The Tea Act Facts

The Tea Act Facts
The Tea Act was an Act of Great Britain's Parliament to impose a tax on tea and reduce the massive tea surplus of the British East India Company in London, a company in financial trouble. The Tea Act was part of a group of taxes imposed on the colonies by Britain called The Townsend Acts. When the Townsend Acts were repealed the Tea Act remained in place. North Americans were already buying illegal tea that was being smuggled into the colonies, and Great Britain wanted to curb the practice while saving the British company. The resistance to being forced to buy the more expensive tea from the British East India Company culminated in a protest referred to as the Boston Tea Party, on December 16th, 1773. Colonists boarded the tea ships in the Boston Harbor and dumped the tea overboard. These actions helped to fuel the eventual rebellion against Britain in the American War of Independence which began in April 1775.
Interesting The Tea Act Facts:
The tea from the British East India Company was more expensive than what could be imported from elsewhere - and they had a monopoly of the sale of 'legal' tea in the 13 colonies.
The smuggler's tea being brought into the colonies meant that the British East India Company's tea was left to rot in warehouses in London.
Despite the reduced price of tea thanks to the Tea Act, colonists did not appreciate the monopoly being imposed on them or the taxes they were being forced to pay.
One of the main leaders in the protest in the colonies against the Tea Tax was John Hancock.
Colonists refused to allow the ships to unload their tea in the harbors in America, and the ships often sailed home with full cargo.
The British East India Company had to ship the tea directly to the colonies instead of to London first, which helped to reduce the price. However this did not improve the response of Americans to the tea. They still resented the monopoly and the taxes.
Approximately 900,000 pounds of tea was being smuggled into the colonies each year from the Dutch, while only 562,000 pounds of tea was being bought from the British East India Company.
The cheaper tea being smuggled into the colonies was not as good as the tea from the British East India Company, but those who wanted to protest British taxation and control had no problem drinking the lesser quality tea.
In 1770 when most of the Townsend Taxes were repealed the tea tax remained. The Townsend Acts had been met with so much resistance that the British sent troops in 1768 to occupy Boston. This had led to the Boston Massacre in 1770, and the subsequent decision to repeal most of the taxes of The Townsend Act.
The Tea Act was introduced by the Rt. Hon. Lord North, KG, MP, in 1773. It wasn't officially repealed until 1861 by the Statute Law Revision Act, despite becoming a 'dead letter' after 1778 when a number of taxes were repealed in Parliament.


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