Massachusetts Bay Colony was established in 1630 by a group of Puritans from England as a religious community. Backing the effort was the Massachusetts Bay Company, a joint stock trading company chartered by the English crown the year before. John Withrop was the colony's leader. By 1640, some 20,000 settlers were in the area of Boston and neighboring towns. The Puritan leaders carried the company's charter with them to New England. Because of that action, they were able to govern themselves, and they would not be controlled by governors and stockholders in England. After about 50 years of little interference from England, the government of Charles II revoked the company's charter in 1684. The colony then was merged into the short-lived Dominion of New England, and later part of the unified colony of Massachusetts in 1691.