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Portal:Massachusetts

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Massachusetts Listeni/ˌmæsəˈsts/, officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is the 7th smallest, but the 14th most populous and the 3rd most densely populated of the 50 United States, and has the United States' sixth highest GDP per capita.

Massachusetts has played a significant historical, cultural, and commercial role in American history. Plymouth was the site of the colony founded in 1620 by the Pilgrims. Harvard University, founded in 1636, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Protestant First Great Awakening originated from the pulpit of Northampton, Massachusetts preacher Jonathan Edwards. In the late 18th century, Boston became known as the "Cradle of Liberty" for the agitation there that led to the American Revolution. In 1786, a populist revolt led directly to the Constitutional Convention. Before the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the temperance, transcendentalist, and abolitionist movements. In the late 19th century, basketball and volleyball were invented in Springfield and Holyoke, respectively. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legally recognize same-sex marriage.

Originally dependent on fishing, agriculture, and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts' economy shifted from manufacturing to services. In the 21st century, Massachusetts is a leader in higher education, health care technology, high technology, and financial services.

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Selected article

An aerial view of the MIT main campus
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific, engineering, and technological education and research.

Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, the institute adopted the European polytechnic university model and emphasized laboratory instruction from an early date. MIT's early emphasis on applied technology at the undergraduate and graduate levels led to close cooperation with industry. Curricular reforms under Karl Compton and Vannevar Bush in the 1930s re-emphasized basic scientific research. MIT was elected to the Association of American Universities in 1934. Researchers were involved in efforts to develop computers, radar, and inertial guidance in connection with defense research during World War II and the Cold War. Post-war defense research contributed to the rapid expansion of the faculty and campus under James Killian. MIT has a strong entrepreneurial culture. The aggregated revenues of companies founded by MIT alumni would rank as the eleventh-largest economy in the world.

MIT has kept pace with and helped to advance the digital age. In addition to developing the predecessors to modern computing and networking technologies, students, staff, and faculty members at Project MAC, the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and the Tech Model Railroad Club wrote some of the earliest interactive computer video games like Spacewar! and created much of modern hacker slang and culture. Several major computer-related organizations have originated at MIT since the 1980s: Richard Stallman's GNU Project and the subsequent Free Software Foundation were founded in the mid-1980s at the AI Lab; the World Wide Web Consortium standards organization was founded at the Laboratory for Computer Science in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee; and the One Laptop per Child initiative to expand computer education and connectivity to children worldwide was launched in 2005.

Selected biography

Ted Kennedy (date unknown)
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. He was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and was the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history, having served there for almost 47 years. As the most prominent living member of the Kennedy family for many years, he was also the last surviving son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.; the youngest brother of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, both victims of assassination; and the father of Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy. Kennedy was known for his charisma and oratorical skills. His 1968 eulogy for his brother Robert and his 1980 rallying cry for modern American liberalism were among his best-known speeches. He became recognized as "The Lion of the Senate" through his long tenure and influence. More than 300 bills that Kennedy and his staff authored were enacted into law. Unabashedly liberal, Kennedy championed an interventionist government emphasizing economic and social justice, but was also known for working with Republicans to find compromises between senators with disparate views.

Selected location

Menemsha, a fishing village on the island
Martha's Vineyard is an island located south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Often called just "The Vineyard," the island is the 58th largest island in the United States and the third largest on the East Coast of the United States. Originally inhabited by the Wampanoag, Martha's Vineyard was known in their language as Noepe, or "land amid the streams." In 1642 the first English settlement on the island began at Great Harbor, now in Edgartown, Massachusetts. The Vineyard was also home to one of the earliest known deaf communities in the United States; consequently, a special sign language, Martha's Vineyard Sign Language, developed on the island.

Today Martha's Vineyard is primarily known as a summer colony, and is accessible only by boat and air. However, its year-round population has grown considerably since the 1960s. The estimated year-round population is 15,000 residents; however, the summer population can swell to over 100,000 people. About 56% of the Vineyard’s 14,621 homes are seasonally occupied. The island was chosen as the filming location for the 1975 blockbuster film Jaws.


Selected picture

Seven of the 1937 American League All-Star players, including Boston Red Sox players Joe Cronin and Jimmie Foxx
Credit: Harris & Ewing (1937)

Seven of the 1937 American League All-Star players, including Boston Red Sox players Joe Cronin and Jimmie Foxx

State facts

Location of Massachusetts in the United States
Location of Massachusetts in the United States
Atlas showing the location of the major urban areas and roads in Massachusetts
Atlas of Massachusetts with Greater Boston highlighted

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