Those Trees are for the King

The Story of the Pine Tree Riot

The Real Start of the Revolution

by: Brent Smith

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Practically everyone knows of the “Boston Tea Party”, that occurred in 1773. It is recognized as the action which began America’s revolution.

However, there was an event that predates it, although few have heard the tale.

When the first shipment of masts from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to England occurred, in 1634, England had already suffered deforestation. In order to dominate the high seas, new sources of abundant timber for shipbuilding were needed. No ships, after all, could set sail without as many as twenty-three masts, yards, and spars varying in length and diameter from the bulky mainmast to its subordinate parts.

Although New Hampshire’s white pine was not as hard as Europe’s, its height and diameter were superior. It also weighed less and retained resin longer, giving the ships a sea life as long as two decades.

When granting lands in America in 1690, King William prohibited the cutting of white pine over two feet in diameter. In 1722, under the reign of George I, parliament passed a law that reduced the diameter to one foot, required a license to cut white pine, and established fines for infractions. read more

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The Pine Tree Riot kicked off the Revolution

Living in New England, one can be exposed to an abundance of colonial-era history – tales of settlers and revolution.

Practically everyone knows of the “Boston Tea Party,” which occurred Dec. 16, 1773. It is recognized as the action that put the colonies on the path to independence.

But there was an event that predates it, that some say may have actually sparked America’s revolt and eventual succession – although few have heard the tale.

When the first shipment of masts was sent from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to England, in 1634, Great Britain had already suffered deforestation. To dominate the high seas, new sources of abundant timber for shipbuilding were needed. No ships, after all, could set sail without as many as 23 masts, yards and spars varying in length and diameter from the huge mainmast to the less substantial. read more