The Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded by a group of British Puritan refugees under Governor John Winthorp in 1630. The Puritans disagreed with the Church of England and came to Massachusetts seeking religious freedom. It was one of the original 13 British colonies settled on the Atlantic coast of America.
The land that would become Massachusetts was originally inhabited by Algonquin tribes such as the Wampanoag, Narragansett, Nipmuc, Pocomtuc, Mahican and Massachusett. European explorers first came to the area in the early 1600s, but did not establish permanent settlements. The Pilgrims arrived in 1620 and built settlements in Plymouth. By 1691 the Plymouth and Massachusetts colonies merged to create the Province of Massachusetts Bay. Massachusetts became a state on February 6,1788.