Massachusetts, MA: history, population, rivers, lakes, mountains, resorts, hotels, motels, inns, and landmarks.

New England > Massachusetts


This ancient commonwealth, the mother of New England colonies, of free states, and of American liberty, was first permanently settled by Europeans, at Plymouth, on the 22d of December, 1620.

The history of this state is deeply interesting: it is interwoven with every political and moral event of important occurrence in the settlement and progress of the whole of North America, which preceded or was connected with the revolution of 1775.

The name of this state probably arose from the name of a tribe of Indians formerly at Barnstable; or from two Indian words—Mos and Wetuset; the former signifying an Indian arrow's head, the latter, Hill. It is stated that the Sachem who governed this region about the time of the landing of our forefathers, lived on a hill in the form of an Indian arrow's head, a few miles south of Boston, and was called by the Indians—Moswetuset.

Massachusetts is bounded east, southeast, and south by the Atlantic ocean. It has, exclusive of the island counties of Dukes and Nantucket, a sea-coast of about 250 miles. It is bounded south and west by the state of Rhode Island, about 68 miles; south by the state of Connecticut, 87 miles; west by the state of New York, 50 miles; north by the state of Vermont, 42 miles; and north by the state of New Hampshire, 87 miles. It lies between 41°31', and 42°53'N. lat., and 69°48', and 73°17'W. lon. from Greenwich. Its area is about 7,800 square miles, or 4,992,000 acres.

The state comprises 14 counties, to wit: Barnstable, Berkshire, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex, Norfolk, Nantucket, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester.

A trigonometrical and astronomical survey of the state, by order of the general court, for the purpose of a new map, was commenced in 1830, and will soon be completed. Surveys of the mineralogy, botany, zoology, and agriculture of the state have been commenced; some favorable reports have been made, and the researches of scientific men are continued, and promise great public usefulness.

The surface of the state is generally undulating. The most level parts are found in the counties of Plymouth, Barnstable, and Bristol. The Green and Taughkannic [Taconic] ranges of mountains pass through the western counties, but in few places are they remarkable for their elevation.

The soil of the state is well adapted to the growth of all the grasses, grains, fruits and vegetables common to a temperate climate. In no part of our country is agriculture more honored, or better understood and rewarded.

The resources of Massachusetts in its commerce, navigation, manufactures and fisheries are immense: they are stated under the counties and towns.

Although Massachusetts cannot boast of her navigable rivers and canals, to facilitate the commerce of her capital; yet she can boast of the most beautiful bay on the map of the western world; of her noble streams for water power; of her luxuriant vales, of her granite hills, of her ships, and the material for building them; and of her gallant sailors who traverse every sea, and who well understand the uses of the hook, harpoon and cannon.

Massachusetts Counties

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