February 19, 2016

2305 UNITED STATES (Massachusetts) - Massachusetts map and flag

Located in the New England region, and bordered by Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, VermontNew Hampshire, and the Atlantic Ocean, Massachusetts, officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, owes its name to the indigenous population, the Massachusett, which means "the people of the great hills". The capital, as well as the state's largest city, is Boston, one of the oldest cities in the United States (1630), and the scene of several key events of the American Revolution.
Despite its small size, Massachusetts features numerous topographically distinctive regions. The coastal plain of the Atlantic 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 Berkshire Mountains range.

Massachusetts has played a significant historical, cultural, and commercial role in American history. Plymouth was the site of the first colony in New England, founded in 1620 by the Pilgrims, passengers of the Mayflower. Harvard University, founded in 1636, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the US. In 1692, the town of Salem and surrounding areas experienced one of America's most infamous cases of mass hysteria, the Salem witch trials.

In the late 18th century, Boston became known as the "Cradle of Liberty" for the agitation there that led to the American Revolution and the independence from Great Britain. In 1777, General Henry Knox founded the Springfield Armory, which during the Industrial Revolution catalyzed numerous important technological advances, including interchangeable parts. Before the Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the temperance, transcendentalist, and abolitionist movements.

In the late 19th century, the Olympic sports of basketball and volleyball were invented in the Western Massachusetts cities of Springfield and Holyoke, respectively. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legally recognize same-sex marriage as a result of the decision of the state's Supreme Judicial Court. Massachusetts has contributed many prominent politicians to national service, including members of the Adams family and the Kennedy family.

Originally dependent on fishing, agriculture, and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts' economy shifted from manufacturing to services. In the 21st century, Massachusetts is an international economic leader in life science, the finance industry, biotechnology, information technology, manufacturing, renewable energy, the defense industry, and maritime trade.

The state's flag has been represented by official but limited-purpose flags since 1776, though until 1908 it had no state flag. It displays, on both sides, the state coat of arms centered on a white field. The shield depicts an Algonquian Native American with bow and arrow; the arrow is pointed downward, signifying peace. The arm itself is the Goliad symbol common in early Texas flags and signifying the philosophy that those represented would rather lose their right arm than live under tyranny.

A white star with five points appears next to the figure's head, signifying Massachusetts' admission as the sixth U.S. state. A blue ribbon surrounds the shield, bearing the state motto Ense Petit Placidam, Sub Libertate Quietem (By the Sword We Seek Peace, But Peace Only Under Liberty). Above the shield is the state military crest: the bent arm holding a broadsword aloft. The sword has its blade up, to remind that it was through the American Revolution that liberty was won.

About the stamps
Two of the stamps are part of the definitives series American Design (2002-2007), about which I wrote here.  The other two stamps are part of the series Hudson River School, about which I wrote here.

Massachusetts - Wikipedia
Flag of Massachusetts - Wikipedia

Sender: Denise
Sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 14.01.2015

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