Located on Boston Bay, Boston is the capital and largest city of Massachusetts and New England and serves as the main commercial, financial, and cultural centre of the six-state region. The city is situated on a magnificent natural harbour opening on to Massachusetts Bay. Boston Harbour was the site of the historic Boston Tea Party, when a group of angry local citizens, disguised as Indians, dumped East Indian tea into the bay in a dramatic gesture of defiance against trade restrictions and economic dominance from Britain. The English closed the port in retaliation . . . and the rest is history.
The city abounds in historic sites, many of which are connected by the Freedom Trail, a self-guided walking tour followed annually by thousands of tourists. The path of red bricks in the pavement will take you to the downtown sights of Boston, such as The Paul Revere House (c. 1680), the Old North Church (1723), the Park Street Church, with its elaborate steeple ascending from its old, solid brick walls, the Old Corner Bookstore, once a salon for the literary crowd where such masters as Longfellow and Hawthorne could be found, Faneuil Hall (1742-1805), and the golden-domed Massachusetts State House, completed in 1798. You will also see the Charlestown Navy Yard, home of the famous USS Constitution, or "Old Ironsides," and one of the sites on the Freedom Trail.
Before the coming of European explorers and settlers, the Boston region was inhabited by several tribes of the Algonquians. The first permanent settlers arrived in 1630 and named their settlement after Boston, in Lincolnshire. The town was soon made the capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and by 1750 Boston had grown into an important seaport and trading centre. Colonial life was dominated by political rows with England and by the influence of the Congregational Church. Violence erupted in the Boston Massacre of 1770, when five colonists were killed by British soldiers. The Boston Tea Party of 1773, was a protest against a British-imposed tax. Finally, a raiding force of British troops, marching from Boston, precipitated the battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. The Battle of Bunker Hill followed on June 17, 1775, in Boston; nine months later the British withdrew from Boston, leaving the town relatively unmolested for the duration of the war.
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