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In 1641, Massachusetts expanded inland significantly, acquiring the Connecticut River Valley settlement of Springfield, which had recently disputed with, and defected from its original administrators, the Connecticut Colony.
In 1691, the colonies of Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth were united (along with present-day Maine, which had previously been divided between Massachusetts and New York) into the Province of Massachusetts Bay.
Future President George Washington took over what would become the Continental Army after the battle.
His first victory was the Siege of Boston in the winter of 1775–76, after which the British were forced to evacuate the city.
Before the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the abolitionist, temperance, Many prominent American political dynasties have hailed from the state, including the Adams and Kennedy families.
Adams was highly involved in the push for separation from Britain and the writing of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780 which, in the Elizabeth Freeman and Quock Walker cases, effectively made Massachusetts the first state to have a constitution that declared universal rights and, as interpreted by Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice William Cushing, abolished slavery.
David Mc Cullough points out that an equally important feature was its placing for the first time the courts as a co-equal branch separate from the executive.
Harvard University in Cambridge is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, Kendall Square in Cambridge has been called "the most innovative square mile on the planet", in reference to the high concentration of entrepreneurial start-ups and quality of innovation which have emerged in the vicinity of the square since 2010.
The Massachusetts Bay Colony was named after the indigenous population, the Massachusett, whose name can be segmented as mass-adchu-s-et, where mass- is "large", -adchu- is "hill", -s- is a diminutive suffix meaning "small", and -et is a locative suffix, identifying it as a place.