When three tea ships, the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver, arrived in Boston Harbor, the colonists demanded that the tea be returned to England. Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused.
Today in 1773 group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians boarded the British ships and dumped 342 chests of tea into the harbor.
Patriot leader Samuel Adams organized the “tea party” with about 60 members of the Sons of Liberty, his underground resistance group. The tea dumped in Boston Harbor was valued at some $18,000. (Worth more than $700,000 in today’s currency.)
The midnight raid, popularly known as the “Boston Tea Party,” was in protest of the British Parliament’s Tea Act of 1773, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a virtual monopoly on the American tea trade. Many colonists viewed the act as another example of taxation tyranny.
An outraged Parliament enacted the Coercive Acts, called the “Intolerable Acts” by the colonists, in 1774. The colonists subsequently called the first Continental Congress to consider a united American resistance to the British.
Today in1979, the night before the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ annual price-setting meeting in Caracas, two member states announced plans to raise the price of their oil by $4 (Libya) and $2 (Indonesia) per barrel. The resulting prices–$30 and $25.50 per barrel, respectively–were among the highest they had ever been. These diplomatic maneuverings were intended to keep OPEC’s “price hawks” from raising them even further. Nevertheless, by the end of 1979 the cost of oil had more than doubled since the end of the previous year. This price hike only exacerbated an energy crisis that had been going on since the beginning of 1979.
In1973-1974, an OPEC embargo sent gasoline prices through the roof. By the time that embargo ended, the average retail price of gas had climbed to 84 cents per gallon from 38 cents per gallon.
This episode did not end well for American carmakers, who had rushed some smaller cars to market without thoroughly checking them for problems and quirks, which in turn contributed to their growing reputation for unreliability and poor craftsmanship. During the 1979 energy crisis, Japanese carmakers gained a reputation for building inexpensive, reliable, efficient cars that were particularly well-suited to the new era of austerity. That year, Datsun, Subaru, Toyota and Honda gained a permanent foothold in the American marketplace.
Today in 1811 the greatest series of earthquakes in U.S. history began with a quake of an estimated 8.6 magnitude in the Mississippi River Valley near New Madrid, Missouri. Although the earthquake greatly altered the topography of the region, the area was only sparsely inhabited at the time, and there were no known human fatalities.
The earthquake raised and lowered parts of the Mississippi Valley by as much as 15 feet and changed the course of the Mississippi River. At one point, the Mississippi momentarily reversed its direction, giving rise to Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee. A 30,000-square-mile area was affected, and tremors were felt as far away as the eastern coast of the United States, where the shock was reported to have rung church bells. Additional earthquakes and aftershocks continued throughout the winter and into the spring, and of the approximately 2,000 seismic vibrations felt during the period, five were estimated to be at an 8.0 or greater magnitude.
The New Madrid Fault system crosses through five states–Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky Tennessee, and Arkansas.
Today in 2010, the iconic, TV talk show “Larry King Live,” signed off after 25 years on the air. The 77-year-old King had hosted the hour-long CNN program, featuring interviews with movies stars, world leaders, politicians, musicians and other newsmakers, since June 1985.
In June 2009, King announced plans to end his show. At the time, “Larry King Live” had fallen into third place in the ratings behind political programs hosted by Sean Hannity of Fox News and Rachel Maddow of MSNBC. By the time “Larry King Live” went off the air, the legendary host had conducted some 50,000 interviews, by his account, during his more than 50-year career in radio and television.
“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
Happy birthday Margaret Mead, anthropologist, author, and speaker, who was born today in 1901 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mead died of cancer November 15, 1978. She was age 76.
On January 19, 1979, President Jimmy Carter announced that he was awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously to Mead.