Since the early 18th century, the British East India Company had been making large profits through their monopoly of the tea trade from China. Tea was shipped in significant quantities not only to Britain but also to the North American colonies where it was appreciated as a product of ‘polite’ European culture. However, during the 1760s the British government, who were keen to raise additional funds from the trade, imposed an excise duty on tea imports to America, an ill-judged decision that would have severe political consequences. In 1773 a series of revolts against the tea tax, known as ‘tea parties’, occurred in American cities, the most famous being the Boston tea party when the revolutionaries, Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty, boarded three ships in Boston harbour and emptied their precious cargo of tea overboard into the sea. The 342 chests of tea that belonged to the East India Company held more than 90,000 lbs. of tea, which would cost nearly $1,000,000 today. These revolts were an act of collective resistance to British Imperial authority and ultimately pushed the two countries ever closer to the American War of Independence.