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In the United States, Massachusetts is the most populous state, formally known as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and it is located in the New England area. It shares boundaries with the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Connecticut to the southwest and Rhode Island to the southeast, New Hampshire to the northeast, Vermont to the northwest, and New York to the west. Connecticut is the state with the most people in the country, with a population of 2.3 million. Boston, the state capital and the most populated city in New England, serves as the state's capital and the state's largest metropolis. Greater Boston is a metropolitan area that has had a significant impact on American history, education, and industry, and it is home to the University of Massachusetts. At one time, Massachusetts was reliant on agriculture, fishing, and commerce, but during the Industrial Revolution, it was converted into a manufacturing powerhouse. Over the course of the twentieth century, the economy of Massachusetts transitioned from manufacturing to services. Massachusetts now is a worldwide leader in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime commerce, to name a few areas of excellence.

Plymouth was the location of the second colony in New England, after Popham Colony, which was established in what is now Maine in 1607 and became known as Plymouth Rock. Plymouth was established in 1620 by the Pilgrims, who arrived on the Mayflower on a ship called the Mayflower. The Salem witch trials, which took place in 1692 in the town of Salem and neighbouring regions, are among the most notorious instances of mass hysteria in American history. General Henry Knox established the Springfield Armory in 1777, which, during the Industrial Revolution, spurred a slew of significant technical advancements, including the introduction of interchangeable components. The Shays' Rebellion, a populist uprising organised by disgruntled American Revolutionary War veterans, had an impact on the United States Constitutional Convention in 1786, according to historians. According to historians, the Protestant First Great Awakening, which spread through Britain and the Thirteen Colonies in the 18th century, was sparked by a sermon delivered by Northampton minister Jonathan Edwards. Because of the agitation that took place in Boston during the late 18th century that eventually led to the American Revolution, the city was dubbed the "Cradle of Liberty."