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The popularity of tea also informed a number of historical events – the Tea Act of 1773 provoked the Boston Tea Party that escalated into the American Revolution, and the need to address the issue of British trade deficit caused by the demand for Chinese tea led to a trade in opium that resulted in the Opium Wars.
In the 15th century, oolong tea, in which the leaves were allowed to partially oxidize before pan-frying, was developed.
The state of Ba and its neighbour Shu were later conquered by the Qin, and according to the 17th century scholar Gu Yanwu who wrote in Ri Zhi Lu (日知錄): "It was after the Qin had taken Shu that they learned how to drink tea." contains the first known reference to boiling tea.
Among the tasks listed to be undertaken by the youth, the contract states that "he shall boil tea and fill the utensils" and "he shall buy tea at Wuyang".
The earliest written records of tea come from China.
The word tú 荼 appears in the Shijing and other ancient texts to signify a kind of "bitter vegetable" (苦菜), and it is possible that it referred to a number of different plants such as sowthistle, chicory, or smartweed, In the Chronicles of Huayang, it was recorded that the Ba people in Sichuan presented tu to the Zhou king.
A third form, the increasingly widespread chai, came from Persian چای The few exceptions of words for tea that do not fall into the three broad groups of te, cha and chai are mostly from the minor languages from the botanical homeland of the tea plant from which the Chinese words for tea might have been borrowed originally.
Statistical cluster analysis, chromosome number, easy hybridization, and various types of intermediate hybrids and spontaneous polyploids indicate that likely a single place of origin exists for Camellia sinensis, an area including the northern part of Burma, and Yunnan and Sichuan provinces of China.
It was popularized as a recreational drink during the Chinese Tang dynasty, and tea drinking spread to other East Asian countries.
Portuguese priests and merchants introduced it to Europe during the 16th century.
He began his journey in high secrecy as his mission occurred in the lull between the Anglo-Chinese First Opium War (1839–1842) and Second Opium War (1856–1860).
The Chinese tea plants he brought back were introduced to the Himalayas, though most did not survive.
The Portuguese adopted the Cantonese pronunciation "chá", and spread it to India.