By Rylee Carlson, CBS News
LONDON - This year marks 250 years since the Boston Tea Party, an event many see as a catalyst for American independence from the British Empire. The anniversary isn't until December, but a key part of that story was remembered on Wednesday in London.
Way back in 1773, ships in London loaded with tea set sail for Boston. This week, it's actors carrying tea crates branded by the East India Company to mark the start of the voyage.
"If the Boston Tea Party didn't happen I would be British today and so would everyone else in America," said Shawn Ford of the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum.
When the tea arrived in Boston in December of 1773 it was dumped into the harbor in protest. The British government was taxing the colonies, without giving them representation in Parliament.
"It really was the shopkeepers and tradesmen who were standing up and saying no to further British tyranny," said Jonathan Lane of Revolution 250, a group of organizations working together to commemorate the anniversary.
One of those merchants was William Breck, Lane's distant grandfather.
"The idea of independence wasn't even really discussed for another three years," Lane said.
Commemorations like this one take place every year in Boston, but this year's will be even bigger.
"Its meaning and its story still resonates today all around the world about underrepresented voices wanting the same fair shot as everybody else," said Ford.
The East India Company is even joining in, donating 250 pounds of tea.
"It was our tea that was dumped in Boston Harbor so, as the starting point, it's a great event for us to be part of and to commemorate," said Manan Bhansali of the East India Company.
The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum is also asking people around the world to send them loose leaf tea to be included in the event. Those who do will receive a certificate of participation. The tea will be used during the 250th anniversary and reenactment of the Boston Tea Party on December 16.
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