September 25, 1690

First Newspaper Published in the Colonies


On this day in 1690, Boston printer Benjamin Harris produced the first issue of Publick Occurrences, the first newspaper published in Britain's North American colonies. Readers were enthusiastic, but the governor was not. Under British law, "no person [was to] keep any printing-press for printing, nor [was] any book, pamphlet or other matter whatsoever" to be printed without the governor's "especial leave and license first obtained." In short, it was illegal to publish without the government's approval, and Harris had failed to obtain it. Within a few days, the governor and council had banned publication of the paper. Authorities collected and destroyed every copy they could find; the one copy known to have survived is preserved in the British Library.

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