There were surrounded by Brtish warships, however, these ships made no attempt to stop them. It took the colonists 3 hours to dump every chest of tea off of all 3 ships. After they finished, they all went back to their own homes without talking to each other.
After that protest, which is now known as the Boston Tea Party, the King of England, King George III, was furious. He, then, passed the intolerable acts and closed off the Boston Harbor. These punishments united the colonies, though.