The Tea Act of 1773 gave the British East India Company a monopoly on tea sales in America.
On the evening of December 16th, 1773, Bostonians, following the lead of the Sons of Liberty and disguised as Narragansett or Mohawk Indians (sources disagree), boarded three ships and destroyed 342 chests of East India Company tea, which they dumped in the harbor.
The destruction of the tea was the final straw for Parliament and led to the Intolerable Acts of 1774. These closed the port of Boston, instituted a military government, quartered troops among the population, and allowed all British officials charged with a crime to stand trial in Great Britain instead of the Colonies.
Many years later George Hewes, a 31–year–old shoemaker and participant, recalled “We then were ordered by our commander to open the hatches and take out all the chests of tea and throw them overboard. And we immediately proceeded to execute his orders, first cutting and splitting the chests with our tomahawks, so as thoroughly to expose them to the effects of the water.”
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