Episode 6: The First Boston Revolution

Early one April morning, Boston rose up in revolt, overthrowing the widely hated royal governor.  A provincial militia surrounded the city, while the Royal Navy backed British authorities.  But this wasn’t Lexington or Concord.  This was the 1689 revolt against Governor Edmund Andros, 86 years to the day before Paul Revere’s ride.  Listen to this week’s episode to learn more!

The first Boston revolution


  • The letter that leading members of the town addressed to Andros demanding his surrender is above, and a full resolution version can be found at the Library of Congress site.
  • You can read the full text of the Boston Declaration of Grievances online, which was used to justify the rebellion, and later helped inspire the Declaration of Independence, thanks to the University of Michigan.
  • The composite below shows the real Sir Edmund Andros, from a portrait held by the MFA, next to the version portrayed by The Wire’s Jim True-Frost at the Commonwealth Museum.
  • Speaking of the Commonwealth Museum, they hold both the 1629 and 1691 charters of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.


This week in Boston History

  • The tragic Cocoanut Grove fire that killed 492 people is remembered by the Cocoanut Grove Coalition.
  • Read the letter written by an overconfident British officer predicting that the revolution wouldn’t last through the winter of 1775.