Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Founding of Massachusetts Bay Colony

Massachusetts Bay Colony was an English settlement on the east coast of North America in the 17th century, situated around the present-day cities of Salem and Boston. The colony was founded by the Massachsetss Bay Company, which included inestors in the failed Dorchester Company, which had established a short-lived colony on Cape Ann in 1624. However, the second attempt at colonization, which began in 1628, was very successful with over 10,000 people migrating to New England in the 1630s. The population was mostly Puritan and its government was run by leaders who were strongly influenced by Puritan beliefs. Before the arrival of the English, the area of Massachsetts Bay was the territory of several Algonquin-speaking tribes including the Massachusett, Nauset, and Wampanoag. The Pennacooks occupied the Merimack River valley to the north and the Nipmuc, Pocumtuc, and Mahican occupied the western lands of present-day Massachusetts; however, some of these tribes were under tribute to the Mohawk who were expanding aggressively from upstate New York. Early in the 17th century, famed European explorers Samuel de Champlain (known for the settlement of New France, which is present-day Quebec City in 1608 when he was only 21-years-old) and John Smith (a leader of the Virginia Colony based at Jamestown between September 1608 and August 1609) chartered the area. The first five ships to the Massachusetts Bay Colony sailed from England in 1629 and by 1642 more than 21,000 Puritans had emigrated to Massachusetts. This event, known as the Great Migration, established the basis for a stable and thriving society.

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