In Massachusetts in December 1773, a group of men boarded three vessels in the Boston Harbor and, over the course of three hours, dumped 342 chests of tea into the water to protest the tax on imported tea. The perpetrators later argued that it was not the act of a lawless mob, but was instead a principled protest and the only remaining option the people had to defend their constitutional rights.
Not only did this action capture the attention of King George III and Parliament, but it was noticed by citizens in the other colonies and sparked the beginning of their unification in the struggle against British rule.
According The Virginia Gazette, on November 7, 1774, the inhabitants of York went on board the ship Virginia and waited for a letter from the House of Burgesses, who had taken the tea matter under consideration. No letter came, so two half-chests were dumped into the York River. There was no damage done to the ship or the other cargo. The County Committee met days later and resolved that they highly approved of the conduct of the inhabitants of York.