Nicknamed the Bay State, Massachusetts is rich in historical landmarks and breathtaking natural beauty. As one of the original 13 colonies, Massachusetts was known as a Commonwealth. It became one of the six New England states on February 6, 1888, adopting as its motto the words: "By the sword, we seek peace, but peace only under liberty."
The Mayflower pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620 and barely survived the first bitter winter, losing about half of their group to unbearable conditions of starvation or freezing weather.
Native American Indians taught the pilgrims how to grow corn and survive in the harsh wilderness. In November of their second year, they held a grand feast to celebrate the bounty of their crop, setting the stage for our national holiday called Thanksgiving.
In 1630, Boston was founded by Puritan colonists and soon became the economic, political, educational and religious center of New England, as well as Massachusetts' state capital. Tensions escalated between the colonists and British leaders over the subject of 'taxation without representation,' first played out in the Stamp Act of 1765.
Colonial merchants objected to paying duties on goods shipped from England. Smuggling increased, and the British tried to appease, then became more forceful in demanding that taxes be paid. In March 1770, colonial demonstrators were protesting outside the British custom house when British soldiers fired shots, and five civilians were killed. This is now known as the Boston Massacre.
When the King of England placed a tax on tea being shipped to Boston Harbor in 1773, the colonists rebelled, and the Boston Tea Party brought swift and cruel retribution from the British Crown. Boston Harbor was closed off by the British. Leaders of the 'Sons of Liberty,' including Samuel Adams and James Otis began a crusade for independence from Great Britain.
On April 18, 1775, British troops in Boston made their way to Concord to capture a stash of colonial ammunition, leading to Paul Revere's famous midnight ride to inform colonists 'The British are Coming.' Colonial 'Minutemen' gathered to ambush the British soldiers and on April 19, 1775, fighting broke out on Lexington Green. The British retreated under the intense colonial attack, and the Revolutionary War began.
Eight years later, the American colonists won their independence from Great Britain, and a new nation was born. Many Massachusetts landmarks have been preserved much as they were for posterity. People come to Massachusetts to see the Fanuiel Marketplace, Plymouth Rock, the Old South Meeting Hall, Minuteman National Historical Park in Concord, the Old State House in Boston (site of the Boston Massacre), and Lexington Green.
Preserving these (and other) historical sites are a top priority for Massachusetts citizens and for people nationwide who wish to view America's birthplace close up. Tourists appreciate the carefully preserved buildings and the immaculately tended lawns of historical sites.
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