On 16 December 1773, a gathering of Boston citizens led by patriot Samuel Adams disguised themselves as Mohawk Indians and boarded three British ships docked in the Boston Harbor in search of imported tea. These men, armed with axes and tomahawks, chopped open the tea trunks they found onboard and dumped almost 10,000 pounds (about 4,500 kilograms) of tea into the harbor. This action was taken by the colonists to show their distain at England's attempt to monopolize the tea market, forcing the colonists to buy their tea from the British East India Company.
According to patriot George Hewes, a participant at the Boston Tea Party, the patriots worked swiftly as thousands of others looked on. "In about three hours from the time we went on board, we had thus broken and thrown overboard every tea chest to be found on the ship," said Hewes. The following day tea was found floating about the harbor. Bostonians boarded their row boats and oared their way through the tea forcing it to dissolve in the water, so that none of it could be saved.
The Boston Tea Party is an important event in United States history as it marked the first show of violence by the colonists and cast the first cries for independence in the Boston area. England had already repealed many of the import taxes on the colonists, but it retained the tea tax to let the colonists know they were still subject to British rule. After the incident, England demanded that the Boston government pay for the tea, but the locals refused. As a result, British forces closed the Boston harbor for a period of time, further inciting cries for independence.
A unique brand of insight on the event has been presented by the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum since 1973. Housed in the Brig Beaver, a replica of one of the vessels involved in the incident, the museum offers visitors an opportunity to "re-live" the Tea Party. The Ship and Museum are accompanied by two new replica ships, the Eleanor and Dartmouth.