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The Boston Tea Party

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The Boston Tea Party

230 years ago there was an uprising against the representatives of the British motherland in Boston harbor. Some Bostonians refused to bring their tea loads ashore to English ships. This action was an expression of the New England rebellion against British authorities. How it came about and what exactly happened you can find out here:


Photo: Boston, the cradle of the USA.
Boston in the 18th century

Boston was one of the most important cities in New England, where the merchants in particular had made great fortunes. Coastal and export trade flourished. The city was mainly populated by English emigrants. Fish and handicrafts were shipped to England and on the way back the ships brought cane sugar and slaves with them.

While the merchants were doing fine, the rest of the population was busy making sure to survive. The English colonial war with France and the war against the Indians also had an effect in Boston. Since the end of the 17th century there has been repeated fighting on various fronts.

The armed conflicts under King George II around 1740 and 1754 reached their climax. In these wars ships were destroyed and many men were killed. The city was full of widows and orphans. In 1755 the city was shaken by a severe earthquake and another five years later a major fire devastated entire streets, leaving many people homeless.

New England as a source of money

In 1763 England had lost the war against France under King George III and Boston was a city in ruins. But just as the Bostonians were about to start rebuilding again, the power struggle between the English crown and the colonies began again. After the long, costly and costly war, England absolutely needed income again, and they wanted to get that from its colonies.

The king passed numerous laws, including the colonies' own currency and trade with Latin America. In 1765 a law was passed in England after tax documents had to be taxed. The New Englanders were supposed to pay but had no own representatives in the English parliament.

Power struggle between crown and colony

The Bostonians were outraged. By these laws they found themselves at the mercy of English power and arbitrariness. They protested furiously and set fire to the governor's house. The so-called sons of freedom were considered to be the leaders of the protest movement. Among them was the politician Samuel Adams. English goods were boycotted in protest, that is: not bought or sold. When King George saw his income dwindling, he lifted the tax on the deeds again, which was celebrated in Boston with a big festival.

Taxes as a sign of power

However, the joy did not last long, because King George did not put up with such a thing. He imposed new taxes on certain goods such as paper, lead and tea on the colonies. The Bostonians reacted with anger. When Samuel Adams railed against these renewed taxes in the Massachusetts Parliament, the governor had parliament unceremoniously closed. The citizens of Boston stormed the streets and 4,000 British soldiers were dispatched. Again and again there were violent clashes and on March 5, 1770 five citizens died and others were injured when soldiers shot in a demonstration. On the same day England decreed the repeal of the laws. Only the tea tax was retained. This was to make it clear that England was still in control and actually determined what happened in New England.

Boston Tea Party

In November 1773, the citizens of Boston protested against the tea tax. Three British ships that had arrived in Boston Harbor were prevented from unloading their 342 cases of tea on board. However, the Royal Governor of Massachusetts Thomas Hutchinson also refused to allow the tea ships to return to England until duty was paid.

On the evening of December 16, a group of around 50 Bostonians, instigated by Samuel Adams, disguised as Indians, boarded the ships and threw all the tea boxes overboard into Boston harbor. The population cheered them from the country. This promotion was named Boston Tea Party.

Trigger for the War of Independence

This liberal demonstration was too much for the English. When the Boston administration refused to pay for the tea, the British closed the port. They dissolved the Massachusetts government and installed a military governor. Houses were cleared and troops quartered for it. Many Bostonians had to leave the city. The Boston Tea Party intensified the conflict between the colonies and Great Britain and eventually this conflict culminated three years later in the North American War of Independence.

-from-16.12.03 text / photo CD US Landmarks & Travel 2

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