Did you know that the residents of Boston once threw a huge tea party in Boston Harbor? It was a revolutionary event that didn’t look anything like the tea parties you might throw for your friends when you’re playing!
On a cold night in December 1773, a group of American colonists called the Sons of Liberty — some of whom were disguised as Native Americans — boarded three British ships in Boston Harbor and dumped 342 crates of tea into the water. This event, which became known as the Boston Tea Party, was one of the major events that led to the American Revolution.
Why did the colonists do this? It was their way of protesting what they believed were unfair taxes being imposed upon them by Great Britain. They didn’t think it was right that Great Britain could force them to buy tea from the East India Trading Company (a British company) and pay high taxes on the tea (due to the Tea Act) — all without having a voice, or representation, in the British government.
The rallying cry the colonists used was “no taxation without representation.” They believed they deserved to have representatives to express their views in the British government if that government wanted to impose taxes upon them.
At first, the colonists refused to pay taxes on the tea and asked that it be returned to England. When the British government refused, they decided to dump the tea into the harbor instead. If you’re wondering what the big deal was, you should know that the containers of tea weighed about 90,000 pounds, which in today’s money would be worth about $1 million!
Even though many of the colonists had worn disguises, the British government knew who was responsible. It responded with a series of even more taxes and a set of laws known as the Intolerable Acts. Just two years later, the American Revolution would begin!
Here are some other fun facts about the Boston Tea Party:
- The three British ships that had their tea dumped overboard were the Dartmouth, the Eleanor and the Beaver.
- Paul Revere was one of the people who participated in the Boston Tea Party.
- The tea that was dumped into Boston Harbor was originally from China.