Recent political movements aside, there’s no question that the mother of all tea parties was the one that took place in Boston a few centuries ago. That was on December 16, 1773, to be precise. As noted in this article a little while back, it’s an event that recently gained its own spiffy new tourist attraction – the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.
Some of us tea lovers may cringe a bit at the notion of so much tea wasted in the pursuit of political ends, no matter how worthy the cause. But what many people may not be aware of is that there were a number of lesser-known tea parties that took place in the colonies in the course of the year that followed this most monumental of events.
As you may recall, if you were paying attention during your American history classes (of course you were paying attention), that while the relationship between colonists and colonizers always tends to be an edgy one and while history is not always a simple matter of cause and effect, a good deal of the fuss in this case had to do with the passage of the Tea Act by the British Parliament, in May, 1773.
To simplify the matter a bit, let’s just say that this act was designed to benefit the powerful British East India Company. The colonists felt that these benefits came at their expense and just over seven months later expressed their dissatisfaction at the Boston Tea Party.
Which, as already noted, was hardly the end of a matter which would eventually lead to an all-out war. Just about a week later, in Charleston, South Carolina, a group of colonists seized a substantial quantity of tea from a British ship, while a few days after that, in Philadelphia, another captain was strongly advised to turn tail and run rather than land his shipment of tea. Another somewhat milder version of the original tea party took place in Boston in March, 1774, while the next month saw one shipment being turned away and another dumped in New York City.
That still was not the end of the matter, with incidents also taking place in 1774 in New Jersey, Maryland, Maine, and North Carolina. All of which is beyond the scope of this article to address in any detail. For more on the North Carolina and Maryland disturbances, look here. For a good overview of most of the major incidents, try this article.
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