Massachusetts Homeland Security and Emergency Services Resources

On September 16, 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, England on a journey that would take 66 days. The original destination for the 102 passengers was North Virginia near the Hudson River. But, bad weather forced the ship off course and on November 11, they landed near the tip of Cape Cod.

After exploration, the Pilgrims choose to settle near Plymouth Harbor. Almost half died that first winter, but local natives soon taught them the skills they needed to survive. To give thanks to God for their survival and first harvest, they celebrated their first Thanksgiving Day in the autumn of 1621.

The failure of the original charter and the establishment of a new one is accredited for contributing in part to the tragic Salem witch trials. The anxiety mixed with hysteria over a group of young girls suffering from trance like states, seizures and screaming fueled the fire. During the summer of 1692, nineteen people were found guilty of being witches and hanged.

Massachusetts became the 6th state to join the Union on February 6, 1788 and insisted on an amendment to the Constitution for individual rights. These amendments were entered under the "Bill of Rights". The Massachusetts Constitution is the oldest written Constitution that is still in use in the world.

Today, agriculture and seafood still play an important role in the state’s economy. But, the Industrial Revolution transformed the state into a manufacturing center producing products such as scientific instruments, electronic equipment and machinery. Finance, health care, biotechnology and tourism also contribute to the state’s economy.

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