Boston is the capital and largest city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The city is located in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, in the northeastern United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is considered the economic and cultural center of the entire region. The city, which had an estimated population of 599,351 in 2007, lies at the center of the Cambridge Boston-Quincy metropolitan area the 10th-largest metropolitan area (5th largest CSA) in the U.S., with a population of 4.5 million.
In 1630, Puritan colonists from England founded the city on the Shawmut Peninsula. During the late eighteenth century Boston was the location of several major events during the American Revolution, including the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. Several early battles of the American Revolution, such as the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Siege of Boston, occurred within the city and surrounding areas. After American independence was attained Boston became a major shipping port and manufacturing center, and its rich history now attracts 16.3 million visitors annually. The city was the site of several firsts, including America's first public school, Boston Latin School (1635), and first college, Harvard College (1636), in neighboring Cambridge. Boston was also home to the first subway system in the United States.
Through land reclamation and municipal annexation, Boston has expanded beyond the peninsula. With many colleges and universities within the city and surrounding area, Boston is a center of higher education and a center for medicine. The city's economy is also based on research, finance, and technology – principally biotechnology. Boston has been experiencing gentrification and has one of the highest costs of living in the United States, though remains high on world livability rankings.
Downtown Boston is the site of the financial district, Government Center, and Chinatown. The Back Bay, west of the Public Garden, is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the United States. Beacon Hill, another wealthy neighborhood, is the site of the Massachusetts State House. The Back Bay and Beacon Hill are home to national and local politicians, famous authors, and top business leaders and professionals.
The South End, south of the Back Bay, was once the home to a strong middle-class of merchants and seamen. It is noted for its restaurant scene and for having the largest Victorian row house district in the country. The North End retains an Italian flavor with its many Italian restaurants, though many of its Italian families have moved out, while young professionals have moved in. The North End hosts many religious and cultural festivals. On the north bank of the Charles River is Charlestown. Mission Hill, includes Parker Hill and its north slope, and is adjacent to the Longwood Medical district, full of world-class medical institutions.
Allston/Brighton is populated heavily by students from nearby Northeastern University, Boston University, and Boston College, as well as recent graduates.