If in my last historical themed post I talked about ships worth building and racing in the name of tea, today I want to share some facts that you might not know about the time when it was worth sinking tea ships. That’s right, I’m talking about the Boston Tea Party which was famous for the sinking of tea coming from Britain, thus making the world’s largest brew! It was also the spark of the American Revolution so if this tea story is not worth talking about, I don’t know what is.
Did you know?
- Roughly 46 tons of tea were dumped into the Boston harbour on the 16th of December 1773. This would have been the equivalent of £10,000 worth of tea back then or over £1,500,000 today!
- The cargo was mainly made up of black tea, referred to as Bohea, but it also contained some green tea and its original source was China.
- The ships were actually American, they belonged to two families – the Rotch families from Nantucket and John Rowe from Boston, carrying tea from England from the East India Company.
- One of the ships had actually been in port waiting for the tea to be unloaded for almost 20 days. The tea could only be brought ashore when the tax was paid and 20 days was the deadline for it.
- 6,000 people gathered to discuss the tea crisis as they felt the tax was too high. The decision was neither to pay the tax nor send the tea back. Not the most concrete decision, really, but they sure found the middle ground!
- This was a protest against the tea tax imposed by Britain but also the monopoly of the East India Company, which was undercutting other merchants on price aided by the British Government relief on certain taxes and duties.
- When the rebels, known as the Sons of Liberty and led by Samuel Adams, were given the go ahead for their plan, they shouted “let’s make Boston Harbor a teapot tonight”.
- The Boston Tea Party rebels were dressed as Mohawk Indians and painted their faces which acted as both a disguise and the symbol of wanting to be identified as Americans, rather than British colonists.
- The tea shipment coming from the East India Company was also refused in Charleston, New York and Philadelphia as a sign of protest, but only Bostonians took it one step further.
- Even though over 60-100 (sources vary) people took part, only one was ever arrested for the Boston Tea Party ‘ocean brew’.
Hope you enjoyed this. Feel free to share with me other historical information or ask me to look into something for you.
Thanks for reading,