BOSTON-CITY SEAL T-Shirt
Boston is the capital and largest city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is considered the economic and cultural center of the region, and is sometimes regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England." Boston city proper had a 2007 estimated population of 608,352, making it the twenty-first largest in the country. Boston is also the anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area called Greater Boston, home to 4.4 million people and the tenth-largest metropolitan area in the country. Greater Boston as a commuting region includes parts of Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine; it includes 7.4 million people, making it the fifth-largest Combined Statistical Area in the country.-------------Boston was founded on September 17, 1630, by Puritan colonists from England. The Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony are sometimes confused with the Pilgrims, who founded Plymouth Colony ten years earlier in what is today Bristol County, Plymouth County, and Barnstable County, Massachusetts. The two groups, which differed in religious practice, are historically distinct. The separate colonies were not united until the formation of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in 1691. -------------------------------- The Shawmut peninsula was connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus and was surrounded by the waters of Massachusetts Bay and the Back Bay, an estuary of the Charles River. Several prehistoric Native American archaeological sites that were excavated in the city have shown that the peninsula was inhabited as early as 5,000 BC. Boston's early European settlers first called the area Trimountaine, but later renamed the town after Boston, Lincolnshire, England, from which several prominent colonists had emigrated. Massachusetts Bay Colony's original governor, John Winthrop, gave a famous sermon entitled "A Model of Christian Charity," popularly known as the "City on a Hill" sermon, 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 a 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). Boston was the largest town in British North America until Philadelphia grew larger in the mid-18th Century.------------- In the 1770s, British attempts to exert more-stringent 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—including the Battle of Lexington and Concord, Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Siege of Boston—occurred in or near the city. During this period, Paul Revere made his famous midnight ride.-------------After the Revolution, Boston had become one of the world's wealthiest international trading ports because of the city's consolidated seafaring tradition—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.--------- The Embargo Act of 1807, adopted during the Napoleonic Wars, and the War of 1812 significantly curtailed Boston's harbor activity. Although foreign trade returned after these hostilities, Boston's merchants had found alternatives for their capital investments in the interim. Manufacturing became an important component of the city's economy, and 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 and leather-goods industries. A network of small rivers bordering the city and connecting it to the surrounding region made for easy shipment of goods and led to a proliferation of mills and factories. Later, a dense network of railroads facilitated the region's industry and commerce. From the mid-nineteenth 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. The city reacted strongly to the Fugitive Slave Law, which contributed to President Franklin Pierce's attempt to make an example of Boston after the Burns Fugitive Slave Case.-------------In the 1820s, Boston's population began to swell, and the city's ethnic composition changed dramatically with the first wave of European immigrants. Irish immigrants dominated the first wave of newcomers during this period. By 1850, about 35,000 Irish lived in Boston. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, the city saw increasing numbers of Irish, Germans, Lebanese, Syrians, French Canadians, and Russian and Polish Jews settle in the city. By the end of the nineteenth century, Boston's core neighborhoods had become enclaves of ethnically distinct immigrants—Italians inhabited the North End, the Irish dominated South Boston, and Russian Jews lived in the West End. ------------------- Irish and Italian immigrants brought with them Roman Catholicism. Currently, Catholics make up Boston's largest religious community, and since the early twentieth century, the Irish have played a major role in Boston politics—prominent figures include the Kennedys, Tip O'Neill, and John F. Fitzgerald.-------Between 1631 and 1890, the city tripled its physical size by land reclamation—by filling in marshes, mud flats, and gaps between wharves along the waterfront—a process that 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 the Haymarket Square area. The present-day State House sits atop this lowered Beacon Hill. Reclamation projects in the middle of the century created significant parts of the South End, the 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 nineteenth century, workers filled almost 600 acres (2.4 km²) of brackish Charles River marshlands west of the Boston Common with gravel brought by rail from the hills of Needham Heights. Also, the city annexed the adjacent towns of Roxbury (1868), Dorchester (1870), Brighton, West Roxbury (including present day Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, and West Roxbury), and Charlestown. The last three towns were annexed in 1874.----------- The first community health center in the United States was the Columbia Point Health Center in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. It was opened in December 1965 and served mostly the massive Columbia Point public housing complex adjoining it. It was founded by two medical doctors—Jack Geiger of Harvard and Count Gibson of Tufts It is still in operation and was re-dedicated in 1990 as the Geiger-Gibson Community Health Center.-------------- By the early twentieth and mid-twentieth 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 under the direction of the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), which was established in 1957. In 1958, BRA initiated a project to improve the historic West End neighborhood. Extensive demolition was met with vociferous public opposition to the new agency. BRA subsequently reevaluated its approach to urban renewal in its future projects, including the construction of Government Center. By the 1970s, the city's economy boomed after 30 years of economic downturn. 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, Tufts Boston Boston and Northeastern attracted 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 Columbia Point housing projects, built in 1953 on the Dorchester peninsula, had gone through bad times until there were only 350 families living in them in 1988. They were run down and dangerous. In 1984, the city of Boston gave control of these projects to a private developer, Corcoran-Mullins-Jennison, who re-developed and revitalized the property into an attractive residential mixed-income community called Harbor Point Apartments, which was opened in 1988 and was completed by 1990. It is a very significant example of revitalization and re-development, and it was the first federal housing project to be converted to private, mixed-income housing in the United States, and was used as a model for the federal HUD HOPE VI public housing revitalization program begun in 1992.------------ In the early twenty-first century, the city has become an intellectual, technological, and political center. It has, however, experienced a loss of regional institutions, which included the acquisition of the Boston Globe by The New York Times, and the loss to mergers and acquisitions of local financial institutions such as FleetBoston Financial, which was acquired by Charlotte-based Bank of America in 2004. The city also had to tackle gentrification issues and rising living expenses, with housing prices increasing sharply since the 1990s.