This is an excerpt from the July/August issue of TEA MagazineTM
By Pearl Dexter
Tea was the symbol of American refinement and much in demand in the years prior to the War of Independence (1775-1783) but colonists could buy tea, silk, and porcelain only from English merchants.
When the conflict ended in September 1783, U.S. ships were unwelcome in the British West Indies and allies France and Spain protected their business interests by closing their Caribbean harbors to once-lucrative commerce with the United States. As a result Americans eagerly turned their sights to the Far East to buy these goods.
Unfortunately most of the nation’s ships had been captured, burned or lost at sea. The few ships that had survived the war needed extensive repair. With devalued currency and considerable war debt, the new country was in a deep depression and establishing new trade abroad was vital to refreshing the economy.
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