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Massachusetts History Timeline

  • (1498) English explorer, John Cabot, sailed along Massachusetts coast
  • (1602) Bartholomew Gosnold explored coast; named Cape Cod due to codfish found in bay
  • (1604) Samuel de Champlain mapped coast
  • (1607) Three ships arrived from England with 104 men and boys; settlers named river James after the king; established Jamestown settlement
  • (1614) Capt. John Smith mapped coast
  • (1620) Mayflower arrived at Cape Cod; Pilgrims established settlement named Plymouth
  • (1621) Pilgrims signed treaty with Wampanoag Indians; celebrated first Thanksgiving
  • (1628) John Endicott established settlement at Salem
  • (1629) Masssachusetts Bay Company chartered
  • (1630) Boston founded; later named capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony
  • (1634) Boston Common first public park in U.S.
  • (1635) Roger Williams banished from Massachusetts due to religious disputes
  • (1636) Harvard College established
  • (1639) First Post Office in U. S. established in Boston at Richard Fairbanks' tavern; Mather School, first free public school founded
  • (1643) New England Confederation formed to oppose Indian and Dutch attacks
  • (1675) Settlers attacked by Indians during King Phillip's War
  • (1676) King Phillip's War ended
  • (1684) Massachusetts charter annulled
  • (1686) Oxford, first non-Puritan town established; Dominion of New England established
  • (1692) Massachusetts granted new charter, became royal colony with Maine and Plymouth; witchcraft trials held in Salem
  • (1716) First lighthouse in America, "The Boston Light" built in Boston Harbor
  • (1763) Indian wars ended
  • (1770) British troops fired on crowd at Custom House in Boston, killed five men
  • (1773) Boston Tea Party - Colonists threw tea into Boston Harbor in protest of high taxes
  • (1775) First battle of American Revolution fought at Lexington and Concord; Paul Revere made famous ride; first ship of U.S. Navy commissioned
  • (1776) British troops forced to evacuate from Boston by Colonial troops; first major victory of American Revolution; Massachusetts resident, John Hancock, first to sign Declaration of Independence
  • (1780) John Hancock became first elected governor; state constitution adopted
  • (1785) Rebellion of farmers led by Daniel Shay, protested excessive taxation, government systems, unfair treatment of working people
  • (1788) Massachusetts became sixth U S. state
  • (1796) John Adams, Quincy, became U. S. president
  • (1820) Massachusetts and Maine separated
  • (1824) John Quincy Adams, of Quincy, elected U. S. President
  • (1826) First American railroad built in Quincy
  • (1831) The Liberator, anti-slavery newspaper, published in Boston
  • (1833) Constitutional amendment separated church and state, Puritanism in government ended
  • (1837) Samuel Morse invented Morse Code
  • (1839) Charles Goodyear produced first vulcanized rubber in Woburn
  • (1840) Typewriter invented by Charles Thurber
  • (1845) Elias Howe invented sewing maching in Boston
  • (1846) Use of anesthesia surgery first demonstrated by dentist, Dr. William T. G. Morton, at Massachusetts General Hospital
  • (1850) First National Women's Rights Convention held in Worcester
  • (1860's) Massachusetts sent over 160,000 troops to battle in Civil War
  • (1876) Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated first telephone in Boston
  • (1877) Helen Magill White became first woman in U. S. to earn Ph.D. at Boston University
  • (1891) First basketball game played in Springfield; machine invented by James Henry Mitchell mass-produced first Fig Newton Cookies
  • (1897) First subway in America opened in Boston
  • (1903) First trans-Atlantic radio broadcast between President Theodore Roosevelt and King Edward VII of Great Britain at Marconi Station at Wellfleet
  • (1907) First motorized fire wagon developed by Knox Manufacturing Company
  • (1912) Textile workers went on strike in Lawrence
  • (1923) Calvin Coolidge became U. S. President
  • (1925) Edith Nourse Rogers first woman elected to U. S. House of Representatives; introduced GI Bill
  • (1942) Boston nightclub fire killed 492 people
  • (1947) Percy Spencer invented microwave oven; Edwin Land demonstrated Poloroid Land Camera; Dr. Sidney Farber introduced chemotherapy as cancer treatment
  • (1954) First medically successful kidney transplant was performed in Boston
  • (1957) Massachusetts Turnpike opened
  • (1960) John F. Kennedy became U. S. President
  • (1961) First nuclear-powered surface vessel launched at Quincy
  • (1963) President John F. Kennedy assassinated
  • (1966) Edward W. Brooke first black elected to U. S. Senate
  • (1974) Federal Court ordered integration of Boston schools; whites held boycotts and demonstrations against integrated busing program
  • (1985) Harvard University celebrated 350th anniversary
  • (1987) Construction began on "Big Dig" in Boston
  • (1988) George H.W. Bush became U. S. President
  • (2001) ACT, based in Worcester, created human embryo clone
  • (2002) Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandals made public; resignations and settlements followed
  • (2004) Same-sex marriage rights approved; Boston Red Sox won World Series; Democratic National Convention held in Boston
  • (2006) Legislature enacted first plan in U. S. for Massachusetts citizens to receive universal health insurance coverage
  • (2007) Water leaks in new tunnels of "Big Dig" caused ceiling collapse, killed one; Boston Red Sox won World Series
  • (2009) Sen. Edward Kennedy died
  • (2010) Republican Scott Brown elected to seat left vacant by Sen. Kennedy's death
  • (2011) Boston Bruins won NHL Stanley Cup
  • (2013) During the Boston Marathon on April 15, two pressure cooker bombs exploded killing 3 people and injuring 264

Massachusetts Photographs

samuel de champlainpilgrimsfirst thanksgivingboston massacretea partyrevere's rideindependenceSalem witch trialsboston americanstelegraphcalvin coolidgeedward brooketed kennedy

Massachusetts Cities, Counties & Area Codes

City County Area Code
East Falmouth Barnstable 508
Pittsfield Berkshire 413
New Bedford Bristol 508
Oak Bluffs Dukes 508
Lynn Essex 781
Greenfield Franklin 413
Springfield Hampden 413
Amherst Hampshire 413
Cambridge Middlesex 617
Lowell Middlesex 978
Nantucket Nantucket 508
Quincy Norfolk 617
Brockton Plymouth 508
Boston Suffolk 617
Worcester Worcester 508

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.