Boston is the capital and the most populous city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the largest city in New England. Founded in 1630, Boston is one of the oldest and most culturally significant cities in the United States, and is recognized as a global or world city.The city's economy is based on higher education, research, health care, finance, and technology - principally biotechnology. Citizens of Boston are called Bostonians.
The city lies at the center of Greater Boston, which also includes the cities of Cambridge, Quincy, and Newton, the town of Brookline, and many suburban communities farther from Boston. The Greater Boston area also encompasses portions of the state of New Hampshire. The city also lies at the center of the Boston-Worcester-Manchester Combined Statistical Area (CSA), the fifth-largest CSA in the nation. The Boston metropolitan area, which covers less ground than the CSA, is the nation's eleventh largest.********************Boston was founded on November 17, 1630, by Puritan colonists from England, called the Pilgrim fathers, on a peninsula called Shawmut by its original Native American inhabitants. The peninsula was connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus, and surrounded by the waters of Massachusetts Bay and the Back Bay, an estuary of the Charles River. Boston's early European settlers first called the area Trimountaine; but later renamed the town after Boston, Lincolnshire, England, from which several prominent "pilgrim" colonists emigrated. A majority of Boston's early citizens were Puritans. Massachusetts Bay Colony's original governor, John Winthrop, gave a famous sermon entitled "a City upon a Hill," which captured the idea that Boston had a special covenant with God. (Winthrop also led the signing of the Cambridge Agreement, which is regarded as a key founding document of the city.) Puritan ethics molded an extremely stable and well-structured society in Boston. For example, shortly after Boston's settlement, Puritans founded America's first public school, Boston Latin School (1635), and America's first Harvard 1636). Hard work, moral uprightness, and an emphasis on education remain part of Boston's culture. Until the 1760s, Boston was America's largest, wealthiest, and most influential city.*******************During the early 1770s, British attempts to exert control on the thirteen colonies, primarily via taxation, prompted Bostonians to initiate the American Revolution. The Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, and several early battles occurred in or near the city, including the Battle of Lexington and Concord, Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Siege of Boston. During this period, Paul Revere made his famous midnight ride.
After the Revolution, Boston quickly became one of the world's wealthiest international trading ports because it was the closest major American port to Europe — exports included rum, fish, salt, and tobacco. During this era, descendants of old Boston families became regarded as the nation's social and cultural elites; they were later dubbed the Boston Brahmins. In 1822, Boston was chartered as a city. By the mid-1800s, the city's industrial manufacturing overtook international trade in economic importance. Until the early 1900s, Boston remained one of the nation's largest manufacturing centers, and was notable for its garment production, leather goods, and machinery industries. A network of small rivers bordering the city and connecting it to the surrounding region made for easy shipment of goods and allowed for a proliferation of mills and factories. Later, a dense network of railroads facilitated the region's industry and commerce. From the mid-to-late-nineteenth century, Boston flourished culturally — it became renowned for its rarefied literary culture and lavish artistic patronage. It also became a center of the abolitionist movement.*********In the 1820s, Boston's ethnic composition began to change dramatically with the first wave of European immigrants. Groups such as the Irish and Italians moved into the city and brought with them Roman Catholicism. Currently, Catholics make up Boston's largest religious community and since the early 20th century the Irish have played a major role in Boston politics — prominent figures include the Kennedys, Tip O'Neill and John F. Fitzgerald.************Between 1630 and 1890, the city tripled its physical size by land reclamation, specifically by filling in marshes, mud flats, and gaps between wharves along the waterfront, a process Walter Muir Whitehill called "cutting down the hills to fill the coves." The largest reclamation efforts took place during the 1800s. Beginning in 1807, the crown of Beacon Hill was used to fill in a 50-acre (20 ha) mill pond that later became Haymarket Square. The present-day State House sits atop this shortened Beacon Hill. Reclamation projects in the middle of the century created significant parts of the South End, West End, the Financial District, and Chinatown. After The Great Boston Fire of 1872, workers used building rubble as landfill along the downtown waterfront. During the mid-to-late 19th century, workers filled almost 600 acres (2.4 km²) of brackish Charles River marshlands west of the Boston Common with soil brought by rail from the hills of Needham Heights. Boston also annexed the adjacent communities of East Boston, Dorchester, South Boston, Brighton, Allston, Hyde Park, Roxbury, West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain and Charlestown.********************By the early and mid-20th century, the city was in decline as factories became old and obsolete, and businesses moved out of the region for cheaper labor elsewhere. Boston responded by initiating various urban renewal projects, including the demolition of the old West End neighborhood and the construction of Government Center. In the 1970s, Boston boomed after thirty years of economic downturn, becoming a leader in the mutual fund industry. The city already had a reputation for excellent healthcare services. Hospitals such as Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Brigham and Women's Hospital led the nation in medical innovation and patient care. Schools such as Harvard MIT, Boston and Boston attracted many students to the Boston area. Nevertheless, the city experienced conflict starting in 1974 over desegregation busing, which resulted in unrest and violence around public schools throughout the mid-1970s. The unrest served to highlight racial tensions in the city.
Housing prices sharply increased in the 1990s. In 2004, the Boston metropolitan area had the highest cost of living of any in the country, and Massachusetts was the only state to lose population.