Massachusetts Bay

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Massachusetts Bay
Cape Cod Bay map.png
Bays of Massachusetts
Location United States
Coordinates Coordinates: 42°22′30″N 70°44′58″W / 42.37500°N 70.74944°W / 42.37500; -70.74944
Ocean/sea sources Atlantic Ocean
Basin countries  United States

Massachusetts Bay is a bay on the Atlantic Ocean that forms part of the coastline of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The bay extends from Cape Ann on the north to Plymouth Harbor on the south, a distance of about 42 miles (68 km). Its northern and southern shores incline toward each other through the entrance to Boston Harbor, where they are about five miles apart. The depth from the base of the triangle to Boston Harbor is about 21 miles (34 km). The westmost point of the bay is at the city of Boston.

The northern shore of Massachusetts Bay is rocky and irregular, but the southern shore low, marshy, and sandy. Along the shores are a number of capes and headlands, and off the coast a number of small islands, especially in the entrance to Boston Harbor. The principal inlets are: on the north coast, Gloucester Harbor, Nahant Bay, Salem Harbor, Marblehead Harbor, and Lynn Harbor, and on the west, Boston Harbor, Dorchester Bay, and Quincy Bay (the two latter being part of the Outer Boston Harbor), and on the south coast, Hingham Bay. Massachusetts Bay is itself part of the Gulf of Maine, which extends from Nova Scotia south to Cape Cod Bay. Cape Cod Bay is sometimes considered to be part of Massachusetts Bay. Under this interpretation, the name "Massachusetts Bay" denotes the entire rectangular area of ocean between Cape Ann and Cape Cod.

Massachusetts Bay gave its name to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, one of the two predecessor colonies of the current state of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Bay, Quincy Bay, Narragansett Bay, Buzzards Bay, and Cape Cod Bay are the bays of Massachusetts that give the state the nickname "the Bay State".[citation needed]

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