Massachusetts Facts

Massachusetts is a New England state and one of the original 13 colonies. If you’ve heard of the Mayflower, the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere, or the Boston Massacre, then you know that Massachusetts has played a major part in U.S. history.

Today, the state is known for its colonial landmarks, scenic landscapes, and picturesque villages. Plus, it’s home to Harvard University and the Boston Red Sox!


Quick Facts

  • Capital: Boston
  • Population: 7 million
  • Nickname: The Bay State
  • Key Cities: Boston, Springfield, Salem, Cambridge, Plymouth, Worcester
  • Postal Abbreviation: MA
  • Major Industries: Life sciences, finance, information technology, manufacturing, renewable energy


  • How did Massachusetts get its name: Massachusetts was named after the natives who lived in the area, the Massachusett. The tribe’s name means “near the great hill,” which refers to the Blue Hills southwest of Boston.
  • Date admitted to the Union: Wednesday, February 6, 1788


  • Size: 10,565 sq. miles
  • Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean at sea level
  • Highest point: Greylock at 3,491 feet
  • Counties: 14
  • Famous locations: Freedom Trail, Cape Cod, Minute Man National Historical Park, Faneuil Hall, Martha’s Vineyard, Harvard Square

Famous Bay Staters

  • John Adams-president
  • John Quincy Adams- president
  • Samuel Adams- patriot
  • Susan B. Anthony- women’s rights activist
  • Uma Thurman- actress
  • Mark Wahlberg- actor
  • Eliza Dushku- actress

Fun Facts

  • Not only has Massachusetts played an important part in U.S. history, but it’s also played an important part in the history of sports! Basketball was invented in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891 by a man named James Naismith. Just four years later, volleyball was invented in Holyoke, Massachusetts by William G. Morgan. At the time, he called the sport “Mintonette.”
  • The first phone call in history was made in Boston on March 10, 1876. The inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, called his assistant Thomas Watson in the next room and said, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.”
  • Webster, Massachusetts is home to Webster Lake, but that’s not its real name. Officially, the lake is called Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. The name is a loose translation of an Algonquian word that means “English knifemen and Nipmuck Indians at the boundary or neutral fishing place.” It’s the fifth longest word in the world. Now say it five times fast!


  • Massachusetts has also played an important role in the history of desserts. The first U.S. chocolate factory was built in a Boston neighborhood, and the chocolate chip cookie was invented in 1930 at the Tollhouse Restaurant in Whitman, Massachusetts. And Quincy, Massachusetts is home to the first Dunkin Donuts.
  • The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621.

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