No Boston, no American Revolution. Puritans founded the city on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630, a few years after the Mayflower brought the Pilgrims to nearby Plymouth. Boston quickly became the center of what would be the Massachusetts Bay Colony. By the 1770s, Bostonians along with many others began to chafe against increasing restrictions and taxes imposed on the Colonies by the British. Repeat after me: Boston Tea Party, Boston Massacre, Paul Revere’s Ride, the Shot Heard Round the World (in nearby Lexington), the Battle of Bunker Hill. There was a lot more to the American Revolution, of course, but Bostonians like to think all the important stuff happened here, in Boston's history.
During the 1800s, Boston grew through both immigration and by filling in parts of the harbor, including the Back Bay. The 20th century saw the rise of Irish political power, through the Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, as well as former House Speaker Tip O’Neill from Cambridge. Perhaps the darkest moment in recent Boston history came during the early 1960s, as working-class whites battled busing intended to remedy school segregation—ironic since Boston was a center of the 1800s abolitionist movement. Downtown redevelopment and gentrification have reshaped the social landscape in the decades since. The city has become a “creative economy” center thanks to its universities, high-tech and life sciences companies, and the increasingly cosmopolitan environment of neighborhoods like the South End. The most prominent sign of a new attitude: the relatively smooth acceptance of legal gay marriage. And finally, the controversial Big Dig replaced an antiquated surface artery through the city with a tunnel and the magnificent Zakim Bridge. Throughout Boston's history, the city has been known for its boisterous citizens, as well as its unique culture.