Massachusetts Bay Colony
Early English colony in Massachusetts. It was settled in 1630 by a group of 1,000 Puritan refugees from England (see Puritanism). In 1629 the Massachusetts Bay Co. had obtained an English charter allowing it to trade and colonize in New England. Puritan stockholders envisioned the colony as a refuge from religious persecution in England, and they transferred control of the company to the emigrants in Massachusetts. Led by John Winthrop, the colonists founded their colony on the Charles River at what would become Boston. In 1684 England annulled the company's charter and in 1691 established royal government under a new charter, which merged Plymouth colony and Maine into the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
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