History Biography Geography Science Games

American Revolution

Boston Tea Party

History >> American Revolution

The Boston Tea Party occurred on December 16, 1773. It was one of the key events leading up to the American Revolution.

Was it a big, fun party with tea?

Not really. There was tea involved, but nobody was drinking it. The Boston Tea Party was a protest by the American Colonists against the British government. They staged the protest by boarding three trade ships in Boston Harbor and throwing the ships' cargo of tea overboard into the ocean. They threw 342 chests of tea into the water. Some of the colonists were disguised as Mohawk Indians, but the costumes didn't fool anyone. The British knew who had destroyed the tea.

Boston Tea Party Painting
The Boston Tea Party by Nathaniel Currier
Why did they do it?

At first, throwing tea into the ocean dressed as Mohawks might seem a bit silly, but the colonists had their reasons. Tea was a favorite drink among the British and the colonies. It also was a major source of income to the East India Trading company. This was a British company and the colonies were told they could only buy tea from this one company. They were also told they had to pay high taxes on the tea. This tax was called the Tea Act.

Old South Meeting House
Old South Meeting House by Ducksters
Patriots met at the Old South Meeting House
to discuss taxation prior to the Boston Tea Party
This didn't seem fair to the colonies as they were not represented in British Parliament and didn't have a say on how the taxes should be done. They refused to pay taxes on the tea and asked that the tea be returned to Great Britain. When it wasn't, they decided to protest Britain's unfair taxes by throwing the tea into the ocean.

Was it planned?

It's unclear to historians if the protest was planned. There had been a big town meeting earlier that day led by Samuel Adams to discuss the tea taxes and how to fight them. However, no one is quite sure if Samuel Adams planned the destruction of the tea or if a bunch of people just got mad and went and did it unplanned. Samuel Adams did later say that it was the act of people defending their rights and not the act of an angry mob.

It was just tea, what's the big deal?

It actually was a lot of tea. The 342 containers totaled 90,000 pounds of tea! In today's money that would be around a million dollars in tea.

Interesting Facts about the Boston Tea Party
Activities Learn more about the Revolutionary War:

Works Cited

History >> American Revolution

Ducksters Footer Gif with Ducks

About Ducksters Privacy Policy 


This site is a product of TSI (Technological Solutions, Inc.), Copyright 2024, All Rights Reserved. By using this site you agree to the Terms of Use.