- English explorer John Cabot sails along Massachusetts coast
1602 - Bartholomew Gosnold explores coast.
1604 - Samuel de Champlain explores and maps coast.
1606 - James I grants charter to Plymouth Company to colonize
1607 - Three ships arrived from England with 104 men and boys.
The settlers named the nearby river James, after their king and
then settled on a narrow peninsula of the river, and named it
1614 - Capt. John Smith maps coast.
1620 - The Mayflower sailed from Plymouth, England, arriving on
the coast of Cape Cod instead of Virginia. After exploring the
coast, the ship finally anchored in Plymouth harbor, and the Pilgrims
established a settlement.
1621 - The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in Plymouth. This
feast, after the first Plymouth harvest, set the model for our
current day feast.
1628 - John Endecott founds Puritan settlement in what is now
1629 - Massachusetts Bay Company chartered.
1630 - In September 1630, Governor John Winthrop and the Massachusetts
Bay Colony settlers traveled to the peninsula, known as Shawmut
by the Algonquins, and founded Dorchester, the first part of the
city of Boston.
1632 - Boston made capital of Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1634 - Boston Common became the first public park in America.
1635 - The first American public secondary school, Boston Latin
Grammar School, founded in Boston.
1636 - Harvard College was established in 1636. It was named for
after John Harvard of Charlestown, who left half his estate to
the new institution upon his death in 1638. Founded in Newtowne
1638- The first American printing press was set up in Cambridge
by Stephen Daye.
1639 - The first Post Office in America was Richard Fairbanks'
tavern in Boston. In 1939, it was named a repository for overseas
mail. The first free American public school, the Mather school,
founded in Dorchester, a neighborhood of Boston.
1643 - Puritan colonies form New England Confederation to oppose
Dutch and Indian attacks. The first American ironworks established
1646 - First American Ironworks established in Saugus.
1653 - The first American public library founded in Boston.
1675 - King Philip's War brings Indian attacks on settlers.
1676 - The end of King Philip's War
1684 - Massachusetts charter annulled.
1686 - Dominion of New England established. Oxford became the
first non-puritan town
1691 - Massachusetts granted new charter; becomes royal colony
including Maine and Plymouth.
1692 - Witchcraft trials begin in Salem.
1693 - Society of Negroes is founded in Boston, Massachusetts.
1704 - The first regularly issued American newspaper, The Boston
published in Boston.
1716 - America's first lighthouse, "The Boston Light"
was built in Boston Harbor.
1763 - End of Indian Wars in 1763 allows expansion in Western
Massachusetts to a total of 184 towns by 1763.
1770 - Tensions aroused from British troops' presence in Boston,
culminated in 5 men dying, when troops fired at colonists at the
Customs House on March 5.
1773 - Boston Tea Party dumps tea into bay - Colonists at Faneuil
Hall, in Boston, oppose taxes.
1775 - The first battle of the American Revolution fought in Lexington
and Concord. The first ship of the U.S. Navy, the schooner "Hannah",
commissioned in Beverly.
1776 - Colonial troops force British to evacuate Boston.
1780 - State constitution adopted; John Hancock becomes first
1785- Daniel Shay led a rebellion by farmers protesting excessive
taxes, oppressive governmental systems and unfair laws and treatment
of working people.
1788 - Massachusetts is sixth state to ratify the United States
Constitution on Feb. 6, 1788.
1789 - The first American novel, William Hill Brown's The Power
of Sympathy, published in Worcester.
1795 - State House built in Boston.
1796 - John Adams, born 1735 in Quincy, elected 2nd president
of United States.
1806 - The first church built by free blacks in America, the African
Meeting House, opened on Joy Street in Boston.
1820 - Maine separated from Massachusetts.
1822 - Lowell set up as factory town - Boston chartered.
1824 - John Quincy Adams, born 1767 in Quincy, elected 6th president
of United States.
1826 - The first American railroad built in Quincy.
1827 - Francis Leiber opened the first swim school in America
July 23, 1827. Among the first to enroll was John Quincy Adams.
1831 - The first abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator, published
in Boston by William Lloyd Garrison.
1833 - Constitutional amendment separates church and state; ends
Puritanism in government.
1837 - Samuel Morse invented the electric telegraph based on Morse
Code, a simple pattern of "dots" and "dashes."
State Board of Education established under leadership of Horace
1839 - The first vulcanized rubber produced by Charles Goodyear
1840 - The typewriter was invented by Charles Thurber in Worcester.
1845 - The first sewing machine made by Elias Howe in Boston.
1846 - William T.G. Morton, a Boston dentist, first demonstrated
the use of anesthesia in surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital,
using a specially designed glass inhaler containing an ether-soaked
1850 - The first National Women's Rights Convention convenes in
1861 - America's greatest internal conflict - 3 million fought
and 600,000 died in the War Between the States before General
Lee surrendered his Confederate Army to General Grant at the village
of Appomattox Court House General Lee surrendered on April 9,
1863 - University of Massachusetts chartered at Amherst.
1865 - Robert Ware, of MIT, began the first professional training
program for architects. Prior to this, architects trained in Europe
or learned through apprenticeship.
1866 - The first African-American legislators in New England elected
1875 - The first American Christmas card printed by Louis Prang
1876 - The first telephone demonstrated by Alexander Graham Bell
1877 - Helen Magill White becomes the first woman to earn a Ph.D.
in the U.S. (Boston University)
1881 - The Country Club in Brookline became the first country
club in America dedicated to "outdoor pursuits".
1886 - The first transformer demonstrated by William Stanley in
1891 - The first basketball game played in Springfield. The Kennedy
Biscuit Works (later Nabisco) used a machine invented by James
Henry Mitchell to mass- produce the first Fig Newton Cookies and
named it for the town of Newton, MA.
1892 - The first successful gasoline-powered automobile perfected
by Charles and Frank Duryea in Springfield.
1893 - The first successful gasoline-powered automobile was perfected
by Charles and Frank Duryea in Springfield.
1895 - The first volleyball game played in Holyoke.
1896 - The first American public beach established in Revere.
1897 - The first successful American subway system opened in Boston.
1903 - First Trans-Atlantic Radio Broadcast made by from Marconi
Station at Wellfleet when President Theodore Roosevelt and King
Edward VII of Great Britain exchanged greetings.
1907 - World's first motorized fire wagon developed by Knox Manufacturing
1912 - Textile workers go on strike in Lawrence
1914 - Canal links Cape Cod Bay with Buzzards Bay.
1920 - Governor Calvin Coolidge elected vice-president; becomes
30th president of United States in 1923.
1924 - L. Sherman Adams introduced the world's first mutual fund.
1925 - Edith Nourse Rogers (Republican ? Massachusetts) was the
first woman to serve in the U. S. House of Representatives. She
was the longest serving women in House and introduced the GI Bill
of Rights among other major initiatives.
1920-27 - Sacco-Vanzetti case gains world attention.
1926 - The first successful liquid fuel rocket launched by Dr.
Robert Goddard in Auburn.
1928 - The first computer, a non-electronic "differential
analyzer," developed by Dr. Vannevar Bush of M.I.T. in Cambridge.
1930 - Clarence Birdseye conducted first test of his quick-freezing
process, including twenty-six different vegetables, fruits, fish,
and meats. Ruth Wakefield invented the first chocolate chip cookie
at the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Ma. by adding cut up pieces
of chocolate to her butter drop cookies.
1944 - And, not to be outdone by M.I.T., Howard Aiken of Harvard
developed the first automatic digital computer.
1947 - Percy Spencer of Raytheon Corp. invented the microwave
oven, the Radarange. The first oven was 750 lb and 5-1/2 feet
tall. Today over 200 million microwaves are in use. Edwin Land
demonstrates "one-step photography system" - the first
Poloroid Land Camera. Dr. Sidney Farber introduced chemotherapy
as a treatment for cancer, achieving the first cases of remission
of acute childhood leukemia.
1954 - First successful Kidney transplant between twins at Peter
Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston.
1957 - Massachusetts Turnpike opened.
1960 - John F. Kennedy, born 1917 in Brookline, elected 35th president
of United States; assassinated 1963.
1961 - The first nuclear-powered surface vessel, USS Long Beach
CG(N) 9, launched at Quincy.
1966 - Edward W. Brooke is first black elected to United States
Senate by popular vote.
1969 - Bolt Beranek & Newman deploys ARPANET, precursor to
1971 - Ray Tomlinson of Beranek & Newman sent the first email.
The first email message was "QWERTYUIOP" and was sent
between two side by side computers connected via ARPANET.
1974 - Federal court orders the integration of Boston public schools.
Busing program to integrate Boston public schools sparks white
boycotts and violent demonstrations.
1976 - Boston was the first city in America to celebrate New Year's
Eve with a "First Night" event. The Kurzweil Reading
Machine is the first successful commercial product to incorporate
artificial intelligence to create a print-to-speech reading machine
for the blind.
1979 - The first PC-based electronic spreadsheet, VisiCalc is
developed by Daniel Brickman.
1980 - Walter Gilbert was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1980 for discovering
a technique to decode DNA.
1988 - Governor Michael Dukakis signs bill guaranteeing health
insurance to all state residents. Construction begins on 6-billion-dollar
sewage-treatment project to clean up Boston Harbor. Voters reject
proposal to shut down the state's two
nuclear power plants. Dukakis becomes Democratic nominee for president
of the United States.