Three-hundred twenty years ago today the English royal charter for the Province of Massachusetts Bay was issued. It’s significant because it helped turn what was the heart of colonial New England from a theocracy into a populist society.
The new charter came about after a period of turmoil and disobedience to the English Crown in which English authorities revoked the charter of predecessor Massachusetts Bay Colony for numerous reasons, including flouting existing laws enacted by the Parliament, obstructing the activities of Crown representatives and religious intolerance.
The first permanent English settlement of New England, of course, took place with the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth in 1620.
Within a few years, a settlement around Boston was established, and this became the Massachusetts Colony. This was settled by a good number of Puritans, who were distinct from Plymouth’s Pilgrims.
Initially, Massachusetts and Plymouth were both somewhat politically independent from England in their early days but this changed following the restoration of Charles II to the English throne in 1660.