Boston Tea Party
On May 10, 1773, parliament authorized the East India Tea Co to export a half a million pounds of tea to the American colonies for the purpose of selling it without imposing upon the company the usual duties and tariffs. It was their intention to try to save the corrupt and mismanaged company from bankruptcy. The effect was that the company could undersell any other tea available in the colonies, including smuggled tea. The disruption to American commerce was unacceptable to many, including Sam Adams of Boston.
On November 27, 1773, three ships loaded with such tea landed at Boston and were prevented from unloading their cargo. Fearing that the tea would be seized for failure to pay customs duties, and eventually become available for sale, Adams and the Boston Whigs arranged a solution. On the night of 16DEC73, a group of colonists, thinly disguised as Mohawk Indians, snuck aboard the ships and dumped 342 chests of tea in to Boston Harbor.
The sabotage was denounced by Boston's less radical population, and applauded by those more radical. England's response was the passing of the Intolerable Acts which precipitated the forming of the First Continental Congress to consider united resistance.