HOW TEA CAME TO AMERICA
Fuel For The Spirit of Independence
Tea Fueled America’s Spirit Of Independence
In the early 1600s, New Amsterdam (now New York) was claimed by the Dutch as a colony. Serving as the Dutch governor, Peter Stuyvesant brought tea to colonial America in 1647 via the Dutch East India Company. It was 11 years earlier than the first advertisement for tea in London.
The Dutch couldn’t keep New Amsterdam for long. Seventeen years later, on Sept. 8, 1664, Stuyvesant surrendered New Amsterdam to the British without a fight. Read more about the history here.
By the early 1700s, tea sipping had taken hold. “Over one million pots of tea were boiled in the American colonies,” according to Evan O’Brien from the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, where we filmed on location.
Tea was lucrative business. In 1773, British Parliament passed the Tea Act, granting the British East India Company a monopoly to sell tea throughout the American colonies. Furthermore, under the Tea Act, all duties charged by the crown on shipments of tea to the colonies would be waived or refunded upon sale. Monopoly at its best.
This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Overtaxing this beloved drink stirred the Americans’ spirit of independence and desire for local governance — “no taxation without representation.” On Dec. 16, 1773, the Boston Tea Party was born. To document this historic event, we interviewed tea historian Bruce Richardson at the Old South Meeting House, ground zero of the assembly.
How Many Chests Of Tea Were Thrown Into The Boston Harbor?
Three hundred forty chests of tea, all property of the British East India Company, were thrown into the Boston Harbor on the night of Dec. 16, 1773.
Every chest of tea was from china. Two-thirds from Wuyi Shan.
What Kinds Of Tea Were They?
There were both Black and Green teas.
- Lapsang Souchong
What is Bohea? Back then, “Bohea” was used as a common term for Black tea. Our tea historian, Bruce Richardson, tells how this term came about in the film.
What about Lapsang Souchong? This was the original Black tea invented in Wuyi Shan. By the time of the Boston Tea Party, the tea-makers of Lapsang Souchong from Wuyi Shan had earned a reputation as the finest Black tea makers in the world.
Meet Mr. Jiang Yuan-Xun, a direct descendant of Lapsang Souchong’s inventor. He is the 24th generation of tea masters. Read more about Lapsang Souchong here.
This Tea changed World History.
DISCOVER THE ART OF TEA
You’ll love our new artbook! A labor of love, this artbook showcases glorious images, taking you on a journey through ancient tea rituals and how these practices bring calmness, mindfulness, and tranquility through the ages.