National Massachusetts Day is on August 17, and it recognizes the second of 13 original New England colonies and the sixth state to join the Union. The state derives its name from the indigenous people who populated the area when the explorers (and later, the pilgrims) first arrived. Massachusetts is a particularly special state in the American history books because it’s where the Mayflower landed and the fight for independence from Great Britain was most hard-fought in the years following its addition to the Union. Today, we celebrate the expansion of the Union with the inclusion of Massachusetts.
History of National Massachusetts Day
The Mayflower, and the first pilgrims to the Americas, landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620, and after much strife and conflict with the local Wampanoag tribespeople, the Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded ten years later. Over the course of the state’s history, there have been several moments when it played a key role in making the America we know today. Without Massachusetts and its intellectual elite’s support, the very idea of taxation without representation may have remained an idea.
Also known as the Cradle of Liberty, Massachusetts was the venue for the Sons of Liberty’s establishment and the Boston Tea Party, both catalytic events in the build-up to the American Revolution. In 1775, the war for America’s freedom and independence from the British Empire and King George III began in Lexington and Concord, both towns in Massachusetts. Citizens of Massachusetts were staunch patriots and advocated for freedom from the tyranny of colonial rule, but the state is known for so much more than its patriotic voice.
After the American Civil War in 1865, Massachusetts lost a lot of its production capacity and fell from grace, so to speak. The advent of the first and second world wars saw a return to some level of productivity, but well into the late ‘70s, Massachusetts was plagued by deindustrialization and high unemployment rates. In the ‘80s, what is now known as the Massachusetts Miracle took place. Harvard University and MIT made major developments that led to a surge in technology-focused companies opening shop in the state, boosting the local economy and reinstating Massachusetts as a pillar of the American economy.
National Massachusetts Day timeline
English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold anchors off the coast of Massachusetts.
The Mayflower departs Plymouth, England, and sets sail for the New World, arriving and docking at Plymouth, Massachusetts.
The first slaves, imported directly from Africa, cross the Atlantic Ocean and arrive in Massachusetts.
Thomas Putman is born and will later become the ringleader of the Salem Witch Trials during a dark time in history.
Paul Revere famously rides to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to warn fellow Americans and colonists that the redcoats are coming.
Massachusetts has its borders redefined and is officially recognized as a state, part of the American Union.
National Massachusetts Day FAQs
Is National Massachusetts Day a real holiday?
Yes, it’s a real holiday, and an important one too.
Are the Boston Red Sox from Massachusetts?
Yes, Boston is located in Massachusetts and is the capital of the state. The Red Sox is based in Boston.
Where is Massachusetts?
Massachusetts lies on the East Coast of North America. It is located just south of Canada, below Maine, and north of New York.
How to Observe National Massachusetts Day
Use cranberries in everything
The cranberry is the Massachusetts state berry, and it goes with everything. Extremely versatile little things, you can start by making them into smoothies.
Visit a historic site
If there’s a historic site in your town or state, chances are Massachusetts had something to do with it. Especially if it references joining the union and rejecting King George III.
Take a trip to Massachusetts
If you live close enough, treat yourself to a memorable occasion visit to Massachusetts. Find out what all the fuss is about with this symbolic state. Don’t leave without visiting Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha’s Vineyard!
5 Interesting Things About Massachusetts
Massachusetts produces the second-largest quantity of cranberries, after Wisconsin, in America.
Let there be light
The first lighthouse ever built in America stands in Massachusetts today.
The cinema was outlawed
It was once illegal to visit cinemas in Massachusetts.
The birth of Thanksgiving
The first public Thanksgiving was hosted in Massachusetts in 1631.
Harvard; need I say more?
Harvard University was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1636, the oldest institution of higher learning in the U.S.
Why National Massachusetts Day is Important
We get to eat cranberries
We all love cranberries! An excuse to indulge in the special fruit is reason enough to love National Massachusetts Day.
A chance to celebrate history
Massachusetts, and its part in American history, is so important to acknowledge. The sacrifices that were made for America to become what it is today should never be forgotten.
The first-ever big middle finger to colonialism
The exit of the six New England Colonies signified a massive end to imperial rule and shifted the rules of colonial expansion. Massachusetts symbolizes the first time a nation stood by its guns, literally, to force its colonizer out.
National Massachusetts Day dates