The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. With a population approaching 6.5 million in a relatively small area, it is mostly urban and suburban in its eastern half but still primarily rural in the west. It is the most populous of the six New England states and contains the region's main urban center, Boston. The first Europeans to settle New England landed in present-day Massachusetts. These settlers were Pilgrims and Puritans from England seeking religious freedom. The majority of early settlers came from within 60 miles of Haverhill, England. They founded Plymouth, Salem, and Boston, which soon became the hub of the region. A century and a half later, Massachusetts became known as the 'Cradle of Liberty' for the revolutionary ferment in Boston that helped spawn the war of the Thirteen Colonies for independence.