On December 16, 1773, The Sons of Liberty threw 342 chests of tea overboard from three ships in the Boston Harbor. On that night, over 100 Patriots, led by Samuel Adams, disguised themselves as Native Americans to protest the Tea Act of 1773. This act gave the East India Company an unfair monopoly on the tea trade by lowering their tea tax. Patriots in Charleston, New York, and Philadelphia persuaded merchants to reject the tea shipments from the East India Company, but Boston still received a shipment. After weeks of petitioning the governor to send back the tea and refuse to pay the import tax, the Sons of Liberty decided to take matters into their own hands. The Boston Tea Party and its aftermath further strained the relationship of the Patriots with the British Parliament.
”In about three hours from the time we went on board, we had thus broken and thrown overboard every tea chest to be found in the ship, while those in the other ships were disposing of the tea in the same way, at the same time.”—George Hewes
“The die is now cast. The colonies must either submit or triumph.”—King George III
”I never worked harder in my life. While we were unloading, the people collected in great numbers about the wharf to see what was going on. They crowded around us. Our sentries were not armed, and could not stop any who insisted on passing.” –Joshua Wyeth
”…was not the act of a lawless mob, but a principled protest and the only remaining option the people had to defend their Constitutional rights.”—Samuel Adams
The names of the three ships boarded during the Boston Tea Party were the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver
The Patriots emptied over 90,000 lbs of tea into the harbor that night. The tea was worth about $1,000,000 in today’s money.
Some men tried to stuff their pockets with tea to bring home during the protests—an act which Patriot leaders strongly condemned.
After the Boston Tea Party, the crews of all three ships confirmed that nothing on board had been harmed during the night and that the Patriots had even swept the decks for them.