History of Tea: Boston
The Boston Tea Party history: how it played its part in the leading up to American War of Independence.
What Boston tea Party, you may ask. Indeed, Boston Tea Party history is not so well-known here in the UK. For the Americans, tea holds considerable power to this day as a beverage that united a country in revolution.
While the Dutch brought tea to Europe at the beginning of the seventeenth century, Peter Stuyvesant, Dutch governor in the American colonies, brought the first tea to New Amsterdam in 1647; interestingly enough, tea arrived in the New World ten years before it made its way to England. Early settlers quickly learned to love their tea. In 1674, however, New Amsterdam was captured by the English and renamed New York and British institutions such as coffeehouse and pleasure gardens were introduced.
The tax on tea in the New World was as heavily taxed as it was in Britain which brought about disastrous consequences for the British. On December 16,1773, a band of angry colonists gathered at Griffin’s Wharf in Boston, disguised as native American Indians. Armed with pistols and hatchets, they attacked three East Indian Company ships and dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbour, in protest.These acts among others ultimately hastened the American War of Independence.
Drinking tea had now become unpatriotic, and citizens showed their support by drinking coffee and other substitutes such as chocolate.
Boston Gazette and its part in the history of the Boston Tea Party
The Boston Tea Party first appeared in the Boston Gazette. But the impact it made on the public went beyond the content of its stories. It wasn't merely telling a story; it reflected a growing opposition to the actions of the British government and how Americans were being denied their rights. The Boston Gazette became the important mouthpiece for Samuel Adams and others who were increasingly against the British government.
After the war, people started to drink tea again, and eventually the United States started importing tea directly from China. Tea never became the national obsession in America as it did in England, but, nevertheless, the United States has been very involved in the tea trade since the early nineteenth century.
Three of America’s first millionaires
T. H. Perkins of Boston, Stephen Girard of Philadelphia, and John Jacob Astor of New York. They bypassed the powerful East India Company and brought tea directly to America. John Jacob Astor, in particular, earned a massive fortune through trade. He began in 1808 with the American Fur Company, then bought five clipper ships and held a monopoly on the fur trade to China. Astor (below) then turned to real estate in New York, where he made even more money.