The American Revolution is a period in history which is widely taught to new generations across the West. As part of the continuing downfall of the British Empire, in a dispute over taxes, members of the Sons of Liberty took a stand against Chinese tea being sold in the Thirteen Colonies. Specifically, chests of tea bound for the Colonies through the British East India Company were thrown overboard in protest.
But that, of course, is only half the story! As always, we are here to run through more than a few interesting facts about the Boston Tea Party – a period in history most of us likely know – but how much do you really remember? Let’s take a look.
The Sons of Liberty took to ships boarding in Boston Harbour, some even disguising themselves as Native Americans, and took to throwing around 342 chests of Chinese tea into the water. If you know anything at all about tea, then you’ll know these chests were ruined!
The Boston Tea Party was a name that the media gave to the event around 50 years after it actually happened. At the time, people referred to it as the less catchy ‘destruction of the tea’.
The Sons took protest thanks to the fact that the Thirteen Colonies had no other avenue for buying tea, and that the British were changing the taxlaws imposed on top. These issues arose as a result of the British Parliamentary Tea Act.
It’s a misnomer that the protestors were fighting against a tax hike. In fact, they were fighting against their lack of input in the Tea Act. The tax measure technically reduced prices paid on the export.
No one is quite sure if the Boston Tea Party – which was hardly a party at all – was pre-meditated, or if it was a random act of protest. Historians note that Samuel Adams had intended to fight the Tea Tax, though it’s unclear quite if he had a role in the Tea Party or not.
The loss from the tea was substantial. In today’s money, the Boston Tea Party would have thrown away crates worth $1 million.
The exact members of the Boston Tea Party still remain shrouded in mystery. While some identities are assumed, no one is quite sure who made up the total mob.
The ships the Boston Tea Party attacked were, in fact, American. Any claims that the ships came from the King of England are misnomers.
Much of the tea was green, and all of it was Chinese – again, unlike sources which suggest the ransacking overthrew a batch of traditional Indian blends.
One of the boats may have actually given the Party a bit more than tax to think about – smallpox, in fact! The Beaver, one of three ships set upon in the harbour, had recently emerged from a two-week smallpox quarantine.
The Boston Tea Party led to several copycat protests, some of which occurred in New York and in South Carolina.
Do you know any facts about the Boston Tea Party that we missed? Share them here in the comments section below!