Colonists who destroyed imported tea during the Boston Tea Party (here re-enacted in 1974) dressed like Mohawks. They did this to disguise their identities, as well as align themselves with America, not Great Britain.

Photograph by George F. Mobley, National Geographic
  • On December 16, 1773, a group of American colonists calling themselves the “Sons of Liberty” boarded three merchant ships in Boston Harbor and poured all their cargo—342 chests of tea—into the water, an event now referred to as the Boston Tea Party. The event protested tea imports, which colonists had boycotted due to “taxation without representation.”

    The British government responded to the Boston Tea Party with a series of laws, called the Intolerable Acts by colonists. These acts closed Boston Harbor, ended self-governance and some judicial oversight in Massachusetts, and strengthened laws requiring colonists to support British troops in America.

    Many veterans of the Boston Tea Party went on to lead the American Revolution, including Paul Revere, John Hancock, Sam Adams, Patrick Henry—and Benedict Arnold.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    cargo Noun

    goods carried by a ship, plane, or other vehicle.

    government Noun

    system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

    harbor Noun

    part of a body of water deep enough for ships to dock.

    Encyclopedic Entry: harbor
    import Verb

    to bring in a good or service from another area for trade.

    liberty Noun


    merchant Noun

    person who sells goods and services.

    protest noun, verb

    demonstration against a policy or action.

    representation Noun

    action taken on behalf of another person, group of people, or organization.

    revolution Noun

    orbit, or a complete journey of an object around a more massive object.