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10 Fast Facts About Massachusetts:
1/ The official state flag of Massachusetts (see below) features a coat of arms on a white background. It was adopted in 1908, and the coat of arms shows a Native American holding a bow in his right hand and an arrow in his left. The arrow is pointing downwards to symbolize peace, and there is a five pointed star above his right shoulder which represents the first five states into the Union (Massachusetts was the sixth on February 6th 1788). There is also a bent right arm shown holding a sword, which is related to the state motto of Massachusetts. The state motto is also in evidence in the flag in Latin - Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem - which means "By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty"
2/ Probably the most famous university (or certainly one of the top three) in the United States, Harvard University, is located in the state of Massachusetts in Cambridge. It was set up in 1636 by the legislature of Massachusetts, and is in fact the oldest official institute of higher education in the United States. This long history of alumni has also brought substantial financial dividends for the college, because its financial endowment stands at a staggering $32 billion as of September 2011.
3/ Disease has played a major part in the wiping out of Native American communities in Massachusetts, especially in the early days of the settlers. With an estimated 90% of Massachusetts Bay Native Americans killed between 1617 and 1619 by smallpox.
4/ In Holyoke, William G. Morgan, created a new game called "Mintonette" in 1895. After a demonstration given at the YMCA in nearby Springfield, the name "Mintonette" was replaced with the now familiar name "Volleyball."
5/ The official state flower of Massachusetts is the Mayflower, the state tree is the American Elm, and the official state reptile is the Garter Snake.
6/ Quincy boasts the first Dunkin Donuts on Hancock Street and the first Howard Johnson's on Newport Ave. Dunkin Donuts was founded in 1950 by William Rosenburg and has grown to have revenues of over $5 billion a year from over 10,000 stores. The Howard Johnson's company was founded toward the end of 1925 and initially grew profitable off the back of the "28 Flavors of Ice Cream" that the founder concocted.
7/ Massachusetts is the second largest cranberry producing state in the union (after Wisconsin). The main use (over 95%) for these cranberries is for use in processing into drinks, dried cranberries and sauces, with only about 5% actually being sold as fresh produce to shoppers.
8/ The book House of the Seven Gables was written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and published in 1851. It is a gothic style novel with a gloomy mansion at the heart of the action, which was based on an actual mansion that you can still visit today in Salem, Massachusetts.
9/ In 2009 Massachusetts had the 11th highest rate of binge drinking. It also however had the second lowest infant mortality rate, and the most Doctors per 100,000 residents of any of the states.
10/ In 2011, Massachusetts scored highest of all the states in math on the National Assessments of Educational Progress.