Boston is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state officially named the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The largest city in New England, Boston is often considered to be the unofficial economic and cultural center of the New England region. The city of Boston had an estimated population of 590,763 in 2006; however, the city lies at the center of America's eleventh-largest metropolitan area, known as Greater Boston, which is home to over 4.4 million people, and fifth-largest Combined Statistical Area (CSA), which includes the nearby cities of Worcester, Providence, and Manchester, and a population of 7.4 million. Residents of Boston are called Bostonians.
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 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 is also home to the first subway system in the United States (and fifth in the world, after London, Istanbul, Budapest, and Glasgow.)
Through land reclamation and municipal annexation, Boston has expanded throughout the peninsula. It has become one of the most culturally significant cities in the United States, and is recognized as a global city. With many colleges and universities within the city and surrounding area, Boston is a center of higher education and a center for health care. 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.