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Boston History

In the beginning, Boston was a small settlement for puritan families from England.

The small settlement eventually became the capital of the original Massachusetts Bay Colony founded in 1630. In 1638, America's first college, Harvard College later to become Harvard University, was established across the Charles River in Cambridge.

Then followed the Boston Tea Party in 1773 sparked by a protest against the tax policy of the British Government, which made colonies pay a tea duty. Colonists, known as Whigs, who objected to the tax charge on the basis they hadn’t elected representatives in Parliament, boarded the ships containing tea bound for England and instead threw it into the harbour.

This culminated in the Revolutionary War against British colonial rule. In the end, George Washington succeeded in driving the British out in 1776.

Steadily, Boston was transformed from a relatively small and economically stagnant town in 1780 to a thriving seaport. By 1800, it had become one of the world's wealthiest trading ports, exporting products like rum, fish, salt and tobacco. It population grew and by 1822, Boston was granted city status.

Manufacturing industries boomed, particularly in garments, leatherware and machinery. The 1840s brought new waves of immigrants from Europe, especially Italians and Irish, giving the population a Roman Catholic bias.

Around the same time, the abolitionist movement was established in Boston by the social reformer William Lloyd Garrison. High culture also flourished in the city – and the city became linked to key intellectuals, writers, theologians and philosophers. The Massachusetts Institute for Technology was established in 1865, followed by the first medical school for women and the country’s first vaudeville theatre.

During the late 20th century, the city thrived and its universities attracted hordes of students who decided to settle in Boston permanently. It’s been followed by tremendous strides in public transport but at the same time, the city’s chronic congestion problems have not eased.

Although it is considered to be one of the world’s most expensive cities – reflected too in its lack of cheap hotels - it has a unique ambience and has been compared flatteringly to many European cities.

Did you know?
• Boston was originally called 'Trimountain', given its location beside three hills on the mouth of the Charles River.
• In 1919, the city was pummelled by the freakish Boston Molasses Disaster, when a huge tank collapsed, unleashing an immense wave of molasses up to 15ft high down the streets, killing 21 and injuring over 100.
• In the world of sport, the Boston Red Sox won their first World series in 86 years in 2004, and again three years later.

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Featured Hotels


Mandarin Oriental

Located in the cosy Back Bay the Mandarin Oriental combines comfort and style to produce one of Boston's most luxurious and trendy hotels. Rooms resonate with classic oriental styles with a modern flare and boast beautiful views of the Back Bay cityscape. After a long day of touring and shopping enjoy a soak in the oversized Jacuzzi baths or indulge in a massage at the Mandarin Oriental's five-star spa. Perfect for a business retreat or a relaxing holiday the Mandarin Oriental will not disappoint.

Harding House

This classic, baby blue Victorian guesthouse has fourteen handsome rooms decked out in all-American style with quilts, patterned rugs and dark hardwood furniture. The period character of the house gives the place a warm, homely atmosphere which is reinforced by the freely available cakes and coffee, Thursday evening wine tastings and the generous home-cooked breakfast, which is included in the price.

Liberty Clipper

Between June and September only, board one of Boston's elegant tall ships for an alternative, budget accommodation option. Moored in the historic waterfront district of Boston, a block from the North End and Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market, you will be offered a choice of one of six cabins all featuring a skylight, hot/cold water, three shared bathrooms and three shared showers. This is definitely an experience.

Oasis Guest House

This modest 30-room guesthouse is located in one of Boston’s best neighbourhoods and offers simple but comfortable accommodation in a series of attractive brick-fronted buildings. Rooms are simply furnished with queen beds, armchairs, TVs and generic prints. The price includes free internet access, use of the kitchen facilities and a complimentary breakfast.

HI Boston

This cheap and cheerful hostel offers 481 beds in total, and is niftily located in the Theater District/Chinatown area. There is a games room, cafe bar, internet access and laundry facilities. If you're not a member of Hostelling International, you have to pay a daily $3 charge, but this is still one of the cheapest, centrally located accommodation options around.

Hotel Marlowe

Stars, compasses, planets and diamond/harlequin patterns are part of the 'discovery' motif at the funky and fun Hotel Marlowe. Around the faux-marble fireplace of the tufted-velvet walled living room, there are complimentary evening wine hours and Wednesday evening poetry readings. Comfortable crimson and gold guest rooms are accented with velvet, leopard-print carpets, furry blankets and amenities that include modern electronic comfort, Aveda toiletries and leopard-patterned terrycloth robes. Even four-legged guests are regaled with leopard-print collar tags, treats and other pet services. The inviting American-styled brasserie, Bambara, is adjacent to the hotel.

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