On June 9th 1772, a year and a half before the Boston Tea Party, the HMS Gaspee was attacked by citizens of Providence as the first act of war against the British Crown and launched the American fight for Independence. The successful raid and the colony’s successful resistance to any civil sanctions lead to the Committees of Correspondence and inspired the other colonies to join together to seek their independence and found the United States of America.
“History books across the country often cite the Boston Tea Party as the start of the American Revolution. But the people of Rhode Island know that the first blood was really drawn over a year earlier, when Rhode Islanders seized the British vessel the Gaspee. Actually, we didn’t just seize it, we blew it up, and its captain was shot in the struggle — a bit more than just throwing tea bales over the side!”
—Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
We’re using art and technology to help retell this important Rhode Island and American story.
Make sure you check out the microsite for WaterFire’s Gaspee Project and follow Lt. Dudingston and the other cast of characters whose Tweets have miraclously appeared in the Twittersphere after 240 years. (The Gaspee Project hashtag is #WFGaspee.)
Come to Providence on Saturday, June 9 to not only experience art but also a little bit of American history that launched right from the heart of the WaterFire installation.
Visit WaterFire’s Gaspee Project website.