Massachusetts Bay Colony

The 3rd colony, founded in 1628 by the Puritans

Founding the Colony

John Winthrop, latter the governor, was a large influence in founding the colony and in 1630 he led the first large migration from England of about 900 settlers. The Colony was made Royal in 1691. The Puritans wanted to create the colony to be free to practice their religion. The colony was named after a local Indian tribe whose name means "a large hill place".

Ethnic and Racial Composition

The Native Americans, Wampanoag, populated the area and then started to dwindle after colonization of the English. Interracial marriage occurred. Most of the population was of English descent. A few West Indies were present and also many colonist had black servants.


The land in Massachusetts was very rocky and not good for farming, they only grew enough to eat. Fur trade, fishing and shipbuilding were the primary industries. The forest provided lots of animals and wood.

  • Because of the lack of agriculture, industry was revolutionized

  • 1638 the first printing press in the US was built at Bay Colony and brought to Harvard College, Reverend Jose Glover

  • 1653 the first American public library was founded

Important People

  • John Winthrop- Puritan leader who was the first governor

  • Anne Hutchinson- banished from the colony because she did not agree with the minister’s sermon, she became an important leader for religious freedom

  • Massosoit- Chief of the Wampanoag Indians, helped the pilgrims by making a peace agreement


  • When the colony was established they did not want to cut all ties to the Anglican Church. John Winthrop established a “city upon a hill” or a model religious and civil society based on a covenant with God and one another. The colony was established as a Bible commonwealth guided by the English law and scripture. To be a freeman you had to own property and be a church member. The relationship between church and state was called the New England Way.

Salem Witch Trials


hysterical witch hunt that led to the death of 20 people and 2 dogs

Boston Massacre

March 5, 1770

60 townspeople, angry about the Townshend Acts, began to throw snowballs at 10 redcoats, killing Crispus Attucks first along with 11 others this event fueled the fire of revolution and became a symbol of freedom

Boston Tea Party

December 16, 1773

100 Bostonians dressed like Indians as a disguise and dumped 342 chests of tea into the ocean. This caused the Boston Port Act to come into effect that closed the harbor.

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