The Boston Tea Party. After the French and Indian War the British government was struggling financially. To bolster their funds they chose to tax the colonies. The American colonials however, refused to pay taxes when they had no representation in Parliament. The Crown came up with a plan.
They lifted the taxes on other goods, but left the tax on tea in place. At the same time they gave the struggling East India Company a monopoly on sales of tea to the colonies, and gave the Company tax breaks so that they could sell the tea to the colonies at the cheapest price…even after the colonies paid their tax on the tea. The Colonists however refused to buy the tea, realizing the real issue was being taxed without representation and not wanting to set a precedent. Ships loaded with tea were turned away from New York and Philadelphia, and the cargo of tea was even impounded in Charleston. Then on this date in 1773 colonists led by Samuel Adams, dressed as Mohawk Indians, made a midnight raid on three tea ships in Boston Harbor, throwing the cargo overboard. The British responded by limiting Colonists rights even further; the stage was set for revolution.
The Boston Tea Party. In an effort to bolster the struggling British East India Company, the British Parliament passed the Tea Act of 1773, refunding taxes the company paid in England while retaining those paid by American colonists. The debate concerning taxation without representation had been raging for years, and this was, in a way, the last straw. In several cities protests had forced cargo ships to return to England with their holds still full of tea. But in Boston the British Governor of Massachusetts refused to allow 3 ships there to leave. So on this date Sam Adams led a contingent of the Sons of Liberty, dressed as Mohawk Indians aboard the ships and dumped their cargo of tea into Boston Harbor. This enraged Parliament, whose responses would light the fuse on the American Revolution.
The Great White Fleet, a task group of 16 American battleships and their support ships, sets sail from Hampton Roads, Virginia beginning a world good will tour, circumnavigating the Earth. President Theodore Roosevelt had long been a proponent of sea power in line with the teachings of Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan, that a strong Navy could project authority world wide. The fleet of white warships were to provide cordial visits to ports in nations that were potential adversaries, most prominently, Japan. There were many other purposes, such as improving morale and patriotism during a depression at home, and research to improve the seagoing capabilities of the US Navy. The Great White Fleet displayed to the world something that still stands today, although greatly enhanced. That the US Navy could project American influence anywhere in the world. The journey would take 14 months until February of 1909, and would take the fleet through the dangerous Straits of Magellan and across the Pacific. The event was a sensation the world over, as moving so many coal powered ships so far was a remarkable achievement.
Today in History, December 16: 1497 – Bartolomeu Dias! Remember his name from history class? Probably not. In 1488 Dias, a Portuguese explorer, discovered the Cape of Good Hope and sailed around the Horn of Africa…he named it the Cape of Storms…and after his crew bucked up, turned back for home. In 1497 Vasco da Gama, another Portuguese explorer, and whose name you probably remember, made the same trip, but kept going…opening up India and the Orient to European trade by sail. Portugal (and it’s economy) would rule Asian trade for a century as a result.