The Athens of America
Boston’s history is one of its biggest selling points and one of the main reasons around 16 million people visit the city each year. Boston was originally inhabited by Indian settlers as early as 5,000 BC but it wasn’t until the 17th century, and the arrival of European settlers, that Boston really began to develop.
The puritans, a group of mainly English colonists, set off under John Winthrop’s guidance and eventually settled on the area that would become known as Boston in 1630, naming it after the Lincolnshire town. Shortly after their arrival Harvard College was formed, the educational establishment which grew into Harvard University, one of the leading universities in the world today.
In the late 18th century, Boston was the epicenter of the American revolution against British rule. British attempts at taxation sparked uproar in New England, leading to a war of independence. Boston was the site for a number of key battles, including The Boston Massacre, The Boston Tea Party, The Battle of Bunker Hill and the Siege of Boston.
The city was crucial to the successful expulsion of the British and Boston became extremely prosperous thereafter. It became one of the world’s busiest ports in the 19th century and this attracted a new wave of immigrants, many Irish and Italian, as they sought work and fortune. It would also become the center of the abolitionist movement that sought to rid the country of slavery. Later in the 19th century,
Boston began to foster a reputation as the literary capital of America and boasts the names of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Ralph Waldo Emerson as sons, among others. The beginning of the 20th century saw Boston struggle to keep pace with a rapidly industrialized America, but today it is a thriving city which is one of the most affluent parts of America. For all of its modern prosperity, the city still shows the hallmarks of struggle and revolution at almost every corner.