The Boston Tea Party was a political protest that took place in December 1773, when American colonists boarded three British ships and threw their cargo of tea into the harbor. The event is widely considered to be one of the major catalysts for the American Revolution. It was organized by a group known as the Sons of Liberty, who were protesting taxation without representation imposed by Britain on its colonies in North America.
The night before, around 60 members of this group had gathered at an old waterfront warehouse near Griffin's Wharf and planned out their mission: they would board several vessels owned by the East India Company and dump all of their cargo—which included hundreds of chests filled with valuable tea leaves—into the ocean below. On December 16th, dressed as Native Americans to conceal their identities from authorities, they executed their plan successfully; over 342 crates containing 90 thousand pounds worth of tea were destroyed within hours.
This act caused considerable outrage among both British officials and citizens back home in England. In response to this incident, King George III declared that the Massachusetts Bay Colony was now under direct control from London, while four other acts (known collectively as "the Intolerable Acts") were passed that effectively shut down ports throughout New England until reparations could be made for what had been lost during this incident. These punitive measures only served to further inflame tensions between Britain and its colonies in America, leading directly towards open rebellion two years later, with events such as Lexington and Concord marking the beginning stages of a full-fledged war between both sides.