When the Dutch settled New Amsterdam, tea came to the New World. Photo by Claire Freierman | THE NIBBLE.
Updated January 2010
The History of Tea
Page 6: Tea In North America
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Tea in North America
Tea initially came to America in the mid-1600s via the Dutch, who started a settlement in New Amsterdam. A favorite beverage of women and wealthy colonists, a heavily taxed tea trade flourished between the colony and England. To bolster the Dutch East India Company’s failing financial position, it had convinced the English Parliament to enact the Tea Act, which allowed them to ship tea duty-free directly to the colonists and profit by excluding the colonial merchants. The general notion of taxation without representation brewed great dissent among the colonists.
Political tensions came to a climax with the Boston Tea Party, as colonists protested England’s high taxes by dressing as Native Americans, assaulting East India Company’s trading boats and and dumping tea into Boston Harbor. This act provided an impetus for the American Colonies’ fight for independence in 1776.
Although the American Revolution was a setback for the Dutch East India Company, it managed to survive due to its immense size. But when Richard Twining and thousands of independent tea merchants organized a campaign to reveal the Company’s corrupt practices and pressured the English government to end the monopoly, it eventually crumbled.
Continue To Page 7: Afternoon Tea Dances
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