Friday, 9 January 2015

Boston Tea party and British East India company


Boston tea party.December 16,1773, prezi.com
Darjeeling tea plantation.www.amrc.org.hk
 Boston tea party is an important event in American history and it is a matter of coincidence that the British East India company that liberally squandered India was indirectly responsible for the end colonial rule in America.  

The British company took over the tribal lands in the hilly areas of Bengal and other  regions and engaged the tribes as indentured workers on the tea and coffee plantations. Here every chest of tea was produced by squeezing innocent, gullible natives of Indian soil The company paid pittance for the tea workers,  while the British bosses were wallowing in luxuries and money.
 

Worst famine in Bengal between 1770 and 1772 (4 years before the American War of Independence) resulted in the death of 1/6 th of the population of India.The East India company's fortunes had already been on the decline and this was mainly due to highly corrupt and inefficient officials based in India. Economic stagnation and trade depression in Europe further aggravated already the worst situation and now, the East India company was on the brink of bankruptcy. 
East India company logo.www.landofthebrave.info
 In order to bail out the ailing  India-dependant British company, the British Parliament gave the East India Company a monopoly on the importation of tea in 1698. When tea became a popular drink in the British colonies, to eliminate foreign competition, Parliament  introduced an act in 1721 that required colonists to import their tea only from Great Britain.  
Tea sold wholesale by the company at auctions in England was exported  to the colonies by British firms, where they resold it to merchants in Boston, and other  cities. With a high price tag on the tea people, preferred cheap tea elsewhere and this encouraged the growth of illicit tea  market and smuggling both in England and America. By 1760, East India co  was losing £400,000 per year to smugglers in Great Britain who had a better deal with Dutch tea. East India company godown was full of surplus unsold tea rotting with no takers.

The introduction of the Townsend Revenue Act of 1767, which levied new taxes, including one on tea in the colonies only worsened the problem  and now tea smuggling increased manifold in the colonies. As there were wide spread protests,  the British parliament repealed the Townsend taxes in 1770 as it did with stamp act in 1765, except the duty on tea. Later British tea was imported into colonies in large quantities and Boston was the major tea center.
 

To plug the hole in the ailing East India company, the British parliament passed the Tea Act in 1773 (got the Royal assent of King George  on 10th May) to increase revenues by eliminating middlemen  and selling tea through newly appointed colonial merchants. Additional revenue would help pay the salary and perks of British governors, et al  and  reduce the massive surplus  of tea held in the company's London warehouses.

The dubious effort by the colonial government to undercut the tea prices to stay in business  failed, Further, the importers who paid taxes before undercutting the price never received the refund as promised by the government. Since the duty on tea was not repealed a serious situation developed. On December 16, 1773, to vent their anger and frustration, the protesters   30 to 130 in number in the guise of  Mohawk  Indians sulkily got into three  East India company ships laden with tea anchored in the Boston harbor and dumped the tea cargo - 342 chests of tea  into the sea.

Subsequent coercive act and  Boston port act enacted by the British Parliament in response to Boston  tea party, involving  British East India company 's tea cargoes  had indirectly set the final stage for the American war of  independence against the over ambitious, arrogant  colonial rulers who brought  more slavery, disease and exploitation  of natives to the new world.   


The American Revolutionary war was the rebellion of thirteen of the North American colonies of Great Britain who declared themselves independent in 1776 as the United States of  America. France signed an alliance with the new nation in 1778, which escalated the conflict into a world war between Britain and France, Spain, and the Netherlands. At the same time  fighting broke out in India between the British East India Company and  Kingdom of Mysore with full support from the French Army.
Subsequently tea drinking declined in America and after Boston tea party many American freedom fighters considered it ''unpatriotic''and popularity of coffee was on the increase,

Ref:

Knollenberg, Bernhard. Growth of the American Revolution, 1766–1775. New York: Free Press, 1975. ISBN
 0-02-917110-5
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Tea_Party.