Boston (US: ) is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Massachusetts, and the cultural and financial center of New England in the Northeastern United States, with an area of 48.4 sq mi (125 km2) and a population of 675,647 in 2020. Greater Boston metropolitan statistical area is the eleventh-largest in the country.Boston is one of the nation's oldest municipalities, founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan settlers from Boston, Lincolnshire. During the American Revolution, Boston was the location of several key events, including the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the hanging of Paul Revere's lantern signal in Old North Church, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the siege of Boston. Following American independence from Great Britain, the city continued to play an important role as a port, manufacturing hub, and center for education and culture. The city has expanded beyond the original peninsula through land reclamation and municipal annexation. It now attracts many tourists, with Faneuil Hall alone drawing more than 20 million visitors per year. Boston's many firsts include the United States' first public park (Boston Common, 1634), the first public school (Boston Latin School, 1635), the first subway system (Tremont Street subway, 1897), and the first large public library (Boston Public Library, 1848).
In the 21st century, Boston emerged as a global leader in higher education and academic research. Greater Boston's many colleges and universities include Harvard University and MIT, both located in suburban Cambridge and both routinely included among the world's most highly ranked universities. The city is also a national leader in scientific research, law, medicine, engineering, and business. With nearly 5,000 startup companies, the city is considered a global pioneer in innovation and entrepreneurship. Boston's economic base also includes finance, professional and business services, biotechnology, information technology, and government activities. Households in the city claim the highest average rate of philanthropy in the United States. Boston businesses and institutions rank among the top in the country for environmental sustainability and new investment.