In 1773 American nationalists dump crates of tea from a British ship into the sea in protest over rising taxes imposed by the British colonists. Known today as the Boston Tea Party, the riot served as a catalyst for the American War of Independence.
In the 1800s tea grows in demand across the globe. Competition between shipowners for the fastest transportation of tea along the Far East shipping routes leads to the development of the Tea Clipper races.
In 1870 Ceylon (today, Sri Lanka), one of the biggest names in tea, was a late bloomer. Up to 1870, the country had grown only coffee, but in that year a severe coffee blight threatened to destroy the industry overnight. The coffee planters then turned to the wild Ceylonese tea plant in a desperate gamble to save their fortunes, and it paid off. Today, Ceylonese tea is widely regarded as some of the best teas in the world.