Today in History: Dec. 16

The Boston Tea Party took place on this date in 1773. Years of resistance against British colonial rule came to a head over an Act of Parliament from earlier in the year that was passed to force the colonies to purchase tea from the British East India Tea Company, which had a surplus of tea and was struggling.

The American colonists saw the point behind the Tea Act: Behave yourselves, Parliament appeared to be telling the them, and act like a part of the Empire.

Three ships carrying tea arrived in Boston Harbor in November and set anchor. A public meeting was called at Faneuil Hall to discuss what to do about this and so many Bostonians—about 7000—came that it was moved to the Old South Meeting House, a much larger building. There, Samuel Adams either gave a signal to go to the harbor or he did not, but people interpreted whatever he did as a signal to go to the harbor.

Several dozen men boarded the ships and tossed 342 chests of British East India Company tea into the harbor. Some of them wore facepaint and dressed as Mohawk warriors, an indication that the colonists saw themselves as something new: Americans.

The American Revolution took a long step towards the inevitable with the Tea Party. A reenactment is held every year on this date in Boston.

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Christian Dior founded Christian Dior 70 years ago today in Paris.

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The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s version of a song that had been around for a few years called “Hey Joe” was released in Great Britain 50 years ago today. It was the group’s first single.

“Hey Joe” had already been recorded by several artists: Love, The Surfaris, and The Byrds (and several others) each recorded versions in 1966. (David Crosby sings lead on The Byrds’ rendition.) The version that lives on is the recording by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Live in 1967:

 
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Colonel Harland Sanders died on this date in 1980. William Gaddis died on this date in 1998. John Spencer died in 2005 on this date. Nicol Williamson died five years ago today.

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Ludwig van Beethoven was born on this date in 1770. Jane Austen was born on this date in 1775. Sir Noël Coward was born on this date in 1899. Sir V. S. Pritchett was born in 1900 on this date. Margaret Mead was born on this date in 1901. Sir Arthur C. Clarke was born on this date in 1917. Philip K. Dick was born on this date in 1928. Bill Hicks was born 55 years ago today. “It’s Just a Ride”:

 
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Morris Dees is 80 today. Ed Ruscha is 79. Frank Deford is 78. Liv Ullmann is 78. Lesley Stahl is 75. Steven Bochco is 73. Benny Andersson is 70. Benny Andersson plays “Dancing Queen” on a Steinway piano:

 
Billy Gibbons is 67. Robben Ford is 65. William Perry is 54.

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One comment

  1. rogershipp · December 17

    O enojy re enactments… Maybe someday I will see “The Tea Party”!

    Like

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