Massachusetts was one of the original 13 colonies of what became the United States, and gained statehood on Feb. 6 in 1788. Officially, Massachusetts is labeled a commonwealth.
Massachusetts was the site of the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692, where nearly 20 individuals were convicted of witchcraft and hanged. It is also the location of the Boston Tea Party, which took place in what became the state's capital. The country's first university, Harvard, was established in Cambridge in Massachusetts in 1636. Springfield, Massachusetts is the birthplace of basketball, a sport which was created by a YMCA teacher in December of 1891.