Ushering in the Revolution: Facts About the Boston Tea Party

tea partyOne of the most popular chapters leading to the American Revolution was the Boston Tea Party, which took place on December 16, 1773, at Griffin’s Wharf in Boston. Here are some facts about this important moment in history.

What was the Boston Tea Party and why did it happen?

The Boston Tea Party was the destruction of 340 chests of tea from the British East India Company. The tea weighed about 46 tons, or 92,000 pounds, and cost £9,659 at the time. Estimates put the cost at $1M in today’s currency.

There were several factors that brought about this event, including what James Otis was said to have termed “taxation without representation,” relating to the taxes levied on merchant colonists who were not represented in Parliament. American colonists felt the Crown was unfair in taxing them to recover the expenses that the British Empire incurred during the French and Indian War. The 1767 Townshend Revenue Act and the 1773 Tea Act, among others, played a role in making the Boston Tea Party happen, as well.

Who was behind the Boston Tea Party?

A group of Patriots, led by Samuel Adams and known as the Sons of Liberty, organized the Boston Tea Party. Men from all walks of life made up the list of members of the Sons of Liberty, including common laborers, artisans, and merchants. John Adams, James Otis, Dr. Joseph Warren, John Hancock, Josiah Quincy, and Paul Revere were some of the more notable members.

The Sons of Liberty disguised themselves as Mohawk Indians when they boarded Eleanor, Dartmouth, and the Beaver, and jettisoned the three ships’ tea cargo into the Boston Harbor. Hundreds of members participated.

Why is the Boston Tea Party famous?

The “destruction of the tea,” as it was unimaginatively known for a long time (until the early 1820s), is considered as the American colonists’ most significant act of defiance against British rule. It created a significant spark leading to the American Revolution, which began on April 19, 1775 in Massachusetts.

Unknown to many, three months after the Boston Tea Party, another “destruction of the tea” occurred. This time the ship was the Fortune, as 60 men were dumped 30 tea chests were overboard. This smaller version of the original did not gain as much attention because of its smaller scale, but it was nonetheless also an important part of history.