Spirit of America Bookstore

U.S.  Timeline  –  1491  to  1800

Ancient Times - 3500 B.C.E to 1490

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Columbian Era    •    Pilgrim Era    •    Before The Revolution

The Revolutionary War    •    The Constitutional Era

Columbian  Era

  • 1478 Nov 1: Beginning of the Spanish Inquisition.
    1491, the Americas Before Columbus book by Charles C. Mann   "1491: New Revelations of The Americas Before Columbus"
    [2005 bestseller] by Charles C. Mann

    published outside the U.S. as "Ancient Americans" in 2005
    Vintage 8x5¼ pb [10/2006] for $9.24
    Knopf 9½x6 deckle-edge hardcover [8/2005] for $23.10
    1492, The Year the World Began book by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto  "1492: The Year The World Began" [2009]
    by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto

    HarperOne 9x6 pb [11/2010] for $11.24
    HarperOne 9x6¼ hardcover [11/2009] for $18.97

  • 1492 Aug 3: Italian-born Christopher Columbus set out from Palos, Spain on his First Voyage to the New World.
  • 1492 Oct 12 [Oldstyle Oct 21]: Columbus arrived in the present-day Bahama Islands, narrowly avoiding mutiny by his crew.

    1493, the New World Columbus Created book by Charles C. Mann  "1493: Uncovering The New World Columbus Created" [2011]
    by Charles C. Mann

    Knopf 9½x6½ hardcover [8/2011] for $16.77

  • 1493 March 15: Columbus returned to Spain, ending his First Voyage to the New World.
  • 1493 Sept 25: Columbus sailed from Cadiz, Spain on his Second Voyage to the New World, leading a flotilla of 17 ships, founding the town of La Isabella on Hispaniola and returning to Spain in 1496.

  • 1498 Jan 22: Columbus did not visit and name the Caribbean island of St. Vincent on the saint's feast day, he was still months away from setting off on his Third Voyage. It is probable that the island was named for Portugal's patron saint on a later visit.
  • 1498 May 30: Columbus's Third Voyage (taking along 30 women) set off from Sanlúcar, Spain in six ships; they bumped against the South American continent: first Trinidad, then Venezuela, then a return to Hispaniola, where Columbus was arrested for terrible administration during the Second Voyage.
  • 1500 Nov 25: Columbus arrived in Spain in chains, but was quickly released by royal decree.

  • 1502 May 9: Columbus sailed from Cadiz, Spain on his Fourth [and final] Voyage to the New World, with his son Ferdinand.
  • 1503 June 25: Columbus beached his ships on Jamaica and was stranded for a year.
  • 1504 Nov 7: Columbus returned to Spain.
  • 1506 May 20: Columbus {born in 1451} died a pauper in Valladolid, Spain at age 55.
  • 1507 April 25: German cartographers Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann produced the first world map containing the term 'America' (named for Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci [1454-1512]).
  • 1509 April 21: Henry VIII became King of England at age 17, succeeding his father; he reigned until his death at age 55 in 1547.
  • 1509 June 24: Coronation of Henry VIII; his wife Catherine of Aragon [1485-1536] was crowned as Queen Consort.
  • 1512 Nov 1: Pope Julius II publicly unveiled Michelangelo's just-completed paintings on the ceiling of the Vatican's Sistine Chapel.
  • 1513 March 27: Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sighted present-day Florida.
  • 1513 June 6: Mercenary troops of the Swiss Confederation defeated the French in the Battle of Novara in Italy.
  • 1513 Sept 25: Spanish explorer Vasco Nuñez de Balboa crossed the isthmus of Panama and named the Pacific Ocean.
  • 1517 Oct 31: German priest Martin Luther posted his "95 Theses" document on the door of the Wittenberg Palace church, considered the start of the Protestant Reformation; he also sent them to the Archbishop of Mainz.
  • 1519: Portuguese explorer Hernán Cortés was introduced to popcorn during the Conquest of Mexico.
  • 1519 Sept 20: Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan set out from Spain on five ships to find a western route to the Spice Islands. (Magellan died enroute, but one of the ships eventually circumnavigated the globe.)
  • 1520 June 29: Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés killed Aztec emperor Moctezuma II while trying to escape from the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.
  • 1520 Dec 10: German priest Martin Luther publicly burned the papal edict demanding that he recant or face excommunication.
  • 1521 Jan 3: Pope Leo X excommunicated German priest Martin Luther from the Catholic Church.
  • 1521 Aug 13: Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés captured the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, where Mexico City is today.
  • 1524 April 17: Italian explorer Giovanni de Verrazano arrived at present-day New York Harbor.
  • 1533 Aug 29: Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro ordered the execution of Atahualpa, the last Incan King of Peru.

  • 1540 July 9: England's King Henry VIII had his six-month marriage to wife #4 Anne of Cleaves annulled.
  • 1540 July 28: Thomas Cromwell, King Henry's former chief minister, was executed for treason and heresy.
  • 1540 Sept 27: Pope Paul III issued a papal bull establishing the Society of Jesus religious order, known as the Jesuits.
  • 1541 May 8: Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto arrived at the Mississippi River, somewhere near present-day Memphis, Tennessee.
  • 1542 Feb 13: Catherine Howard, fifth wife of England's Henry VIII, was executed for adultery.
  • 1542 May 21: Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto died of fever while searching for gold near the Mississippi River, either in Arkansas or Louisiana.
  • 1542 Sept 28: Spanish-Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo arrived by ship at present-day
    San Diego, California.
  • 1543 Jan 3: Spanish-Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo died of gangrene on Santa Catalina Island in California and was buried.
  • 1547 Jan 28: England's King Henry VIII died at age 55 at Whitehall Palace in London; he was succeeded by nine-year-old Edward VI; the government of England was run by a Regency Council until Edward's death in 1553 at age 15.
  • 1553 July 10: Edward VI's designated successor (and cousin) Lady Jane Grey became Queen of England at age 17; she was deposed just nine days later; she and her husband were convicted of treason and beheaded in 1554.
  • 1553 July 19: Queen Mary I [1516-58] succeeded her younger half-brother Edward VI as monarch of England; she reigned five years, until her death at age 42.
  • 1554 July 25: Queen Mary I married Philip II, future King of Spain.
  • 1556 Jan 16: Philip II (the Prudent) [1527-98] became King of Spain; he also reigned as King of England & Ireland (1554-58), King of Naples and Sicily as well as Duke of Milan (1554-98), lord of the Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands (1555-98), and King of Portugal (1581-98).
  • 1556 March 21: Thomas Cranmer, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, was burned at the stake for heresy.
  • 1558 Nov 17: Elizabeth I became monarch of England on the death of her half-sister Mary I.
  • 1559 Jan 15: England's Queen Elizabeth I was crowned at Westminster Abbey; she reigned 44 years and four months until her death at age 69 in 1603.
  • 1564 April 23: Traditional birthdate of English poet & playwright Wm. Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire; he died there on 23 April 1616 at age 52.
  • 1565 Sept 8: Founding of the city of St. Augustine, in what is now Florida, by a Spanish force of 500 soldiers, 200 sailors and 100 farmers & craftsmen (some with wives & family) led by Pedro Menendez de Aviles.
  • 1582 Oct 4-15: By order of Pope Gregory, the calendar was adjusted; Great Britain & the American colonies did not conform until 1752.
  • 1585 Spring: First attempt by Sir Walter Raleigh to establish a colony; expedition leader Sir Richard Grenville left approximately 75 men on the north end of Roanoke Island (now North Carolina).
  • 1586 June 19: Colonists at Roanoke Island accepted Sir Francis Drake's offer to return to England with him; fifteen men stayed behind (to maintain possession for Raleigh).
  • 1587 July 22: Re-establishment of the Roanoke Island colony off North Carolina by 120 English settlers; Indians reported that the small remainder of the first attempt had gone north in a boat.
  • 1587 Aug 18: Birth of Virginia Dare on Roanoke Island, the first child of English parents born on American soil (granddaughter of the colony's Governor John White).
  • 1588 July 29: The English Navy attacked the Spanish Armada off the Netherlands coast in the Battle of Gravelines; the British won.
  • 1590 Aug 18: After the war with Spain prevented the planned re-supply expedition for three years, returning Gov. White found the Roanoke Island 'Lost Colony' deserted.
  • 1596 March 31: Birthday of French philosopher René Descartes in France; he died under mysterious circum-stances at age 53 at the Swedish court in Stockholm on 11 February 1650.

Pilgrim  Era

    The Barbarous Years, 1600-1675 book by Bernard Bailyn  "The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America - The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675" [2012] by Bernard Bailyn
    "two-time Pulitzer-winning historian tells the story of early North American colonization stripped of its myths"
    Kindle Edition from Random House Digital [11/2012] for $17.99
    Vintage pb [DUE Aug 2013] for $12.24
    Knopf 9½x6½ deckle-edge hardcover [11/2012] for $21.57

  • 1602 May 15: English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold and his ship Concord arrived at Cape Cod, which he named.
  • 1603 March 24: James I succeeded Queen Elizabeth I as King of England 'by the union of the Scottish & English crowns'; he reigned until his death at age 59 in 1625.
  • 1605 Nov 5: Discovery of the 'Gunpowder Plot' by Catholics to blow up Parliament and kill Protestant King James I; the event is celebrated today as 'Guy Fawkes Day'.
  • 1606 Jan 31: Guy Fawkes was executed for his part in the 'Gunpowder Plot' against Parliament and King James I.
  • 1606 April 12: England's King James I decreed the design of the original United Kingdom flag, which combined the flags of England and Scotland. (The present-day flag was created by adding features of the Irish flag, effective 1 January 1801.)
  • 1607 April 26: Capt. John Smith's expedition to the Virginia Colony arrived at Cape Henry, Virginia.
  • 1607 May 14: The location of Jamestowne, the first permanent English settlement in the New World, was chosen and the settlement begun. [see also Jamestown 1607-2007 site]
    Jamestown Project  
    "The Jamestown Project" [2007]
    by Karen Ordahl Kupperman

    Belknap Press 9½x6¼ hardcover [3/2007] for $19.77

  • 1607 May 31: Popham colonists set sail from England, landing in September near Kennebec, Maine where they built Fort St. George.
  • 1608 July 3: Samuel de Champlain founded the City of Québec in Canada.
  • 1608 Sept 10: Capt. John Smith was elected president of the Jamestowne colony council in Virginia.
  • 1609 July 28: The English ship Sea Venture ran aground on Bermuda; Admiral Sir George Somers and passengers and crew founded a colony.
  • 1609 Aug 28: English explorer Henry Hudson and his ship Half Moon reached Delaware Bay.
  • 1609 Sept 12: English explorer Henry Hudson sailed into the New World river that bears his name.
  • 1609-1610: Drought conditions caused a severe winter in Jamestowne Colony, called 'The Starving Time'; recent forensic evidence shows that cannibalism did occur.
  • 1611 May 2: Official publication of the King James Bible in England.
  • 1611 June 22: Mutineers aboard the ship Discovery set English explorer Henry Hudson, his son, and several others adrift in what is now Hudson Bay; their fate remains unknown.
  • 1613 April 13: Pocahantas, daughter of the leader of the Powhatan natives, was captured by Capt. Samuel Argall of the English Virginia Colony; she eventually chose to remain with the English.
  • 1613 June 29: The original Globe Theatre in London, the site of many original presentations of stageplays by Wm. Shakespeare [1564-1616], burned to the ground (ignited from a cannon-blast during a play); it was rebuilt the next year.
  • 1614 April 5: Virginia colonist John Rolfe married Pocahantas, daughter of the leader of the Powhatan natives.
  • 1616 April 23: Death of English playwright Wm. Shakespeare at age 52.
  • 1619 July 30: America's first {European} representative assembly convened at Jamestowne in the Virginia Colony.
  • 1619 Dec 4: A ship with 38 settlers from Bristol, England arrived at Berkeley Hundred in the Virginia Colony; upon landing, they held a 'thanksgiving' service, which preceded the harvest dinner at Plymouth Colony by almost two years.

  • 1620 Sept 16: Pilgrims set sail in the vessel Mayflower for the New World. [The Mayflower was previously a whaler, and later a slave ship.]
  • 1620 Nov 9: Pilgrims aboard the vessel Mayflower sighted Cape Cod in present-day Massachusetts.
  • 1620 Nov 11: Aboard the vessel Mayflower, anchored off the coast of Massachusetts, 41 pilgrims signed a compact calling for a 'body politick'.
  • 1620 Nov 20: Birthday of Peregrine White aboard the vessel Mayflower in Massachusetts Bay, the first child born to English parents in New England; he died in 1704 at the age of 83.
  • 1620 Dec 21: Pilgrims on the vessel Mayflower stepped ashore for the first time at present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts.
  • 1621 April 5: The Mayflower sailed from Plymouth Colony on a month-long return trip to England.
  • 1621 June 3: The Dutch West India Company received a charter for a trade monopoly in the New World and for the territory of New Amsterdam, now known as New York.
  • 1625 March 27: Charles I succeeded James I as King of England; he reigned until his execution by Cromwell's Parliamentarians at age 48 in 1649.
  • 1626 May 4: Dutch explorer Peter Minuit landed on present-day Manhattan Island in New York.
  • 1630 Feb 22: Quadequina of the Wampanoag tribe introduced popcorn to the English colonists at Plymouth Colony.
  • 1630 Sept 16: The Massachusetts Colony village of Shawmut changed its name to Boston.
  • 1631 Feb 5: Roger Williams [1603?-1683] arrived in Boston; he founded the settlement of Providence (in present-day Rhode Island) in 1836.
  • 1634 March 25: English colonists founded the city of Baltimore (Maryland), named for their patron, the second Lord Baltimore.
  • 1636 Oct 28: Harvard College was founded in Massachusetts.
  • 1638 March 22: Religious dissident Anne Hutchinson was expelled from the Massachussets Bay Colony for defying Puritan orthodoxy.
  • 1639 Jan 14: Adoption of the first constitution of Connecticut, the Fundamental Orders.
  • 1649 Jan 30: After conviction by England's House of Commons for treason, King Charles I was executed at Whitehall Palace in London; England became a republic.
  • 1649 Jan 30: Scotland recognized King Charles II as King of Scotland and England, though England's Parliament refused to do so.
  • 1649 April 21: The Maryland Assembly passed the Toleration Act, providing for freedom of worship for all Christians.
  • 1650 Feb 11: Death of French philosopher René Descartes [1596-1650] at age 53 under mysterious circumstances at the Swedish court in Stockholm.
  • 1651 Sept 3: Cromwell's army defeated forces of King Charles II at the Battle of Worcester; Charles fled to France.
  • 1653 Feb 2: New Amsterdam – later renamed New York City – was incorporated.
  • 1658 Sept 3: Oliver Cromwell died at age 59; his death left England in political turmoil.
  • 1660 May 29: After being invited back to England as monarch by Parliament, King Charles II entered London to popular acclaim; he reigned until his death at age 54 in 1685.
  • 1663 July 8: King Charles II of England granted a charter to the Rhode Island Colony.
  • 1664 Sept 8: The Dutch surrendered New Amsterdam to the British, who renamed it New York.
  • 1680 Aug 10: Successful revolt of the Native Americans of New Mexico against the Spanish colonists, who retreated to El Paso; now celebrated as Pueblo Independence Day.
  • 1681 March 4: England's King Charles II granted a charter to William Penn for what later became Pennsylvania.
  • 1683 Oct 6: Thirteen families from Krefeld, Germany arrived in Philadelphia and founded Germantown.
  • 1685 Feb 6 [NS Feb 16]: England's King Charles II died at age 54, succeeded by his brother James II.
  • 1688 Dec 11: Catholic King James II was overthrown by his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband Hanoverian William of Orange-Nassau; James fled to France. The events are known as The Glorious Revolution.
  • 1689 April 11: William III of Orange [1650-1702] and wife Mary II [1662-1694] were crowned as joint sovereigns of Britain, Scotland & Ireland.
  • 1690 Feb 3: First paper money was issued in America, by the Colony of Massachusetts, to pay soldiers fighting in a war against Quebec.
  • 1690 July 12: Forces led by William of Orange defeated the army of England's James II at the Battle of The Boyne in Ireland.
  • 1692 June 10: Bridget Bishop was hanged, the first execution in the witch trials frenzy in Salem, Massachusetts.
  • 1694 Dec 28: England's Queen Mary II died at age 32; joint monarch William III continued to rule England until his death at age 51 in 1702.
  • 1699: Founding of the City of Williamsburg as the capital of Virginia Colony. (The historic district is preserved as Colonial Williamsburg, created in 1927.)

Before  The  Revolution

  • 1701 May 23: Notorious Boston-based pirate Captain William Kidd was executed in London, England after trial and conviction on charges of piracy & murder.
  • 1701 Oct 9: Founding of the Collegiate School of Connecticut; name later changed to Yale University.
  • 1702 March 8: Queen Anne {daughter of Charles II, sister of Mary II} succeeded Mary's husband William III as England's monarch; she reigned until her death at age 49 in 1714.
  • 1705: City of Albuquerque (New Mexico) was founded by Spanish settlers.
  • 1706 Jan 17: Birth of Benjamin Franklin in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • 1707 May 1: The Kingdom of Great Britain was created as the Act of Union treaty merging England & Scotland took effect.
  • 1710: City of Santa Fe (New Mexico) was founded by Spanish settlers.
  • 1710 April 10: The Statute of Anne, the world's first copyright law, enacted in 1709, came into force in England.
  • 1713 April 11: The signing of the Treaty of Utrecht ended the War of the Spanish Succession.
  • 1714 Aug 1: Queen Anne died at age 49 without descendents and was the last Stuart monarch; she was succeeded by her second cousin George I of the House of Hanover; he reigned until his death at age 67 in 1727.
  • 1714 Oct 20: Coronation of England's King George I at Westminster Abbey.
  • 1715: First Jacobite Rising, with mostly-Scottish loyalists attempting to restore the Stuarts to the crown.
  • 1718 June: Pirate Blackbeard's 300-ton flagship Queen Anne's Revenge ran aground at Beaufort Inlet on the coast of North Carolina; treasure hunters located the wreck in 1996.
  • 1718 Aug 25: Hundreds of French colonists arrived in Louisiana, with some settling in present-day New Orleans.
  • 1718 Nov 22: Notorious English pirate Edward Teach – known as 'Blackbeard' – was killed in hand-to-hand fighting during a battle at Ocracoke Island, North Carolina.
  • 1724 April 22: Birthday of philosopher Immanuel Kant in Königsberg, Prussia; he died there in 1804.
  • 1727 June 11 {NS June 22}: Hanoverian George II succeeded his father George I as King of Great Britain; he reigned until his death at age 76 in 1760.
  • 1729 July 30: Official founding of the Town of Baltimore, Maryland.
  • 1732 Dec 19: Benjamin Franklin began publishing Poor Richard's Almanak.
  • 1733 Jan 13: About 120 English colonists led by James Oglethorpe arrived at Charleston, South Carolina on their way to Georgia.
  • 1733 Feb 12: English colonists led by James Oglethorpe founded Savannah, Georgia.
  • 1736: Benjamin Franklin invented suspenders.
  • 1737 Feb 23: Birthday of founding father John Hancock in Quincy, Massachusetts; he died in 1793 in Boston.
  • 1743 April 14: Birthday of revolutionary Thomas Jefferson at Shadwell, Albemarle County, Virginia; he died 4 July 1826 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
  • 1745: Second Jacobite Rising, with Scotland's exiled 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' attempting to restore the Stuarts to the crown; the rebels were defeated at the Battle on Culloden Moor on 16 April 1746.
  • 1746 Oct 22: Princeton University was chartered as the College of New Jersey.
  • 1748: Opening of the first commercial coal mine in the U.S. near Richmond, Virginia.
  • 1752 Sept 2-13: Great Britain & the American colonies finally adopted the Gregorian calendar of October 1582.
  • 1754 May 9: Drawing printed in Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette was America's first political cartoon, depicting a snake cut in eight pieces, with the text 'JOIN, or DIE'.
  • 1754 July 3: The French and Indian War began, local skirmishes that preceded the Seven Years War [1756-63] that took place on five continents.
    The Story of the French and Indian War  "The War That Made America: The Story of The French and Indian War"
    [P.B.S./W.Q.E.D. Jan 2006]

    Co-produced, written & co-directed by Ben Loeterman & Eric Stange; hosted by Graham Greene, starring Larry Nehring, Alex Coleman, Chris Davenport, Ed Brigadier, Kevin McClatchy, Jeff Monahan, Anne Harsch & Shane Callahan
    P.B.S. 4-hour color DVD [2/2006] 2 disks for $29.99
    Valley soundtrack CD [1/2006] for $16.98
    full credits at IMDbofficial movie site

  • 1757 Jan 11: Birthday of founding father Alexander Hamilton in the West Indies; he died of wounds from a famous duel with U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr in 1804 at age 47.
  • 1757 June 23: Military forces of the British East India Company led by Robert Clive won the Battle of Plessy {Palashi} in Bengal, which established British colonial rule in South Asia for the next hundred years.
  • 1759 Jan 6: George Washington married wealthy widow Martha Dandridge Custis in New Kent County, Virginia.
  • 1759 Sept 13: The British defeated the French on the Plains of Abraham overlooking Quebec City, which ended the French & Indian Wars.
  • 1759 Sept 18: France formally surrendered Quebec to England.
  • 1760 Oct 25: Hanoverian George III succeeded his father George II as King of Great Britain; he reigned until his death at age 81 in 1820. He was the last British king to rule America.
  • 1761 Sept 22: Britain's King George III and his wife Charlotte were crowned at Westminster Abbey.
  • 1763 Feb 10: The Treaty of Paris, the official end of the Seven Years War and the French and Indian War; Great Britain and its German allies won against France and its allies; in America, France ceded Canada and Louisiana to England.
  • 1764 Feb 15: The site of present-day St. Louis, Missouri was established by Pierre Laclede & Auguste Chouteau.
  • 1765 March 22: Britain enacted the Stamp Act, to raise money from the American colonies to repay military expenses defending North America.
  • 1765 March 24: Britain enacted the Quartering Act, requiring American colonists to provide temporary housing for British soldiers.
  • 1765 May 18: About one-fourth of Montreal was destroyed by a fire.
  • 1765 May 29: At the Virginia House of Burgesses, Patrick Henry [1736-99] denounced the Stamp Act; he responded to a cry of 'Treason!' by declaring "If this be treason, make the most of it!"
  • 1765 Oct 19: The Stamp Act Congress, meeting in New York City, drew up a declaration of rights and liberties.
  • 1765 Nov 1: The Stamp Act went into effect.
  • 1765 Dec 8: Birthday of Eli Whitney in Westborough, Massachusetts; he invented the cotton 'gin in 1894, receiving fame but little fortune; he manufactured weapons until his death in 1825.
  • 1766 March 18: After fierce resistence from colonists, the Stamp Act of 1765 was repealed.
  • 1766 Nov 10: The Royal Governor of New Jersey signed a charter for Queens College in New Brunswick, forebear of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
  • 1769 June 7: American pioneer Daniel Boone began his exploration of present-day Kentucky.
  • 1769 July 16: Founding of Mission San Diego de Alcalá in present-day San Diego, California.
  • 1769 Dec 13: Charter issued for Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

The  Revolutionary  War

War Film Festival - Revolutionary War Movies

Spirit of America Bookstore's Founding Fathers of America Page

  • 1770 March 5: The Boston Massacre: British soldiers fired on a taunting crowd, killing five people.
  • 1770 April 29: British explorer Capt. James Cook landed at Botany Bay on Australia's east coast.
  • 1770 June 3: Founding of Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, south of present-day Carmel, California.
  • 1770 June 11: British explorer Capt. James Cook discovered Australia's Great Barrier Reef by running the H.M.S. Endeavour aground on it; the expedition was delayed seven weeks while the ship was repaired.
  • 1771 Aug 15: Birthday of Scottish author Sir Walter Scott, creator of "Ivanhoe" [1820 novel]; he died at age 61 in 1832.
  • 1773 Dec 16: Colonists dressed as Indians staged the Boston Tea Party in reaction to the prior Tea Act, dumping over 300 chests of tea overboard in Boston Harbor.
  • 1774 Sept 5: The First Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with Peyton Randolph of Virginia presiding.
  • 1774 Sept 26: Birthday of John Chapman in Leominster, Massachusetts; he became the American legendary figure 'Johnny Appleseed' in his lifetime and died in Indiana in 1845.
  • 1774 Oct 26: The First Continental Congress adjourned.

  • 1775 March 23: Patrick Henry's famous call for independence from Britain at the Virginia Provincial Convention: "Give me liberty, or give me death."
  • 1775 April 14: Formation of the first American society for the abolition of slavery.
  • 1775 April 18: Paul Revere's famous ride to warn of the Redcoats' advance - the start of the War of Independence.
  • 1775 April 19: The American Revolutionary War began at the battles of Lexington & Concord.
  • 1775 May 10: Second Continental Congress convened, with John Hancock of Massachusetts presiding, and was the government of the Colonies until ratification of the Articles of Confederation on 1 March 1781.
  • 1775 June 14: Founding of the Continental Army (forerunner of the U.S. Army).
  • 1775 June 15: The Second Continental Congress voted unanimously to appoint George Washington head of the Continental Army.
  • 1775 June 17: The Battle of Bunker Hill near Boston, Massachusetts (actually at Breed's Hill).
    Bunker Hill book by Nathaniel Philbrick  
    "Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution" [2013]
    by Nathaniel Philbrick

    Kindle Edition from Viking/Penguin [4/2013] for $16.99
    Viking Adult 9x6½ hardcover [4/2013] for $19.53
  • 1775 July 3: Gen. Washington took command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • 1775 Aug 22: England's King George III proclaimed the American colonies in a state of 'open and avowed rebellion'.
  • 1775 Sept 25: American revolutionary Ethan Allen was captured by the British as he led an attack on Montreal.
  • 1775 Nov 10: Congress authorized organization of the U.S. Marines.
  • 1775 Dec 16: Birthday of British author Jane Austen [1775-1817] in Hampshire, England.

  • 1776 Jan 10: Thomas Paine published his "Common Sense" pamphlet.
  • 1776 May 4: Rhode Island declared its freedom from England, two months before the Declaration of Independence.
  • 1776 June 7: Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee proposed to the Continental Congress a resolution calling for a Declaration of Independence.
  • 1776 June 11: Continental Congress formed a committee to draft a Declaration of Independence from Britain.
  • 1776 June 12: The Commonwealth of Virginia legislature adopted its Declaration of Rights.
  • 1776 June 29: Adoption of the Virginia state constitution; Patrick Henry made Governor.

Declaration of Independence poster      Declaration of Independence 4 July 1776
11"x17" sepia poster from Amazon for $4.99
18"x24" parchment poster from Amazon for $14.95

Declaration of Independence entry at Wikipedia
Declaration of Independence at National Archives website

  • 1776 July 2: The Continental Congress passed a resolution that "these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States".
  • 1776 July 8: Declaration of Independence returned from the printer; the Liberty Bell rang to summon citizens of Philadelphia to the first public reading, by Col. John Nixon.
  • 1776 July 9: Declaration of Independence was read to Washington's troops in New York.
  • 1776 Aug 27: British troops attacked American troops at the Battle of Long Island aka the Battle of Brooklyn Heights; Gen. Washington evacuated troops and materiel to Manhattan two nights later.
  • 1776 Sept 9: The Second Continental Congress made the term 'United States' official, replacing 'United Colonies'.
  • 1776 Sept 22: Nathan Hale, age 21, was hanged as a spy by the British.
  • 1776 Oct 9: Spanish missionaries settled in present-day San Francisco, California.
  • 1776 Nov 1: Founding of Mission San Juan Capistrano in California.
  • 1776 Nov 16: British troops captured Fort Washington in New York.
  • 1776 Dec 5: Founding of Phi Beta Kappa, the first scholastic fraternal society in America, at College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
  • 1776 Dec 25: Gen. Washington moved his troops across the Delaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces at Trenton, New Jersey.
  • 1776 Dec 26: The British Army were defeated by Washington's army at the Battle of Trenton [New Jersey].

  • 1777 Jan 3: Gen. Washington's army routed the British forces at the Battle of Princeton, New Jersey.
  • 1777 Jan 15: The people of New Connecticut declared their independence from New Hampshire & New York; the renamed Vermont Republic became the 14th state in 1791.
  • 1777 April 26: Sixteen-year-old Sybil Ludington rode her horse into the night thru Putnam and Dutchess counties in New York to alert militiamen that British troops were sacking Danbury, Connecticut.
  • 1777 June 14: The Continental Congress adopted the Stars & Stripes as the national flag.
  • 1777 July 6: British forces captured Fort Ticonderoga at Lake Champlain in upstate New York.
  • 1777 Aug 16: American forces won the Battle of Bennington in Walloomsac, New York.
  • 1777 Sept 11: American forces under Gen. Washington were defeated by the British Army near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the Battle of Brandywine Creek.
  • 1777 Sept 15: British forces occupied New York City.
  • 1777 Sept 19: The First Battle of Saratoga (actually the Battle of Freeman's Farm) with British troops driving out the American troops.
  • 1777 Sept 26: British troops occupied Philadelphia.
  • 1777 Sept 30: The Continental Congress, fleeing from advancing British troops, convened at the York, Pennsylvania Court House.
  • 1777 Oct 7: The Second Battle of Saratoga began (actually the Battle of Bemis Heights).
  • 1777 Oct 17: The battle at Saratoga ended; the 9,000-man British force under Gen. John Burgoyne surrendered to the American militia.
  • 1777 Nov 15: The Continental Congress approved the Articles of Confederation, precursor to the U.S. Constitution.
  • 1777 Dec 17: France recognized the new United States as independent from Britain.
  • 1777 Dec 19: Washington's Continental Army of around 11,000 men entered camp at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania following defeats at Brandywine and Germantown.

  • 1778 Jan 18: English explorer Capt. James Cook reached what he named as the Sandwich Islands, and is now known as Hawai'i.
  • 1778 April 1: The symbol of the dollar sign was invented by businessman Oliver Pollock of New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • 1778 June 18: American troops entered Philadelphia as the British withdrew.
  • 1778 June 19: Washington's retrained & resupplied Continental Army left Valley Forge.
  • 1778 June 28: The Battle of Monmouth in New Jersey, from which arose the legend of Molly Pitcher; British troops fled overnight to Sandy Hook, giving the victory to Washington's army.
  • 1779 Sept 23: The American warship Bonhomme Richard, commanded by John Paul Jones, defeated the British warship HMS Serapis.
  • 1780 Sept 23: Papers carried by captured British spy John André revealed American Gen. Benedict Arnold's plot to surrender the fortifications under his command at West Point, New York to the enemy.
  • 1780 Oct 2: British spy John André was hanged in Tappan, New York.

  • 1781 Jan 5: A British naval expedition led by Benedict Arnold burned Richmond, Virginia.
  • 1781 March 1: The Articles of Confederation were ratified, and the Continental Congress adjourned and re-formed the next day as the Congress of the Confederation (or the United States in Congress Assembled), which was the government of the Colonies until the government under the U.S. Constitution became operative on March 4, 1789.
  • 1781 March 13: Discovery of the seventh planet Uranus announced by British astronomer Sir William Herschel.
  • 1781 Sept 4: Founding of El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de los Ángeles sobre el Río Porciúncula by 22 adult settlers and 22 children from Mexico; the village grew up to become Los Angeles, California.
  • 1781 Sept 28: American forces, with the backing of a French fleet, began the successful siege of Yorktown, Virginia.
  • 1781 Oct 19: British troops under Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia.

  • 1782 June 20: Congress approved the Great Seal of the United States.
  • 1782 Aug 7: Army General George Washington established the Order of the Purple Heart, honoring wounded soldiers.

  • 1783 Feb 4: England's King George III declared hostilities with its former colonies in America at an end.
  • 1783 Feb 5: Sweden recognized the independence of the new United States.
  • 1783 April 11: America declared hostilities at an end.
  • 1783 June 5: The Montgolfier Brothers publicly demonstrated their hot-air balloon in a ten-minute flight in Annonay, France.
  • 1783 Oct 15: The first manned balloon flight as Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier ascended in a Montgolfier Brothers hot-air balloon tethered on a 75-foot rope.
  • 1783 Nov 21: The first manned free balloon flight as Jean-François Pilâtre and the Marquis d'Arlandes ascended to 3,000 feet and traveled 5½ miles (9 km) across Paris, France in a flight that lasted about 25 minutes.
  • 1783 Nov 25: The British evacuated New York City, their last military position in the United States.
  • 1783 Dec 23: Gen. George Washington resigned as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army and retired to his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia.

  • 1784 Jan 14: The Revolutionary War ended as the U.S. ratified the Treaty of Paris.

The  Constitutional  Era

  • 1785 Jan 1: The Daily Universal Register newspaper of London, England published its first issue (the name was changed to The Times three years later).
  • 1787 May 25: The Constitutional Convention was convened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after enough delegates arrived for a quorum.
  • 1787 July 13: The Congress of the Confederation established the Northwest Territory, consisting of present-day Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota.
  • 1787 Aug 22: Inventor John Fitch demonstrated his steamboat on the Delaware River near Philadelphia to delegates to the Constitutional Convention.
  • 1787 Sept 17: The U.S. Constitution document was completed and signed by delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.
  • 1787 Sept 28: Congress voted to send the new Constitution to state legislatures for ratification.
  • 1787 Oct 27: The first of the Federalist Papers, essays urging ratification of the U.S. Constitution, was published in a New York City newspaper.
  • 1788 June 21: The U.S. Constitution went into effect as New Hampshire became the 9th state to ratify.
U.S Constitution poster      U.S Constitution 17 September 1787
24"x36" poster from Amazon for $28.95
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U.S. Constitution entry at Wikipedia
U.S. Constitution at National Archives website

  • 1788 July 26: New York was the 11th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
  • 1788 Sept 13: America's Congress of Confederation authorized the first national election, and declared New York City as the temporary national capitol.
  • 1788 Dec 23: The state of Maryland passed an act ceding territory 'not exceeding ten miles square' for the seat of a national government; the present District of Columbia includes the cities of Washington and Georgetown.

  • 1789 Feb 4: Electors unanimously chose Gen. George Washington to be the first President of the United States.
  • 1789 March 4: The U.S. government began official operations under the Constitution (and the Congress of the Confederation was dissolved). The first meeting of Federal Congress in New York City was adjourned for lack of a quorum.
  • 1789 April 16: President-elect George Washington left Mount Vernon, Virginia for his inauguration in New York City.
  • 1789 April 23: President-elect George Washington and wife Martha moved into the first executive mansion, Franklin House / Samuel Osgood House in New York City.
  • 1789 April 30: George Washington was inaugurated in New York City as the first President of the United States.
  • 1789 July 27: Congress established the Department of Foreign Affairs.
  • 1789 Aug 7: Congress established the War Department.
  • 1789 Sept 2: Congress established the Treasury Department.
  • 1789 Sept 15: The Dept. of Foreign Affairs was renamed the Department of State.
  • 1789 Sept 15: Birthday of James Fenimore Cooper, most famous as author of The Leatherstocking Tales [1823-41]; he died in 1851 at age 61.
  • 1789 Sept 24: Congress passed a Judiciary Act establishing an Attorney General and a Supreme Court with six justices.
  • 1789 Sept 25: Twelve item 'Bill of Rights' approved by Congress.
  • 1789 Oct 3: President George Washington declared a 'Day of Thanksgiving' on November 26th to express gratitude for the creation of the United States of America.
  • 1789 Nov 20: New Jersey was the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.
  • 1789 Nov 26: America's first National Day of Thanksgiving.

  • 1790: Founding of The King Arthur Flour Company in Boston, Massachusetts; company moved to Norwich, CT in 1978.
  • 1790 Feb 1: The U.S. Supreme Court convened for the first time in New York.
  • 1790 May 29: Rhode Island became the 13th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, making the matter unanimous.
  • 1790 May 31: First U.S. Copyright Law was enacted, entitled "An Act to Promote the Progress of Useful Arts".
  • 1790 July 16: A site on the Maryland side of the Potomac River was established as the seat of the U.S. government; it later became the District of Columbia.
  • 1790 Aug 1: First U.S. Census completed, showing a population of 3.93 million people in the 13 original states (vs. estimated world population of 870 million).
  • 1790 Aug 4: Establishment of the Revenue Cutter Service, forerunner of the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • 1790 Dec 6: Congress moved from New York City to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • 1790 Dec 20: The first successful American cotton mill began operation in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
  • 1791 March 4: Vermont was admitted to the union as the 14th state.
  • 1791 Dec 15: The ten-item Bill of Rights went into effect following ratification by Virginia.

U.S Bill of Rights poster      U.S Bill of Rights:
approved 25 September 1789; ratified 15 December 1791

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18"x24" parchment poster from Amazon for $14.95

Bill of Rights entry at Wikipedia
Bill of Rights at National Archives website

  • 1792 Feb 20: President Washington signed legislation creating the U.S. Post Office.
  • 1792 March-April: U.S. financial crisis dubbed the 'Panic of 1792', during which securities lost 25 percent of their value.
  • 1792 April 20: France declared war on Austria, the beginning of the French Revolutionary Wars.
  • 1792 May 17: Founding of the New York Stock Exchange, signed by 24 brokers and agents under a buttonwood tree in front of 68 Wall Street in New York City. { See Maison d'Être Philosophy Bookstore's Wall Street Page }
  • 1792 June 1: Kentucky admitted to the union as the 15th state.
  • 1792 Aug 13: French revolutionary forces imprisoned France's royal family.
  • 1792 Sept 21: The French National Convention voted to abolish the monarchy.
  • 1792 Oct 13: Ceremonial laying the cornerstone of the Executive Mansion (later known as the White House) in Washington, DC.
  • 1792 Dec 11: France's King Louis XVI appeared before the National Convention on charges of treason; he was convicted on 15 January 1793 by a vote of 693 deputies for guilty, none for acquittal, and 23 abstaining; the vote on the sentence was a squeaker, with 361 for the death penalty and 360 for some form of imprison-ment or exile instead.

  • 1793: The Copyright Act of 1790 was repealed and replaced by a slightly longer act, the drafting of which is largely attributed to Thomas Jefferson.
  • 1793 Jan 9: Frenchman Jean Pierre Blanchard flew a hot-air balloon between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Woodbury, New Jersey (a distance of around ten miles}.
  • 1793 Jan 21: France's former King Louis XVI was beheaded by guillotine on the Place de la Révolution in Paris.
  • 1793 March 2: Birthday of Sam Houston, the first President of the Republic of Texas, in Lexington, Virginia.
  • 1793 June 24: Adoption of the constitution of France's First Republic.
  • 1793 Sept 18: President George Washington laid the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol Building.
  • 1793 Oct 16: French revolutionaries beheaded Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France.
  • 1793 Nov 8: The Louvre Museum in Paris, France began admitting the public, even though it had been officially open since August.

  • 1794 March 14: Eli Whitney received a patent for his cotton engine (or 'cotton gin') which revolutionized the production of cotton in America, especially in the Southern states.
  • 1794 Nov 19: U.S. and Britain signed Jay's Treaty, resolving some issues left over from the Revolutionary War.
  • 1795 Summer & Fall: The Whiskey Rebellion, over taxes on small distiller farmers. George Washington assembled a gigantic army and scoured Western Pennsylvania, but only two men were tried & convicted, and Washington pardoned both.
  • 1795 Oct 27: The United States and Spain signed the Treaty of San Lorenzo (aka Pinckney's Treaty), agreeing to boundaries and to free navigation on the Mississippi River.
  • 1796 June 1: Tennessee admitted to the union as the 16th state.
  • 1796 July 22: The settlement of Cleveland in Ohio was founded by surveyor General Moses Cleaveland.
  • 1797 Oct 21: Launch of the U.S. Navy frigate Constitution in Boston Harbor; the vessel was later nicknamed 'Old Ironsides'.
  • 1797 Oct 22: French balloonist Andre-Jacques Garnerin made the first parachute descent, from a height of about 3,000 feet above Paris, France.
  • 1798 July 11: The U.S. Marine Corps was formally re-established, which included the creation of the U.S. Marine Band.
  • 1798 Jan 8: PresidentJohn Adams declared the 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in effect, nearly three years after it was ratified by the states; the amendment prohibits a citizen of one state or a foreign country from suing another state in federal court.
  • 1798 July 11: Congress formally re-established the U.S. Marine Corps and created the U.S. Marine Band.

  • 1800 April 24: Congress established the Library of Congress.

Ancient Times - 3500 B.C.E to 1490

1491-1800 { top of this page }    •   next: 1801-1900    •    1901-1930    •    1931-1950

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