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Tea Party, vintage engraved illustration
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The Boston Tea Party signals growing disaffection among the colonies

Tea Party, vintage engraved illustration

In Boston Harbour, a group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians board three British tea ships and dump 342 chests of tea into the harbour.The midnight raid, popularly known as the "Boston Tea Party," was in protest of the British Parliament's Tea Act of 1773, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a virtual monopoly on the American tea trade.

The low tax allowed the East India Company to undercut even tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders, and many colonists viewed the act as another example of taxation tyranny.When three tea ships, the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver, arrived in Boston Harbour, the colonists demanded that the tea be returned to England. After Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused, Patriot leader Samuel Adams organised the "tea party" with about 60 members of the Sons of Liberty, his underground resistance group.

The British tea dumped in Boston Harbour on the night of 16 December was valued at some $18,000.Parliament, outraged by the blatant destruction of British property, enacted the Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts, in 1774. The Coercive Acts closed Boston to merchant shipping, established formal British military rule in Massachusetts, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America, and required colonists to quarter British troops. The colonists subsequently called the first Continental Congress to consider a united American resistance to the British.