State: Massachusetts – MA

Published on August 6th, 2015 | by Brandon Ramsey in Geography


While the official name is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this state is located in the New England region of the United States, which is situated in the northeastern region. This place has a long and rich history in the roots of America, which is why we’ll be discussing its contributions in great detail.

We’ll also discuss the geography and climate of this place. Before we dive in though, here are some things to know about MA:

  • State Capital: Boston
  • Admitted: February 6th, 1788 (6th state)
  • State abbreviation: MA
  • Time Zone: Eastern UTC -5/-4
  • State Birds: Black-capped Chickadee, Wild Turkey
  • Flower: Mayflower
  • Fish: Cod
  • Insect: Ladybug
  • State Song: “All Hail to Massachusetts”
  • State Flag
  • Official website: Mass.gov

map of Massachusetts in the United States

MA State Overview

Situated in the northeastern United States, this state is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut in the south, New York to the west, Vermont and New Hampshire to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. It is the 7th smallest state in terms of land area, but it’s the 3rd most densely populated. There are two major areas: the Greater Boston area in the east and the Springfield metropolitan area in the west.

Two-thirds of the total population lives in the Greater Boston area. Massachusetts has played a major role in shaping the history, culture, and commerce of the 50 U.S. States.  For example, Plymouth was the site of the first New England colony. Harvard university, first founded in 1636, is the oldest higher learning institution in the U.S.

The town of Salem was known for being the site of mass hysteria during the Salem witch trials. In the final decades of the 18th century, Boston was known as the “Cradle of Liberty” where frustrations led to the American Revolution and the ultimate independence of the United States from Great Britain.

Both basketball and volleyball were invented here in the 19th century as well. MA was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004. While it was originally dependent on fishing, trade, and agriculture, the industrial revolution turned it into a manufacturing state.

map of Massachusetts

The History of Massachusetts

Prior to colonization, the area was home to various tribes of the Algonquian language. These included the following:

  • Wampanoag
  • Narragansett
  • Nipmuc
  • Pocomtuc
  • Mahican
  • Massachusett

Contact was first made in the early 1600’s which led to massive epidemics of smallpox, measles, influenza, and others. In just two years, between 1617 and 1619, 90% of the native population was killed by smallpox. The first settlers came in 1620 aboard the Mayflower. This was the second colony after the Jamestown Colony.

The Puritans sought a new beginning in North America and founded their colony under a royal charter in 1629. The religious factors led to other colonies being founded elsewhere in New England. Several colonies merged in 1691 into the Province of Massachusetts Bay. The new governor arrived and the Salem witch trials took place shortly after that.

During these trials, several men and women were hanged after being accused of practicing witchcraft. When talk of independence began, it started in this place. For a long time the colonists had a rough relationship with Great Britain. Protests against taxation from the motherland led to the Boston Massacre in 1770 when an unknown protester caused the soldiers to open fire on a crowd of citizens.

This led to the Boston Tea Party in 1773 which was responded with the Intolerable Acts from Britain that increased tensions with the colonists. Samuel Adam and John Hancock were major players in sparking the American Revolution in 1775.

The battles of Lexington and Concord were the first of the revolution. After these battles, George Washing took command of the Continental Army. After the war, there was an armed uprising from 1786 to 1787 known as Shay’s Rebellion, which was led by a veteran of the revolution named Daniel Shays. The rebellion’s ultimate goal was to seize the U.S. Federal Armory at Springfield. After it was quelled, the territory moved for a stronger constitution than the Articles of Confederation that were currently in use.

On February 6, 1788, Massachusetts ratified the United States Constitution and became the sixth state. In 1820, as a result of the Missouri Compromise, Maine separated into it’s own as the 23rd state. In the 19th century, MA was a huge influence in the American Industrial Revolution. Factories popped up in Lowell and Boston that manufactured shoes and textiles.

Other factories appeared making tools and paper as well. This helped transition the economy to an industrial focus. Leading up to the civil war, there was a surge of progressivism and abolitionist activities. The school system model set forth by Horace Mann was implemented state-wide, and both Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson became major contributors to American philosophy.

There were plenty of oppositions in the form of riots and the like. Continued focus on abolitionist beliefs led to a slow opposition to slavery. MA became the first state to recruit, train, and arm a black regiment with white officers called the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

Climate and Geography

This is the 7th smallest state in the U.S. with an area of 10,555 square miles. The coast is shaped by several large bay and despite the small size, there are a number of geographical features. Most of the population resides in the coastal pain of the Atlantic Ocean in the Greater Boston area.

This eastern portion of the state is also where you’ll find the distinctly shaped Cape Cod Peninsula. To the west of this is the hilly region of Central MA, and beyond that is the Connecticut River Valley. The western border houses the Berkshire Mountains range.

There are twelve national historic sites, along with several other protected locations including the Cape Cod National Seashore, and the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.

The climate is a humid continental type. It has warm summers and cold, snow-filled winters. The state has about 50 inches of rainfall per year, distributed relatively evenly across the area. Winters are less extreme on the coast as well where most of the population can be found. Hurricanes, thunderstorms, and tornadoes are all possible and happen sporadically throughout the year.

Final Thoughts

There is still plenty more to discover in our Massachusetts state facts, but don’t forget to leave a comment and tell us what you know about this amazing state where liberty was born.

printable map of Massachusetts



About the Author
Brandon Ramsey

Brandon Ramsey is the head author and editor of The Time Now Blog. Be sure to follow us via social media!


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