Boston is the capital city of Massachusetts and the unofficial capital of the historic New England region. With a population of 590,000 inside the city limits and over 4.4 million in the greater Metro area, Boston is also the largest city in New England. Boston was originally settled by Native Americans of the Massachusett and Pawtucket nations, but these were abruptly driven out when English Puritans arrived in the 1630s. It was the Puritans who primarily shaped Boston's religious and cultural heritage as we know it today. These strict Calvinists worked hard, established businesses, laid out effective cities, and founded Harvard University as part of their emphasis on education.
Today, Boston is a cosmopolitan city that embraces people of all faiths and none. Its rich ethnic and religious composition began in the 1800s, when successive waves of immigrants changed the predominantly Puritan landscape forever. The Irish were the first to arrive, followed by thousands of Eastern Europeans and Italians. Most of these new Bostonians were Catholic, with tens of thousands of Jews arriving as well. By 1900, there were 53 synagogues in the Greater Boston. In 1894, the Mother Church of Christian Science was erected in the city. Since then, many other faiths have established a strong presence in Boston, including Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons and others.