Boston is the capital city and most populous municipality of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States. It is also the seat of Suffolk County, although the county government was disbanded on July 1, 1999. The city proper covers 48 square miles (124 km2 ) with an estimated population of 673,184 in 2016, making it the largest city in the New England region of the northeastern United States. The city is the economic and cultural anchor of a substantially larger metropolitan area known as Greater Boston, a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) home to a census-estimated 4.8 million people in 2016 and ranking as the tenth-largest such area in the country. As a combined statistical area (CSA), this wider commuting region is home to some 8.2 million people, making it the sixth-largest in the United States. Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States, founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England. It was the scene of several key events of the American Revolution, such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Siege of Boston. Upon U.S. independence from Great Britain, it continued to be an important port and manufacturing hub as well as a center for education and culture. The city has expanded beyond the original peninsula through land reclamation and municipal annexation. Its rich history 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 school (Boston Latin School, 1635), first subway system (Tremont Street Subway, 1897), and first public park (Boston Common, 1634).
Boston has an area of 89.6 square miles (232.1 km2 )—48.4 square miles (125.4 km2 ) (54.0%) of land and 41.2 square miles (106.7 km2 ) (46.0%) of water. The city’s official elevation, as measured at Logan International Airport, is 19 ft (5.8 m) above sea level.  The highest point in Boston is Bellevue Hill at 330 feet (100 m) above sea level, and the lowest point is at sea level. Situated onshore of the Atlantic Ocean, Boston is the only state capital in the contiguous United States with an oceanic shoreline.
Boston is sometimes called a “city of neighborhoods” because of the profusion of diverse subsections; the city government’s Office of Neighborhood Services has officially designated 23 neighborhoods. More than two-thirds of inner Boston’s modern land area did not exist when the city was founded, but was created via the gradual filling in of the surrounding tidal areas over the centuries, notably with earth from leveling or lowering Boston’s three original hills (the “Trimountain”, after which Tremont Street is named) and with gravel brought by train from Needham to fill the Back Bay.
Boston shares many cultural roots with greater New England, including a dialect of the non-rhotic Eastern New England accent known as the Boston accent and a regional cuisine with a large emphasis on seafood, salt, and dairy products. Boston also has its own collection of neologisms known as Boston slang.
In the early 1800s, William Tudor wrote that Boston was ““perhaps the most perfect and certainly the best-regulated democracy that ever existed. There is something so impossible in the immortal fame of Athens, that the very name makes everything modern shrink from comparison; but since the days of that glorious city I know of none that has approached so near in some points, distant as it may still be from that illustrious model.” From this, Boston has been called the “Athens of America” (also a nickname of Philadelphia) for its literary culture, earning a reputation as “the intellectual capital of the United States.” In the nineteenth century, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, James Russell Lowell, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote in Boston. Some consider the Old Corner Bookstore to be the “cradle of American literature,” the place where these writers met and where The Atlantic Monthly was first published. In 1852, the Boston Public Library was founded as the first free library in the United States. Boston’s literary culture continues today thanks to the city’s many universities and the Boston Book Festival.