Massachusetts Bay (Colony) Treasury accounts  1699
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In 1629, King Charles I of England granted the Massachusetts Bay Company a charter for the land between the Charles River and the Massachusetts Bay. In June 1630, a group of Puritans arrived in North America to establish the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Led by John Winthrop, Governor chosen to lead the colony, they had fled England primarily for religious reasons. The settlers first established towns and churches, followed by schools and colleges (notably, Harvard University in 1638), and a printing press (1639). The colony became increasingly prosperous through successful agriculture, lumbering, and fishing.

In 1684, the original charter, which had not specified a government location and had thus allowed self-governance, was revoked. England installed a royal government for the colony, but this was annulled in 1688, after the deposition of James II. In 1691, a charter by William III and Mary II merged the Plymouth Colony and Maine into the Massachusetts Bay Colony and reestablished British control, which would last until 1774.