A circle of cobblestones in front of the Old State House still stands to commemorate the Boston Massacre that occurred in 1770. When tension between British soldiers and colonists came to a head, a minor fight erupted into a riot. Rocks, fists, and insults were thrown as the soldiers fired into the crowd, killing five Bostonians. At the time, 2,000 soldiers occupied the town of only 16,000. The troops forced their way in to defend officers from the hostile (though unarmed) crowd.
The Boston Massacre was an important moment in early US history. The violence toward colonists served to turn public opinion against the Redcoats soldiers, some of whom were tried for murder. Figures such as Paul Revere and John Adams were instrumental in the aftermath of the incident. Some have even called it the spark that started the Revolutionary War. For many it is seen as the start of the rebellion against British occupation in colonial America.
The Boston Massacre site can be found at the intersection of Congress and State streets in downtown Boston. The site is part of the Freedom Trail that runs throughout the city.