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Boston Tea Party

the Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party (1773)

Dec 16

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

“... 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, 1773

The Boston Tea Party was a direct protest by colonists in Boston against the Tea Tax that had been imposed by the British government. Boston patriots, dressed as Mohawk Indians, raided three British ships in Boston harbor and dumped 342 containers of tea into the harbor. The Boston Tea Party arose from the resentment of Boston colonists towards the British which had been fueled by protest activities by patriots in the Sons of Liberty organization.

Boston Tea Party

The infamous "Boston Tea Party," took place this night,  December 16th, 1773.


This famed act of American colonial defiance served as a protest against taxation. Seeking to boost the troubled East India Company, British Parliament adjusted import duties with the passage of the Tea Act in 1773. While consignees in Charleston, New York, and Philadelphia rejected tea shipments, merchants in Boston refused to concede to Patriot pressure. On the night of December 16, 1773, Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty, disguised as Mohawk Indians, boarded three ships in the Boston harbor and with hatchets and tomahawks, smashed open and threw 342 chests of tea overboard.


This resulted in the passage of the punitive Coercive Acts in 1774 and pushed the two sides closer to war.

The 342 chests, that were destroyed at the Boston Tea Party, consisted of several different types of tea:

  • 240 chests of Bohea (black) - the cheapest type

  • 15 chests of Congou -  a superior type of black Bohea tea

  • 10 chests of Souchong (a superior black)

  • 60 chests of of Singlo (green tea, more expensive than black)

  • 17 chests of Hyson (the most desirable green tea)

Three months after the Boston Tea Party, Bostonians once again attempted the same feat and 60 disguised men boarded the Fortune in March 1774, forced the crew below deck and dumped tea chests into the harbor. This time, however, only 30 chests were sent overboard.

This iconic 1846 lithograph above by Nathaniel Currier was entitled "The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor"; the phrase "Boston Tea Party" had not yet become standard.  And contrary to Currier's depiction, few of the men dumping the tea were actually disguised as Native Americans.


If you have had your fill of tea for the day, you might try the "Boston Tea Party" cocktail containing the diverse ingredients of gin, rum, vodka, triple sec, amaretto, coffee liqueur, Grand Marnier, sweet and sour mix, and Coca-Cola!  Note the distinct absence of tea.  

And for a history of the Boston Tea Party, click the illustration below by an unknown artist from the American School.

Boston Tea Party

Click the dance cribs or description below to link to a printable version of the dance!

Boston Tea Party

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