December 16, 1773 Dozens of men in the then-British colony of Boston, Massachusetts break into a British merchant ship and throw 342 chests of tea into the harbour. They were protesting at what they saw as unfair taxes: American colonists were being taxed by MPs in Britain who they did not elect. Particularly controversial was the 1773 Tea Act, passed in London to save the British East India Company from financial ruin by giving it privileged taxation terms in Britain’s colonies. In response to the destruction of the tea, the British parliament introduced laws to crack down on such acts but rather than calm the mood in North America, anti-British feeling escalated, culminating in the American Revolutionary War in 1775. The Boston Tea Party as it became to be known remains an iconic event in American history.
Also on December 16: Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland (1653); World War II- beginning of the Battle of the Bulge (1944); Kazakhstan becomes independent (1991).
*Born on December 16:*Ludwig van Beethoven (1770), Jane Austen (1775), Wassily Kandinsky (1866), Noel Coward (1899), Bill Hicks (1961).