Boston is the capital of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the state’s largest city and the county seat of Suffolk County. The largest city in New England, the city proper, covering 48 square miles, is the 21st largest city in the United States and the tenth-largest metropolitan area in the country.
One of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston was founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan colonists from England. It was the scene of several key events of the American Revolution, including the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Siege of Boston. Through land reclamation and municipal annexation, Boston has expanded beyond the original peninsula. Following American independence, the city became an important port and manufacturing center, as well as a center of education and culture. Its rich history attracts many tourists, with Faneuil Hall alone attracting more than 20 million visitors annually. Boston’s many firsts include the country’s first public school (1635) and the first subway system (1897).
The area’s many colleges and universities make Boston an international center of higher education and medicine. Boston’s economic base also includes finance, professional and business services and government activities. Though the cost of living is relatively high in the context of the U.S., it remains high on world livability rankings.