Massachusetts has played a significant historical, cultural, and commercial role in American history. Before the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the temperance, transcendentalist, and abolitionist movements. Originally dependent on fishing, agriculture, and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution.
The Massachusetts Bay Colony was named after the indigenous population, the Massachusett, whose name can be segmented as mass-adchu-s-et, where mass- is "large", -adchu- is "hill", -s- is a diminutive suffix meaning "small", and -et is a locative suffix, identifying a place.
The official name of the state is the "Commonwealth of Massachusetts".[19] Colloquially, it is often referred to simply as "the Commonwealth". Many coastal areas in Massachusetts provide breeding areas for species such as the Piping Plover.


A number of species are doing well despite (and in some cases because of) the increased urbanization of Massachusetts. In the late 19th century, the (now) Olympic sports of basketball and volleyball were invented in the Western Massachusetts cities of Springfield and Holyoke, respectively. In the 21st century, Massachusetts is a leader in higher education, health care technology, high technology, and financial services. Boston is the largest city, at the inmost point of Massachusetts Bay, the mouth of the Charles River, which is the longest river entirely within Massachusetts. Massachusetts extends from the mountains of the Appalachian system in the west to the sandy beaches and rocky shorelines of the Atlantic coast. Western Massachusetts features one urban area – the Knowledge Corridor along the Connecticut River – and a mix of college towns and rural areas.


Many of Massachusetts' towns, cities, and counties have names identical to ones in England. Massachusetts is the most populous of the six New England states and has the nation's sixth highest GDP per capita.



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