As you all may recall from history class, in 1773 a group of Boston residence that were upset by the high taxes from the British, tossed the bales of tea into the bay. This would come to be known as The Boston Tea Party. If you were fortunate enough, you may have even visited the museum that celebrates this historic event during a school field trip. What you might not be familiar with is the Rhode Island Tea Party.
The Continental Congress determined King George’s rule to be tyrannical and infringing the colonists’ rights as Englishmen. Rhode Islanders overwhelmingly agreed to show support against British. On March 2, 1775, the colonists lit a bonfire on Market Square in Providence. after speech making and the ringing of bells, the colonists tossed hundreds of pounds of the British stash of tea into the fire, in protest against the Crown . Though their message was loud and clear, it seems to not have the same impact to earn it place in the history book. It could be due to the fact that the Boston Tea Party had taken place two years earlier. Still though, I think that the Rhode Islander’s more aggressive and direct method deserves much recognition. What ever the reason maybe, you won’t find a museum, reenactments, or even a souvenir shop dedicate to this event in Providence. The most you’ll find is a plaque commemorating this occasion outside the Market House in downtown Providence. Personally I like to think of the Providence Water Fires as a tribute to these brave Rhode Islanders, and those who burned the Gaspee. Or maybe the Water fire just further demonstrate the proclivity for fire Rhode Islander seem to have.
~ Strange New England
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