Colonial Reenactors Will Dump Tea Into Boston Harbor Tonight

Wikipedia // Public Domain
Wikipedia // Public Domain / Wikipedia // Public Domain

On December 16, 1773, a beverage became the symbol of a revolution after angry colonists dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor. Today, colonial reenactors will toss the bitter brew into the harbor for the first time since the infamous Boston Tea Party, the Associated Press reports.

Each December, members of the Old South Association, the Boston Tea Party Museum, and a bevy of volunteers reenact the historical protest, Smithsonian’s Erin Blakemore writes. This year, London’s East India Company—which provided the tea that fueled the original mutiny—decided to join in on the fun, donating 100 pounds of the beverage for historical accuracy.

For those of us who slept through history class, the Boston Tea Party occurred because the East India Company had too little cash—and too much tea. Britain decided to help the company out by instating a heavy tax on the product. Of course, the British government had other motives. They also wanted to nip Dutch tea smuggling in the bud, and demonstrate their financial and political dominion over the Colonists.

The Tea Act made the colonists so mad that, during a town hall meeting, they decided to march down to the harbor and toss the tea leaves into the water. For years, the participants’ identities were a secret—but the rebellion went down in history, and eventually led to the beginnings of the Revolutionary War. How many other tea parties can boast a similar claim to fame?

Tonight's tea dumping will occur at about 8:00 p.m. ET. Check out more information here.

[h/t Associated Press, Smithsonian]