It can be said that tea is highly relevant, on every imaginable level. Economically, countries all over the world use profits gained from selling the plant to further their own national development. In the entertainment industry, television thrives due to commercials by popular tea brands, including Lipton. It has also made cameos in many songs, books, and films, including the much-loved Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Perhaps most importantly, tea is incredibly relative on a historical level, particularly when referring to the United States of America during the late 1700’s – or, more specifically, to the Boston Tea Party.
As commercial trade increased during the seventeenth century, tea soon found its way to the studies of the European elite, before trickling down to the middle and lower class. Around this same time, the East India Company was given a monopoly by Parliament over tea importation. As the plant became increasingly more popular, to further their profits, Parliament required the British colonists to import their tea solely from Great Britain. As can be expected, this did not go over well. Nevertheless, this tea was auctioned off in England and sold to colonists by merchants. A series of Parliamentary acts which increased the taxes upon teas resulted in British colonists withholding a ship (the Dartmouth) of taxed British tea, and debating whether to keep it or return it to England.
On November 29, a meeting was held at the Old South Meeting House in Boston. Samuel Adams wanted the captain of the Dartmouth to return the ship. Regardless, the Colonists were given twenty days to make a decision, or the cargo would be confiscated. As the deadline approached, Governor Hutchinson remained resolute in his decision to not allow the ships to leave. As Samuel Adams tried to maintain control of the December 17th meeting, colonists began to leave, and head in the direction of Boston Harbor. While the amount of men is debated (between fifteen and one hundred-forty, depending upon the source), they boarded the now three ships (The Beaver and The Eleanor had been sent after the Dartmouth) and dumped an overwhelming total of three hundred and forty-two chests of tea into the harbor.
Today, this event symbolizes the American colonists setting their collective food down regarding independence. In 1775, these taxes were eventually repealed, and a set of requirements were added, however, which increased tensions between the two nations. The Taxation of Colonies act in 1778 furthered sentiments of independence.