The Bloody Massacre Perpetrated in King Street, Boston, on March 5th 1770 by a Party of the 29th Regiment


In Boston in the late 1760s, the stirrings of what became the American Revolution began as residents grew angry about the heavy taxation to which they were subjected. With the Townshend Acts of 1767, the British placed taxes on imported goods, including glass, lead, paint, paper, and tea. To enforce the acts, they imposed a heavy military presence on the Massachusetts colonists that exacerbated tensions between the local populace and representatives of the crown. On March 5, 1770, British sentries guarding the Boston Customs House were surrounded by jeering Bostonians slinging hard-packed snowballs. The small group of soldiers lost control when one of their regiment was struck. Despite explicit orders to the contrary, they shot into a crowd of civilians, killing three and injuring eight others, two of them mortally. This sensationalized portrayal of the skirmish was engraved, printed, and sold by future Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere. Revere copied the print from a design by Henry Pelham for an engraving later published under the title "The Fruits of Arbitrary Power, or the Bloody Massacre." Revere's print appeared on or about March 28, 1770. Among those injured in the massacre was the African-American sailor Crispus Attucks.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Paul Revere, Boston, Massachusetts


Title in Original Language

The Bloody Massacre Perpetrated in King Street Boston on March 5th 1770 by a Party of the 29th Regt.

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print : engraving with watercolor, on laid paper ; 25.8 x 33.4 centimeters

Last updated: May 24, 2017