1 June 1774: Britain closes the US port of Boston

The Boston Port Act came in to force on this day in 1774, closing the American port of Boston to all shipping and stoking resentment in the 13 colonies.

The sight of 340 chests of tea bobbing up and down in the water is enough to make a Briton cry. But not only was it a shocking waste of a cuppa, it was also darn expensive. By the British East India Company's reckoning, the 92,000 pounds of tea that was tipped over board in December 1773 cost them £9,659.

The British government was furious. The destruction of the tea meant a serious loss of tax revenue. But for the perpetrators, the rebellious Sons of Liberty, it had never been about the tax. When the 13 colonies eventually became independent from Britain in 1784, the newly created United States government also taxed tea. Rather it was the lack of political representation in parliament.

Back in London, the Boston Tea Party, as the incident later on become known, provoked howls of protest. Lord North's government was determined to make Boston pay back every last penny for the tea that was lost. And until it had done so, the city wasn't allowed to enjoy its port, which was one of the most important in North America.

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In March 1774, the Trade Act, better known as the Boston Port Act, passed through parliament. It stipulated that from 1 June that year, the port would be blockaded, and closed to all shipping. No goods could be landed, and no cargo loaded.

The problem was, the act lumped all the Bostonians together. It wasn't just the rebels who were being punished, everybody was. Even those colonists who were favourably disposed towards the mother country felt hard done by.

It's for that reason the Boston Port Act formed one of the so-called intolerable acts' that led to open rebellion and the American War of Independence two years later.

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

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