This December has more to celebrate than Christmas as it marks the 250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.
That iconic tea party is one of many historical moments being observed by our nation as it gears us toward the 250th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence set for July 4, 2026. Many acts led to the American colonists declaring independence from the British Empire. As our nation moves toward that milestone anniversary, it is fitting to remember these monumental incidents.
The Boston Tea Party occurred on the night of December 16, 1773, when a group of revolutionaries, known as the Sons of Liberty, boarded ships anchored in the Boston Harbor. They disguised themselves as Native Americans and dumped 342 chests of tea imported from the British East India Company into the Boston Harbor in Colonial Massachusetts. More than 92,000 pounds of tea were destroyed. That tea party arose because colonists were frustrated with having no rights as Englishmen and being taxed “without representation.” They believed they should only be taxed by their own elected representatives and not by a parliament in which they had no representation.
The Boston Tea Party was significant because it helped accelerate and intensify colonial support for the American Revolution. The British government considered the tea party an act of treason and responded harshly. Parliament responded with additional mandates like the Intolerable Acts, also known as the Coercive Acts, which led to the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia. The crisis escalated and on April 19, 1775, the American Revolutionary War began with the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
The 250th anniversary of our nation is referred to as a semiquincentennial, also called quarter millennial, and a term you might hear throughout the next few years. Along with the nation’s leaders, the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) is advocating for United States citizens to remember events such as the Boston Tea Party. Local NSDAR chapters in Lucedale, Pascagoula, and Biloxi that will be participating are, respectively, the Declaration of Independence Chapter, the Duchess de Chaumont Chapter, and the Biloxi Chapter. The United States has created a Semiquincentennial Commission and NSDAR has a representative on that commission. Also, NSDAR has a 250 America! Committee in each state to promote iconic, historical events between now and 2026. Much like the Bicentennial Celebration of 1976, this observance provides educational opportunities and community involvement.
No major government-sponsored 50th commemoration of the nation’s birthday occurred in 1826. Interestingly two founding fathers, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on July 4, 1826. 50 years later, in 1876, the United States organized a national centennial observance centered on the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, and in 1926, the Sesquicentennial Exposition was held in Philadelphia. In 1976, bicentennial observances were held throughout the country.
And now we are headed to the semiquincentennial. Let’s celebrate!