1930 2¢ Seal of Massachusetts Bay Colony
Issue Date: April 8, 1930
First City: Boston and Salem, MA
Quantity Issued: 74,000,774
Celebrates the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was founded by sixty English Puritans seeking religious freedom. They wouldn't tolerate any other religious belief in their midst, forcing others to "seek freedom" by founding colonies elsewhere.
Settlement and Colonial Times
On September 16, 1620, 41 Separatists and 61 others seeking religious freedom became the first group from England to journey to America. These Pilgrims sailed from Plymouth, England, aboard the Mayflower. That November, they landed in what is now known as Provincetown Harbor. Before they set foot on land, the Pilgrims drew up the Mayflower Compact – the first agreement for self-government ever put into force in America.
The Pilgrims faced a difficult first winter – about half of them perished. Early in 1621, the Pilgrims made contact with American Indians. These Native Americans taught them how to plant corn and beans, and how to live more comfortably. The newcomers’ success led to the first Thanksgiving celebration in 1621. Soon, more settlers came to the colony, and it began to flourish.
The Puritans received a charter from King Charles I to found a colony in the Massachusetts Bay area. In 1630, about 1,000 Puritans voyaged to the New World. They founded a settlement in what is now Boston. The Massachusetts Bay Colony grew quickly. By 1640, it had 10,000 settlers.
Massachusetts colonists faced many hardships. In 1675, King Philip, a Wampanoag Indian chief, decided to push the Europeans out of his homeland. King Philip was killed in 1676, effectively ending the war, but not before hundreds of Europeans and Native Americans were killed. From 1689 to 1713, the colonists, as well as British troops, were caught up in the French and Indian War, and were forced to defend their homes. The fighting stopped for a time, but erupted again during the 1740s, finally ending in 1763.
Leading to the American Revolution
The French and Indian War left Britain in debt, so taxes were levied on the New World colonies. The slogan, “No taxation without representation,” became popular in Massachusetts. Protests were staged. In 1770, British soldiers fired on a group of angry patriots, killing five of them. The Boston Massacre, as it came to be known, sparked public sentiment against the British. In 1773, angry colonists, disguised as Indians, staged the legendary Boston Tea Party to protest a tea tax, dumping 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor. Britain responded to the Boston Tea Party by passing a series of punitive acts, known in the colonies as the Intolerable Acts. These acts provoked the colonists and set the stage for the Revolutionary War.
Massachusetts Leads the Revolution
The American Revolution began in Massachusetts, and the majority of the early fighting took place in its territory. Massachusetts soldiers fought bravely in the first battles of the war, which included Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill. In the spring of 1776, General George Washington drove the British out of Boston. This marked the first major Colonial victory of the war. After that victory, most of the fighting moved to New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Massachusetts supplied a large number of the soldiers who fought in the war, and ships from the state inflicted heavy damage on British merchant ships. In 1783, the British signed the Treaty of Paris, which recognized the independence of the United States, and ended the war.
On February 6, 1788, Massachusetts ratified the United States Constitution and became the sixth state to join the Union. As part of the ratification process, the state insisted that certain measures concerning individual rights be added to the document. On December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights became an important part of the “Law of the Land.”