Boston Tea Party turns 250 years old with reenactments of the revolutionary protest


BOSTON (AP) — Patriotic mobs and harbor tea-dumping returned to Boston on Saturday as the city marked the 250th anniversary of the revolutionary protest that preceded America's independence.

The commemoration of the Boston Tea Party included scheduled reenactments of the throwing of tea leaves into the city's harbor and community meetings that preceded the defiant act on Dec. 16, 1773 — though this time, the symbolic protest was aided by spotlights and microphones. City officials were expecting thousands of visitors for the celebration.

Crowds who gathered to watch the reenactment quickly joined in, shouting “Huzzah!” along with the costumed actors as boxes of tea were dumped in the harbor. Later, they resoundingly booed an actor who read King George III's order closing the bay, and they cheered as narrators detailed the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.

Tea for the reenactment was supplied by the East India Co., the same British company that was at the center of the raucous dispute.

During the historic event, protesting “taxation without representation,” members of the Sons of Liberty and others boarded East India Co. ships and dumped their valuable haul — some 92,000 pounds of tea worth nearly $2 million today — into the murky waters of Boston Harbor.

Great Britain responded with military rule and other sanctions on Massachusetts, stoking American opposition to colonial rule.

The Boston Tea Party is considered a pivotal event leading the American Revolutionary War.

“It’s a reminder for all of us, not just here in the United States but all over the world, that democracy is in action: Doing what’s right, no matter the odds, for our friends, our families, our homes, our future,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said at a news conference Friday previewing the anniversary.