About Massachusetts

Massachusetts (officially known as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) is one of the states in the United States. Located in the northeastern region of the country called New England, the state has the following as its neighbors: New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Hampshire. To the east lies the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Admitted in the Union in 1788 as the sixth member, Massachusetts is today one of the most populous states in the country and owing to its relatively small size, it is also densely populated. The largest city is Boston, which also doubles as the capital.  


 As it is the tradition in the United States, the state of Massachusetts has its won nickname –Bay State. The name was given by the early colonists as the state lies close to a number of large bays. Today, residents of the state are called the Bay Staters. 


The state of Massachusetts has a temperate climate. In the western parts of the state, colder temperatures are recorded and humidity is also lower. However, areas that are close to the coast can have more severe snowfalls. The hottest month is July while January stands out as being the coldest. 


Like many of the other states in the country, taxation is a serious matter and for the residents of the state, there are various provisions for taxes. There is a flat-rate personal income tax of 5.3% and there is a corporate income tax of 8.8% and no inheritance tax. 


The state follows the pattern laid out by the constitution. There are three arms of the government –the judiciary, legislature and the executive. The head of the executive branch of government is the Governor who is responsible for various duties such as  preparing the annual budget. 


The state has a seal and it was adopted in the year1885. On the seal is the arms of the state surrounded by Latin words written in blue: Sigillum Reipublicae Massachusettensis which simply means Seal of the Republic of Massachusetts. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has adopted its own motto and is usually written in Latin as Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem and it can be translated to mean ‘By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty’. The motto appears on the state flag. 


As it is the norm in America, states have flags and Massachusetts is not an exception. On the state’s flag is a representation of the coat of arms on a white background. Quite simple, the design was approved, after some modifications, in 1971. 


The black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) is the state bird of Massachusetts. It was designated as such in 1941 and belongs to the titmouse bird family. The female is responsible for building the nest while the male forages for food for the whole family. 


The mayflower (Epigaea regens) has been designated the state flower. The flower is also called the ground laurel or the trailing arbutus and was adopted as early as 1918. It is found mainly in sandy regions or where the soil is rocky. 


The right whale has been the state’s official marine mammal after it was designated as such in 1980. This mammal is seriously endangered and many marine biologists believe if drastic steps are not taken, it may become extinct. The whale can reach astonishing lengths and weigh up to 120,000 pounds. 


The state’s  official song is titled ‘All Hail To Massachusetts’ and is was written by Arthur J. Marsh and adopted in 1981. In addition to this, there is an unofficial state song and a folk song. The state’s unofficial song is ‘The Spirit of Massachusetts is The Spirit of America’.


Most of the states in the country (unlike Illinois) have designated certain colors as the official colors. For Massachusetts, the colors are three –blue, cranberry and green. Two of these (blue and cranberry) appear on the state’s license plate.