The Gaspee incident took place on June 9, 1772, in the colony of Rhode Island. The explosion of the British ship H.M.S. Gaspee took place at the head of the Narragansett Bay on the Providence River in the northern part of the colony. The H.M.S. Gaspee was sent by the British government to search all ships in the Rhode Island area to see if they were trading illegally. That is, the British thought that most American ships, including the American ship Hannah, were smuggling certain products that required the payment of taxes to England. The captain of the Gaspee was to arrest anyone who did not obey British trade laws.
On June 9, 1772, the H.M.S. Gaspee chased the Hannah. That night a number of men from Providence, who were informed by the Hannah crew that the H.M.S. Gaspee was going to capture the ship, boarded the ship and made it explode. After the explosion, colonists in Providence burned tea in a public square even before the Boston Tea Party. This was one of the first times that the American colonists resisted English rule. This event showed the increasing tension between the British and the colonists in America.