Native Americans originally named Boston "Shawmut." In 1630, colonists changed the name to Boston after Boston, England, the hometown of several prominent colonists. The Boston area remains home to Harvard, the first college established in North America.
Due to its deep harbor and geographic location, Boston's port remained the busiest port in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Since its founding in 1630, Boston ranked among America's wealthiest, most influential cities throughout the Colonial period and beyond.
The infamous Tea Party of Dec. 16, 1773 also took place in the city. Around midnight, a group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians boarded three British tea ships and dumped chests of tea into the harbor. The event served as a protest of the British Parliament's Tea Act of 1773. The Boston Tea Party is re-enacted annually in the Boston Harbor.
On June 1, 1660, colonist Mary Dryer was hanged on Boston Common for repeatedly defying a law banning Quakers from the colony. She is considered the last religious martyr in North America.
Boston became the home of the first public elementary school in America, The Mather School, founded in December of 1639, as well as the first railroad to charge commuter fares, The Boston and West Worcester Railroad.