The history of Massachusetts began when the Pilgrims landed in at what would become known as Plymouth in 1620. It became a British colony in the New World in 1630 and was the first colony to vote for independence. It became the sixth state of the United States in 1788.
Massachusetts, then known as Massachusetts Bay Colony, established the first higher learning institute in the country, Harvard University, in Cambridge in 1636. The colony also became known for its witch trials in Salem, and 19 people were hung in 1692 after being charged with devil worship.
The citizens of Boston revolted against the Tea Act in 1773 by dumping boxes of tea into Boston Harbor in what became known as the Boston Tea Party. In 1775, the colony sparked revolution and independence with the first battles of the American Revolutionary War in Concord and Lexington. Even after the country won the war, Massachusetts' rebellious streak continued when Daniel Shays led a rebellion against the federal government due to the heavy taxes and potential loss of property to help pay for the war. In 1780, the state adopted its own constitution.
Massachusetts also became known for the invention of basketball. Dr. James Naismith created the game while working at the International YMCA in Springfield in 1891.