On December 16, 1773, a small group of American colonists (many of them dressed up as Mohawk Indians) sneaked onto three ships in the Boston harbor, and dumped more than 300 cases of English tea overboard as a protest against British taxation. The British responded with several harsh measures that ended up uniting the colonists in their quest for independence.
The Boston Tea Party Historical Society is my pick of the day site because it has a little bit of everything: articles, pictures, biographies, a timeline, sample student essays, and quirky little-known facts. "The Bostonians had such a great time at the Tea Party, they repeated the act. Do you know when? The repeat performance occurred on March 7, 1774. The combined episodes cost the British a total of 3 million dollars, in today's money."
This one-page story includes a first person account of the evening's activities by George Hewes. He describes how he dressed up like an Indian, arrived at the dock, and was organized into a small group lead by Leonard Pitt. "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."
Subtitled "The Call for Independence: How the Declaration Came to Be," this History Channel article places the Boston Tea party within the larger context of America's separation from England. With hyperlinks to additional topics (such as the Townshend Acts, Boston Massacre, Intolerable Acts and Boston Tea Party) it provides a nice overview of America in the last half of the eighteenth century. The "Intolerable Acts [is a] popular name given to a series of laws passed by the British Parliament in March 1774 as punitive measures against the colony of Massachusetts."
After the band of fifty American "Mohawks" dumped 342 chests of Darjeeling tea into the Boston harbor, Britain's King George III retaliated by closing down the port. Visit this PBS site to learn more about English retribution against the colonies, and for the terrific hyperlinked timeline of the American Revolution from 1760 to 1791. Don't leave without testing your knowledge at the interactive Road to Revolution quiz.
The Tax History Museum ( a "virtual museum of United States tax history") provides important insight into why the Americans chose those tea ships as a platform for venting their anger at the British King and Parliament. Learn about the Townshend duty included in the price of East India Company tea, and why the colonists felt this was " underhanded way to foist the tax, and Parliamentary taxation power, onto the colonies."