The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state located in the New England region of the North Eastern United States, bordering the states of Rhode island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, Vermont and New Hampshire to the north and the Atlantic ocean in the east.Boston is its capital city.
The state of Massachusetts had been a cradle of liberty’;it was the first state to recognise the abolition of slavery;it has many things to its credit in the evoution and growth of democracy in the US.
It was one of the 13 original colonies and was the 6th state to ratify the constitution.It was admitted to the Union as the sixth state of US on February, 6 th, 1788.Therefore, naturally you may be inquisitive to know more about the State of Massachusetts;legally known as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts it was explored in the late 16th and 17th centuries
When you consider the question Who founded Massachusetts?’, you have to travel backwards to the early days of colonial settlement in the United States, in the 16 th and 17 th century
Quest for religious freedom and quest for becoming rich through trade and commerce were the important factors that played a predominant role in founding the colony of Massachusetts. Besides, the immigrants also had to encounter climatic changes in the new world, especially in the winter season, sometimes stiff resistance from the native people and sometimes their co-operation, forcing them to migrate from one place to another;at times the emigrants were even forced to return back to their own mother country.
Massachusetts was originally inhabited by several Algonquian tribes like the Wampanoag, Nauset, Nipmuc, Pocomtuc,Punacook, Mahican, Massachusett and some Narrajan and Pequot tribes.Early white explorers encountered Algonquian Indians in the region of Massachusetts.The first Europeans to reach the area were probably vikings.In the early 1400s, French and Spanish fishermen might have engaged in fishing in the coast of New England.
The first English explorer in Massachusetts was Barthlomew Gosnold in the year 1602.
Religious factors that led to the colonisation of Massachusetts:
Settlement in Plymouth by the Pilgrims:
The early settlers were called as Pilgrims’ that included many separatists or independants; They were known as separatists because they had serious differences with the English church.They at first fled to Holland, from there, they proceeded towards the new world. In the meanwhile,they also obtained permission to settle in the British colony of Virginia and began their voyage towards North America, in September, 1620 on a ship called the Mayflower’ The team approximately consisted of 100 members that included adults and children.
After spending two stormy months on the North Atlantic ocean, they arrived at Cape Cod, 100 miles North of Virginia.
They prepared a written document called May Flower Compact’ that stated their desire to establish a community,submit to its laws and the expression of their free will.’ The Mayflower Compact is known as the precursor of the U.S Constitution.
They settled at nearby Plymouth’ on December,21, 1620.Therefore, their early settlement was known as Plymouth’
The refugees who arrived in North America were not inured to the onset of winter.Hence, within months after their arrival, half of the settlers died.However, when spring came, they heaved a sigh of relief.The survivors built adequate houses and learnt from the native Americans how to grow indigenous food crops.By 1621, the Pilgrims were so prosperous and they spared their time to thank God for his blessings.Thus developed the thanks giving holiday’in the U.S.More immigrants arrived, so that in less than 15 years, the population at Plymouth was more than 2000.
During the next ten years following the coming of the Pilgrims in 1620, there were made many conflicting land-grants in New England and so various scattered settlements sprang up in the neighbourhood of Plymouth.
Those settlements were:
1.Waymouth was founded in the year 1622 as part of Plymouth colony.It becamse a part of Massachusetts Bay colony in the year 1630.
2.Gloucestor was founded by the Dorchestor company in the year 1623.
3.Chalsea was founded in the year 1624.
4.Charlestown was founded in the year 1628 which was at first became capital and then became a part of Boston.
5.Lyan was founded in the year 1629.
6.Manchester by the sea was founded in the year 1629.
7.Boston was founded in the year 1630.
8.Watertown was founded in the year 1630 and it was on land then and became a part of Cambridge.
9.Cambridge was founded as a new town in the year 1630.
10.Roxberry was founded in the year 1630 and then it became a part of Boston.
11.Dorchester was founded in the year 1630.
12.Ipswich was founded in the year 1633.
13.Hingham was founded in the year 1633.
14.Concord was founded in the year 1635.
15.Newbury was founded in the year 1635.
16.Arlington was founded in the year 1635.
17.Sandwich was founded in the year 1637.
18.Salisbury was founded in the year 1638.
19.Sadbury was founded in the year 1639.
20.Braintree was founded in the year 1640. It was founded as part of Cahrlestown and was incorporated separately in the year 1649.
21.Andover now known as North Andover was founded in the year 1646.
22.Marlborough was founded in the year 1660
23.Meudor was founded in the year 1667.
The Establishment of Massachusetts Bay Colony’ by the Puritans:
In 1620 the old Plymouth Company secured a charter and was henceforth known as the council for New England.Sir Ferdinando Garges was its leading member.This charter was for the vast territory between the fortieth and fortieighth degrees of latitude, known as New England.This company, in the year 1628, in its efforts to found new colonies made grant lands to six men whose leader was John Endicott, who was to play a prominent part in the early history of Massachusetts.He went to the New World followed by 60 men and joined with a small settlement already established in the name of Salem.
The Puritans wanted a religious freedom;but they did not find favour both with King James I and King Charles and his Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud.Hence disillusioned with the political situation as well as the religious persecution,puritans were extremely uncomfortable in England.Hence, they began their exodus to the New World by securing a Charter in March,1629.The Charter confirmed the land grant of 1628 given to the Plymouth Company, namely from three miles south of the Charles river to a point three miles of the Merrimac, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean.This new company was named as Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay in New England.The government was placed in the hands of the governor, deputy Governor and eighteen assistants to be elected annually by the company.
The Charter of 1629 essentially differred from the Charter of Virginia of 1612; while the latter provided for the seat of administration in England, the former specifically omitted it.This omission had far reaching effects in the New England and it ignited the spirit of of self-reliance as well as self-governance.That was why Massachusetts had been the cradle of liberty’ The puritans having been uncomfortable with the English Church had decided through Cambridge Agreement’ to migrate to Massachusetts and the seat of the government should also be transferred to them to the Massachusetts in the New World. The Massachusetts Bay Company agreed to these proposals and John Winthrop was made the governor and Thomas Dudely was to be the deputy governor.A party of three hundred was sent to Salem to join with John Endicott and in April, 1630, John Winthrop, with a large company, sailed towards the New World.
Winthrop brought with him the charter and in the process of combining the company and the colonists into one body occurred.The second step was admitting the colonists as freemen to the membership in the company. Thus the company ceased to be a private comercial trading company and became a body politic and a self-governing community.
After sometime, John Winthrop founded a town called Boston.New Town, then Cambridge, serving as the seat of the government was soon replaced by Boston as the seat of the government. Meanwhile, Roxbury, Charlestown, Watertown, Dorchester and other towns were founded.
The growing prosperity of Massachusetts and its Charter, though a subject of envy and complaint for the King of England, they were not disturbed by him as he was preoccupied with internal political strifes as he had to encounter opposition to save his own position.Hence, gradually Massachusetts became an independent colony.Frequent change of government, distance and lack of modern communication facilties were other factors that facilitated its growth and self-reliance.
Massachusetts grew and prospered and by 1660 it became a powerful commonwealth. It was the Massachusetts Bay colony and its success around Boston and Salem areas which would come to dominate the New England region in population and economic strength. The Massachusetts Bay Colony also gave its name to the Province of Massachusetts’, when it absorbed Plymouth and other neighbouring colonies in the year 1691-92.
In the year 1692, Massachusetts became a Royal colony.
Thus Massachusetts was founded and developed into a great and powerful colony.