Massachusetts History

US History – The Revolutionary War, Boston & Plymouth Pilgrims

Visit Massachusetts and discover the history of the United States of America. Massachusetts is rich in American History. The state’s historic sites are popular attractions and visitor destinations. Discover the true birthplace of the American Revolution in Massachusetts. Ask us about visiting Massachusetts or share comments. To feature your MA business, contact us.

MA History & US Historic Sites

Massachusetts Map
The Founding of MASSACHUSETTS – The Beginning
Settlement began in 1620 when the Pilgrims landed at a point they named Plymouth, after the place from which they left in England. John Carver was the first governor and only survived one year in the new colony. William Bradford was the second governor; under his supervision, the colony became more stable. Creating trading posts and large farms the Puritans expanded, creating more small villages. Eager for the chance to study scripture, the Puritans founded the Boston Latin School in 1635 and Harvard in 1636. In 1647 a law was put in place for the requirement of elementary schools in towns with a population of 50 or more.

The Native Americans were very resistant to the Puritans, resulting in a few wars. The Pequot War of 1637 resulted in the formation of the New England Confederation, the first voluntary union of American colonies. This confederation proved to be strong in defending their land during King Philip’s War. During the French and Indian wars, some settlements were destroyed, however, some good did come from the war.

Realizing the great distance from their mother country, America didn’t feel so dependent on Britain for troops by the end of the wars. Becoming more concerned with their own problems and investing more in their own land, they began to think as American rather than British citizens.

In 1691, a new charter united Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth into a single royal colony of Massachusetts. Church membership and a test for voting were abolished through this charter, thus Congregationalism was the established religion. William Phips was the governor of the new royal colony and did nothing. Consequently, during Governor Phip’s watch, the Salem Witch Trials took place; the governor had no comments or concerns except when his wife was accused.

Massachusetts History - Statue of Paul Revere in Boston

The American Revolution
The years between 1760 to 1780 is when the revolution started to take shape. Boston was the center of the revolution; when what began as a rock-throwing incident against British soldiers ended in the shooting of five Bostonian men. This pivotal event, now known as the Boston Massacre, combined with oppressive taxation from the motherland, sparked extreme anger towards the British and events quickly escalated into the Revolutionary War.

The next pivotal event leading to the Revolutionary War occurred when a boat of British-taxed tea arrived in Boston Harbor and a group of men calling themselves the Sons of Liberty dumped all the tea off the boat and into the harbor in protest. Known today as the Boston Tea Party, this act of rebellion set, even more, events into motion. The British were upset with Massachusetts and punished them by closing the port of Boston and reducing self-government.

On February 9, 1775, the British declared Massachusetts to be in a state of rebellion and sent a military force to the colony. Upon the troops’ arrival, Paul Revere made his famous “One if By Land, Two if By Sea” ride to warn residents. With the entire city of Boston strongly opposed to the presence of the British military, the British troops were forced to relocate their base camps to Concord, Massachusetts.

This is where the “shot heard ’round the world” was fired. Today, this battle is known as the Battle of Lexington and Concord. With gaining strength, the British troops pushed forward to Boston. It wasn’t until General George Washington took charge of the Revolutionary troops in 1776 that things started to turn around for America.

When Washington acquired a heavy cannon, the British made their retreat. The fighting officially ended on July, 4th 1776 when the United States signed its Declaration of Independence.
US Historic Sites – Massachusetts


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