How Boston got its name

A group of English Puritans founded the Plymouth Colony in 1620, just to the south of Massachusetts Bay.  Their leader, Puritan lawer and Governor John Winthrop announced the foundation of the town of Boston on September 7, 1630 with the place named after the town of Boston, in the English county of Lincolnshire, from which several prominent colonists emigrated. The name also derives from Saint Botolph, who is the patron saint of travelers.

The Puritan settlers initially named the peninsula that would later become the heart of Boston as “Trimountaine,” the name was derived from a set of three prominent hills on the peninsula, two of which were leveled as the city was modernized. The middle one, Beacon Hill, shortened between 1807 and 1824, remains to this day as a prominent feature of the Boston cityscape. Tremont Street still carries an alternative form of the original name.