Massachusetts is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. The state is named for the Massachusett tribe, which once inhabited the area. The capital of Massachusetts and the most populous city in New England is Boston. Over 80% of Massachusetts’ population lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry. Originally dependent on agriculture, fishing and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts’ economy shifted from manufacturing to services. Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime trade.
The entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts has played a powerful commercial and cultural role in the history of the United States. Before the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the abolitionist, temperance, and transcendentalist movements. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legally recognize same-sex marriage. Harvard University in Cambridge is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, with the largest financial endowment of any university. Kendall Square in Cambridge has been called „the most innovative square mile on the planet“, in reference to the high concentration of entrepreneurialstart-ups and quality of innovation which have emerged in the vicinity of the square since 2010. Both Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also in Cambridge, have been ranked among the most highly regarded academic institutions in the world. Massachusetts’ public school students place among the top nations in the world in academic performance.
Massachusetts is the 7th-smallest state in the United States. It is located in the New England region of the northeastern United States and has an area of 10,555 square miles (27,340 km2), 25.7% of which is water. Several large bays distinctly shape its coast. Despite its small size, Massachusetts features numerous topographically distinctive regions. The large coastal plain of the Atlantic Ocean in the eastern section of the state contains Greater Boston, along with most of the state’s population, as well as the distinctive Cape Cod peninsula. To the west lies the hilly, rural region of Central Massachusetts, and beyond that, the Connecticut River Valley. Along the western border of Western Massachusetts lies the highest elevated part of the state, the Berkshires.
Most of Massachusetts has a humid continental, with cold winters and warm summers. The warm to hot summers render the oceanic climate rare in this transition, only applying to exposed coastal areas. The climate of Boston is quite representative for the commonwealth, characterized by summer highs of around 81 °F (27 °C) and winter highs of 35 °F (2 °C), and is quite wet.
Tourism has become an important factor in the economy of the state because of its numerous recreational areas and historical landmarks. Cape Cod has beaches, summer theaters, and an artists’ colony at Provincetown. The Berkshires, in the western part of the state, is the site of Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony; art museums, including Mass MoCA and the Clark Institute; and Jacob’s Pillow, a world renowned dance center.