Tea in the Tempest: Cape Cod’s Connection to the Boston Tea Party

Boston may have gone down in history as the site of the infamous Boston Tea Party, but it turns out there’s also a Cape Cod connection. While Boston just celebrated the 250th anniversary of the event, not all of the tea bound for Boston Harbor ended up in the water.

In all, there were seven ships packed with tea from the East India Company that took off from London. One of those was headed to New York, one to Philadelphia, one to Charleston, and the rest to Boston

As it turns out, thanks to a storm, one of the four ships carrying Chinese tea to Boston was thrown off course. That ship ran up onto some rocks off Cape Cod. A second storm resulted in the ship becoming stuck near Provincetown.

The ship wasn’t just carrying tea, but also new city streetlights. It was the tea, however, that created all the controversy once locals found out. 

Residents were reportedly split on what to do with the untaxed tea. One day after the event at Boston Harbor, there was a plea for them to destroy the grounded ship’s tea, as well.

On the other hand, there were some who were trying to save the tea. It’s said those with an interest in saving it had the idea to transport the tea to British troops in Boston Harbor for safekeeping,

However, proponents of that plan had a hard time getting any local sea captains to agree to carry the tea to Boston. Finally, a Salem ship came in to transport the majority of the rescued tea, while a smaller amount of tea remained on Cape Cod. 

The remaining tea reportedly led to even more controversy, and even some ransacked homes. Some of it ended up eventually being destroyed, and some was likely sold.

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