On December 16, 1773, over 5,000 colonists, more than a third of Boston's entire population, crowded into Old South Meeting House to decide what to do about three ships loaded with tea that sat anchored in Boston Harbor. The colonists were determined to prevent the tea on the ships from being landed on American soil because Parliament had passed a new law that placed a tax on all English tea brought into the American colonies.
Over the course of the day Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, Joseph Warren, John Hancock and throngs of agitated colonists resolved to send the tea ships back to England.
On December 11, 2011, Old South Meeting House, now part of Boston National Historical Park, hosted a reenactment of the Boston Tea Party and transported visitors back in time to witness the destruction of the tea in an event that John Adams said "is so bold, so daring, so intrepid and so inflexible...that I can't but consider it an epoch in history."
Since the 1773 mass protest meetings that led to the Boston Tea Party, Old South Meeting House in Boston National Historical Park has served as a gathering place for discussion and celebration and a haven for free speech.