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History along the Freedom Trail

Boston is a city full of history and notable landmarks that played an important role in the American Revolution at the end of the 18th century. 16 important points are now connected by a line of red bricks along the streets called the Freedom Trail. The route is 2.5 kilometres long and starts from Boston Common, America’s oldest public park.

The American Revolutionary War had its roots in Boston with the famous Boston Tea Party in 1773. In protest against the high taxes on tea introduced by the British in their colonies, 60 revolutionaries (‘Sons of Liberty’) boarded the ships anchored with their cargo of tea and threw it all overboard into the harbour. Dissatisfaction with British rule had reached the boiling point and a revolt began that would turn out to be the start of the decisive battle for independence. 13 colonies joined forces and declared independence in 1776, even though the war lasted until 1783.

Boston Common: starting point of the Freedom Trail
Boston Common: starting point of the Freedom Trail

Boston

Massachusetts State House

Boston by foot

The Freedom Trail itself is an interesting history lesson and also a great way to explore the various areas of Boston by foot. You can do so by taking the services of a costumed tour guide from the visitor’s centre at Boston Common, or pick up a map and follow the trail on your own. From the visitor’s centre, the route takes you past the Massachusetts State House with its beautiful golden dome, and onwards to the Granary Burying Grounds where Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Robert Treat Paine are all buried: 3 signers of the Declaration of Independence on 4 July 1776.

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View the route

The Freedom Trail

Walking and shopping

An important stop along the Freedom Trail is Faneuil Hall. This building, also called the ‘Cradle of Liberty’, is where the Americans first rebelled in 1764 against the Sugar Act and Stamp Act imposed by the English. These were taxes levied on sugar, newspapers and stamps, amongst other things. Faneuil Hall is also where Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers, often organised meetings. His statue stands on the square in front of Faneuil Hall.

The Faneuil Market Place is found in this same square where you can combine history with shopping. The 3 old market halls house dozens of boutiques, chain stores and restaurants. It’s the perfect stop to buy a fun souvenir or tasty snack. It is also a favourite spot for street entertainers in the summer.

Faneuil Hall
Paul Revere House

American hero

The Freedom Trail also takes you along the North End, the Italian neighbourhood of Boston, with its rugged old-world charm. This is where the Paul Revere House is located, the oldest house in Boston (1680). Paul Revere was an American hero, famous for his ‘midnight ride’ in 1775 to the town of Lexington, when he rode his horse to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British were coming to arrest them. The house is now a museum and can be visited for a small entrance fee.