in Places
Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts, is also known as Beantown. In colonial days, beans baked slowly in molasses was a favorite dish there.

Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States. English colonists founded it in 1625. Because of its excellent harbor, the city soon became the busiest port in America. It was the largest city in the colonies for over 100 years. When the United States became a nation, Massachusetts became a state with Boston as its capital.


Boston is sometimes called the cradle of American independence. Many of the events that led to the American Revolution happened in Boston. These events included the Boston Massacre in 1770 and the Boston Tea Party in 1773. The massacre occurred when several citizens who were protesting the presence of British troops in the city were shot and killed by the troops. The Tea Party happened when colonists dumped a shipment of tea into Boston Harbor to protest a British tea tax.

In 1775, Paul Revere began his midnight ride in Boston to warn the colonists that the British were coming. The following day, colonists fired on British soldiers marching to the nearby villages of Lexington and Concord. That skirmish was the beginning of the American Revolution.

You can learn about Boston’s role in the revolution by following the Freedom Trail. This red path along the streets and sidewalks of Boston connects the sites of 16 important events of the Revolution.


Many important American institutions and events began in Boston. Boston Commons, in the center of the city, is the nation’s oldest public park. In colonial times it was a public pasture. People could allow their cows to graze there.

Boston has always been a leading American city in education. Colonists opened the first free public school, Boston Latin, in 1635. The following year, they established America’s first university, Harvard, across the Charles River in Cambridge. Bostonians created the first public library in 1653. Nearly 200 years later, in 1825, the city opened the nation’s first high school for girls. The nation’s first kindergarten was also started in Boston in 1860.

In 1897, the city opened the first subway in the country. That same year, the first annual Boston Marathon was held. The marathon is a 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) race that has become a major annual event.

Boston hosted the very first game of baseball’s World Series. The Boston Pilgrims (later, the Boston Red Sox) and the Pittsburgh Pirates played that game in Boston in 1903. Boston won the series five games to three.


Today, the population of Boston and the surrounding suburbs is about 5.8 million people. Boston is the largest city in the six-state New England region.

Education is still important in Boston. There are more than 65 colleges and universities in or near the city. Some of them, such as Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), are world famous.

The Boston Red Sox play at Fenway Park, the oldest ballpark in major league baseball. Fenway’s high, green, left-field wall is known throughout baseball as the Green Monster.

Boston has many fine museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Science. The city is also home to two of the world’s great symphonies: the Boston Pops and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The Boston Pops plays at a spectacular fireworks display each year on Independence Day.

 Source: Microsoft ® Encarta