Boston Massacre Historical Society


What was the Boston Massacre?

The Boston Massacre was the killing of five colonists by British regulars on March 5, 1770. It was the culmination of tensions in the American colonies that had been growing since Royal troops first appeared in Massachusetts in October 1768 to enforce the heavy tax burden imposed by the Townshend Acts.

The Boston Massacre Trials

The trials ended quietly. One took place 8 month after the incident. Defended by John Adams, Preston was fully acquitted. The second decision resulted in two convictions. The jury assembled for the trial did not have a single Bostonian. Read about other interesting facts and compare the documents and witness testimonies.

Timeline of Events

The first British troops arrived in Boston in October 1768 and from then onwards there was continuous antagonism between the people of Boston and the those trying to enforce the King's rule. The newspapers printed accounts of the 'atrocities' committed by the occupiers. British officers made every effort to prevent trouble.

The Famous Engraving

Paul Revere who also participated in the Boston Tea Party was quick to make the engraving but allowed several major inaccuracies.


Few facts are known about these people. Crispus Attucks was among them.

Student Essays

Sample student essays with different interpretations of the famous event.

Reenactment Video

Myths of the Boston Massacre

Starting from the name itself, this landmark event of the American Revolution proved to be a magnet for popular myths and misconceptions.

It was not called the “The Boston Massacre” until many years after it occurred in 1773. The first popular name popularized by Paul Revere was The Bloody Massacre in King Street. In the early 1800's it was also called the State Street Massacre.

In many history books the dramatic shooting is described as the spark that ignited the Revolutionary War. Perhaps one of the reasons is the loss of human lives. In reality there were several other historic milestones although less dramatic, that moved Boston towards the revolution. Townshend Acts, Stamp Act and Boston Tea Party were some of them.

One of the most interesting myths is that the scuffle on King’s street started from the accusations thrown at one of the British officers that he did not pay the wigmaker’s bill. This makes an interesting story and many of us may speculate that perhaps the most famous protest would not have occurred if the bill had been paid on time. But on the contrary to the popular myth, the British officer Captain John Goldfinch in fact settled his bill the day earlier.



Paul Revere's Engraving


Facts and Numbers



Unknown Facts

Alternative View

Detailed description


British View


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