Do You Know the Colonial History of Boston?


By: Heather Cahill

6 Min Quiz

Image: Reading Through History

About This Quiz

Boston is the home of the Red Sox, the legendary Faneuil Hall, and the Boston Common. It grew from a tiny settlement into the thriving and beautiful city that we know and love today, but it didn't come without conflict, war and fighting for what they believed in. What do you know about the historic city that played a huge part in shaping the United States?

Do you know a pilgrim from a purist? Can you name the first official settler to permanently live in the area? What do you know about Paul Revere and his role in Colonial Boston? Make sure you know some important figures in Boston's history and the things that they did!

Do you know the acts and laws that England placed on the colony? Do you know the riots and protests that took place around the city? Do you know who inhabited Colonial Boston before the colonists arrived? The events and laws that took place throughout history changed the city drastically, leading to the Boston – and United States – that we know today.

If you're a Bostonian or a history buff, it's important to know what shaped the city. So, think you know your stuff about Colonial Boston? Take the quiz to find out!

Who arrived in Boston in 1614?

Captain John Smith arrived in Boston in 1614, although at the time it was not known as Boston. John Smith mapped out the area shortly after his arrival in the city.


What did Captain John Smith first name the area of Boston?

Captain John Smith named the area "New England." On the map he created shortly after arriving, he called himself the "Admiral of New England."


Where did the Stamp Act riot take place?

The Stamp Act riot took place outside of Andrew Oliver's house. This is because the blame was put on him for the new laws with which the colonists were not impressed.


Which of the following was banned from the Massachusetts Bay colony?

Anne Hutchinson was banned from the colony because of her violation of Puritan beliefs. She was later murdered, after moving away from the land that banned her.


Is it true or false that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was governed by England?

This is true. The entire area was under the rule of the monarch of England. The colonists were taxed by the country and they were expected to follow the laws placed by England.


When was the first church in Boston built?

The first church was built in 1630 by the Puritans. The church still exists today although it isn't found in the original place where it was built. Most of the first pastors at the church were named John?


What is a purist?

The purists were formalists who wanted to reform the Church of England in America. They disagreed with the pilgrims' views of the Church and it caused some conflict.


What did the Puritans call Boston upon arrival?

The Puritans called their new land "Tremontaine." It was named after the three hills along the landscape of the Shawmut Peninsula, now called Trimountain, Copps Hill and Fort Hill.


The first what, was established by the Puritans in 1631?

The Winnisimmet Ferry was established by the Puritans in 1631. It was a public service that took its passengers from Boston to Charlestown, but it no longer exists.


Is it true or false that the oldest police department in the U.S. is in Boston?

This is true. The department began with a night watch in the 1600s, which eventually turned into the police force that exists today. It was the first time that any type of law enforcement was present in the United States.


What was the name of Boston's first school?

The first school in Boston was called the Boston Latin School and was established in 1635. It began as a school for boys and is still in existence, although it moved from its original location.


Which holiday was banned in 1659 by the Puritans?

In 1659, Christmas was banned by the Puritans, who fined anyone who celebrated it. This ban was also put in place by England and went on until the 1700s.


The reign of which English king caused citizens to retaliate that Boston was truly owned by the Native Americans?

The reign of King James II irritated the colonists in New England. He tried to be heavily involved in governing and controlling the citizens of New England who then retaliated by using the argument that the land rightfully belonged to the Native Americans.


Who lived in Boston in 1600 B.C. before the arrival of the colonists?

Native Americans were the first to inhabit the area. They lived in the area for thousands of years before English colonists made their way over to settle on the land.


Is it true or false that the Americans held the British in Boston during the American Revolution?

This is true. It is known as the Siege of Boston where the troops trapped the British Army in the city for a period of time. The British were able to escape in 1776.


Who took land from the colonists of New England?

Sir Edmund Andros, who was sent over by King James II, revoked land from the colonists. In order for them to get the land back, they needed to pay a fee.


What is a pilgrim?

Pilgrims were separatists who wanted to separate from the Church of England. They were religious people, but left England to avoid persecution by the church and therefore did not want it to be reformed in America.


What was the name of the area in 1629?

The name of the area at the time was Massachusetts Bay Colony, named after the Massachusetts Bay Company. The name stuck until around the 1690s.


The first American what was made in 1690?

The first American newspaper was established in Boston in 1690. The publication was named "Publick Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestic" and it was short-lived.


Is it true or false that Boston took its name in the 1700's?

This is false. The city was named after the British city of Boston in 1630. The English city is where many of the colonists that came to America were from.


What act was placed on New England in 1733?

The Molasses Act was placed on New England in 1733, which placed taxes on imports. It was a large instigator for the events of the future and the colonist's attitude towards Britain.


In what year did a devastating fire wipe through the city?

A devastating fire, known as the Great Boston Fire, swept through the city in 1760. There had been fires prior to this, but none were as damaging as this one, which left thousands homeless.


What religious person was the first to inhabit Boston permanently?

Reverend William Blaxton was the first religious person to settle in New England permanently. He was given 50 acres of land on which to build but later sold it.


What did the Writs of Assistance allow Britain to do?

The Writs of Assistance allowed Britain to search the homes of the colonists as they pleased. It was put in place to catch anyone who was hiding anything they shouldn't have under acts like the Molasses Act.


Is it true or false that Boston is called the "Big Apple?"

This is false. The city is actually referred to as the "Birthplace of the American Revolution." Boston has a rich history when it comes to the American Revolution since it's citizens were so dissatisfied with Britain.


What sickness wiped out a large part of the Native American population in 1616?

Smallpox was a large epidemic that wiped out much of the population in New England. It was brought over by the colonists who came from England in 1616.


Which war wiped out a few Native American tribes in the area?

The King Phillip's War was fought by both the Native Americans and the citizens of New England in 1675. The Native American people wanted to rid the area of its new inhabitants and started the war that took out many of the tribes.


What took place in 1770?

The Boston Massacre took place in 1770. It began after British troops killed three people, and were acquitted of their crimes. It angered the colonists who already felt betrayed by the country.


What act was instated by Britain after the Boston Tea Party?

The Intolerable Act was created as punishment for the Boston Tea Party. It was a series of four acts that affected everything from the ports to housing in New England.


Is it true or false that the Massachusetts Bay Colony was also called the "Holy Commonwealth"?

This is true. The phrase was given to the area because the colonists were seeking refugee from the Church of England. They thought by forming their new colony they would escape the Church.


When did the American Revolution begin?

The American Revolution began in 1775 and went on for a few years before the British were defeated. America hence gained its independence, freeing Boston and many other colonies from British reign.


Who created the phrase, "No taxation without Representation"?

Reverend Jonathan Mayhew coined this term. It was used in retaliation of the British and the taxes they placed on the colonists.


Which of the following was an important export from Colonial Boston?

Fish was an important export for the colony. The city was located right along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, making fish an easily accessible commodity.


What did the Boston Tea Party protest?

The Boston Tea Party was a protest to taxes placed on imports by the British. Throwing the tea from British ships into the harbor was the only legal way that colonists could retaliate.


What did Paul Revere do?

Paul Revere warned the forces in Lexington of a British invasion that was soon to happen. Aside from his military service, he was also a successful businessman.


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