National Register of Historic Places and was designated a National Historic Landmark on 14 January 1986.

Selected biography

Bill Russell (2011)
William Felton "Bill" Russell is a retired American professional basketball player who played center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA). A five-time winner of the NBA Most Valuable Player Award and a twelve-time All-Star, Russell was the centerpiece of the Celtics dynasty that won eleven NBA Championships during Russell's thirteen-year career. Russell is widely considered one of the best players in NBA history, and holds the record for the most championships won by an athlete in an American sports league. Russell was the first African American player to achieve superstar status in the NBA. He also served a three-season (1966–69) stint as player-coach for the Celtics, becoming the first African American NBA coach. Frequent battles with racism left Russell with a long-standing contempt for fans and journalists. When he retired, Russell left Boston with a bitter attitude, although in recent years his relationship with the city has improved. For his accomplishments in the Civil Rights Movement on and off the court, Russell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2011.

Selected location

The Framingham commons
Framingham is a New England town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. Sited on the ancient trail known as the Old Connecticut Path, the area was first settled when John Stone settled on the west bank of the Sudbury River in 1647. The town was officially incorporated in 1700. In 2012 Framingham was ranked at #36 on the list of 'Best Places to Live in US' by Money magazine.

In the years prior to the American Civil War, Framingham was an annual gathering-spot for members of the abolitionist movement. Each Independence Day from 1854 to 1865, the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society held a rally in a picnic area called Harmony Grove near what is now downtown Framingham. At the 1854 rally, William Lloyd Garrison burned copies of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, judicial decisions enforcing it, and the United States Constitution. Other prominent Abolitionists present that day included William Cooper Nell, Sojourner Truth, Wendell Phillips, Lucy Stone, and Henry David Thoreau. Framingham is also known for the Framingham Heart Study, a long-term, ongoing cardiovascular study on residents of the town.

Selected picture

Joseph E. Baker's 1892 lithograph, depicting the Salem witch trials
Credit: Joseph E. Baker (1892)

Joseph E. Baker's 1892 lithograph, depicting the Salem witch trials

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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