Important Events in American History


Edwin Aldrin on the moon, July 20, 1969
(NASA)

 

  1. Pre-Columbian Cultures

 

ca. 10,000 B.C.

Asians begin several migrations over Bering Strait

4000 B.C.

Maize cultivation begins in southern Mexico

700 B.C.

Olmec people flourish along Gulf of Mexico

 

100 A.D.

Hopewell culture sets up massive trading network

 

300

Mayan city of Tikal features 20,000 residents and many temples

 

500

Teotihuacan's population reaches 100,000 at peak of culture

 

600

Hohokan civilization develops in present Arizona and New Mexico

 

900

Anasazi build cliff villages in American southwest

 

1125

City of Cahokia (near present St. Louis) has 15,000 residents and 100 temple mounds

 

1325

Aztecs build Tenochtitlan on site of current Mexico City

 

1438

Incas begin conquest of Andean region of South America

 

1492

Columbus lands at San Salvador in Bahamas

 

1494

Treaty of Tordesillas divides New World between Spain and Portugal

 

 


1. The Colonial Period (1500-1763)

 

1517

Martin Luther challenges Roman Catholic authority, beginning Protestant Reformation in Europe

1521

Cortez conquers Aztecs in Mexico

Magellan circumnavigates the globe

1533

 

Pizarro captures Inca capital in Peru

1539

 

de Soto explores southeast U.S.

1540

 

Coronado explores southwest U.S.

1558

 

Elizabeth I takes throne in England

1585

 

Roanoke Island colony established off Virginia coast, then disappears

1607

 

Jamestown colony founded

1608

 

Champlain founds Quebec

1611

 

First Virginia tobacco crop harvested

1619

 

First Africans arrive in Virginia

1620

Plymouth Colony founded

House of Burgesses established in Virginia

1622

 

Powhatan Confederacy attacks Virginia settlers

1630

 

Massachusetts Bay Colony founded

1635

Roger Williams establishes Rhode Island colony

 

1636

Harvard College is founded

 

1660

 

Anne Hutchinson expelled from Massachusetts Bay

1642-1648

 

English Civil War

1647

 

Massachusetts law requires a public school in every town

1649

 

King Charles I executed

1660

 

Charles II becomes king

1662

 

Halfway Covenant established in New England

1676

 

Bacon's Rebellion in Virginia

   1680  Pope's Revolt in New Mexico

1681

Pennsylvania established by William Penn

 

1688

Glorious Revolution in England. William and Mary succeed James II

 

1692

 

Witchcraft trials begin in Salem

1714

 

George I takes throne, beginning Hanover dynasty

1734

 

Great Awakening begins

1739

 

Stono Rebellion in North Carolina

George Whitefield begins preaching in America

1743

Benjamin Franklin sets up the American Philosophical Society

 

1754

French & Indian War begins

Albany Plan of Union

1759

Britain captures  Quebec

 

1763

Regulator  movement in the Carolinas

Pontiac's Revolt

Treaty of Paris

 


 

  1. America in Revolt (1763-1783)

 

1763

Proclamation Line of 1763

 

1764

Sugar Act

Currency Act

1765

Stamp Act

Sons of Liberty formed

1767

Townshend  Duties

Dickinson's  "Letters of a Pennsylvania Farmer"

1770

Boston Massacre

Lord North becomes British prime minister

1772

Ship Gaspee  burned off coast of Rhode Island

 

1773

Tea Act

Boston Tea Party

1774

Intolerable Acts

First Continental Congress

1775

Lexington and Concord

Battle of Bunker Hill

1776

Common Sense by Thomas Paine

Declaration of Independence

Battle of New York City

Battle of Trenton

1777

British surrender 5800 men at Saratoga

American army at Valley Forge

1778

French-American alliance established

British begin Southern strategy and capture Savannah

1780

British capture Charleston

French army lands in Connecticut

1781

 

Articles of Confederation approved
Gen. Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown

1783

 

Treaty of Paris ends war, grants American independence
Newburgh Conspiracy of American army officers

 


 

  1. Articles Period & The United States Constitution (1784-1789)

 

1785

Land Ordinance provides  for orderly development of territories

Spain closes the Mississippi River to America

1786

Annapolis Convention
Virginia adopts  Jefferson's "Statute of Religious Freedom"

Shays' Rebellion

1787

Northwest Ordinance

Constitutional Convention meets in Philadelphia

1788

Federalist Papers published

New Hampshire is ninth state to ratify Constitution,

1789

Washington elected president

French Revolution begins as Bastille is stormed
French National Assembly issues "Declaration of Rights of Man"

 


 

  1. The New Nation (1789-1824)

 

1789

Judiciary Act sets up federal court system

 

1791

Bill of Rights approved

First Bank of United States chartered

1793

Washington issues Proclamation of Neutrality

Louis XVI executed  in France

Cotton gin invented by Eli Whitney

1794

Whiskey Rebellion

 

1795

Jay Treaty

Pinckney Treaty

Treaty of Greenville

1796

Adams defeats Jefferson for presidency

 

1798

XYZ Affair

Alien and Sedition Acts

Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions

1800

Jefferson defeats Adams for presidency

Prosser's Rebellion

1801

John Marshall becomes Chief Justice

Midnight judges appointed by Adams

1803

Marbury v. Madison decision

Louisiana Purchase

1804

Lewis & Clark Expedition

 

1807

Chesapeake-Leopard incident

Embargo Act

Robert Fulton builds Clermont, first steamboat

1811

Battle of Tippecanoe

 

1812

Congress declares war on Britain

 

1814

British burn Washington, D.C.

Treaty of Ghent ends War of 1812

Hartford Convention

1815

Jackson defeats British at New Orleans

 

1819

First section of Erie Canal is opened

Panic of 1819

McCullough v. Maryland decision

1820

Missouri Compromise

 

1823

Monroe Doctrine

 

1824

Congress sets protective tariffs

Gibbons v. Ogden  decision promotes interstate trade

 


 

  1. Jacksonian Democracy and Westward Expansion (1824-1850)

 

1825

John Quincy Adams wins Corrupt Bargain presidential election

 

1828

Tariff of Abominations

Jackson wins presidency

1830

Jackson vetoes  Maysville Road extension

Baltimore & Ohio becomes first railroad company

Joseph Smith publishes Book of Mormon

1831

Cherokee Nation v. Georgia denies Indian claim of nationhood

Nat Turner's Rebellion

1832

Jackson vetoes U.S. Bank re-charter

Nullification crisis in South Carolina

1834

Women workers at Lowell, Massachusetts stage first strike

 

1836

Texas independence fight

Gag rule prevents discussion of slavery in Congress

1837

Panic of 1837

 

1838

Trail of Tears

 

1842

Commonwealth v. Hunt legalizes unions

1845

Annexation of Texas

 

1846

U.S. declares war on Mexico

Oregon Treaty

1847

Winfield Scott captures Mexico City

 

1848

Gold discovered in northern California

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

Seneca  Falls statement of women's rights

1849

California gold rush

 

 


 

  1. Sectional Conflict and the Causes of the Civil War (1850-1860)

 

1850

Compromise of 1850

Fugitive Slave Law passed

1852

Uncle Tom's Cabin published

 

1854

Ostend Manifesto

Kansas-Nebraska Act

Republican Party formed

1856

ÒBleeding KansasÓ

 

1857

Dred Scott decision

Lecompton  Constitution in Kansas

1858

Lincoln-Douglas debates

 

1859

John Brown's raid

 

1860

Lincoln elected president

 

 


 

  1. The Civil War and Reconstruction (1860-1877)

 

1860

Crittenden Compromise proposed

South Carolina secedes

1861

Confederacy formed

Firing on Ft. Sumter

First Battle of Bull Run

1862

Shiloh

Antietam

Homestead Act

Emancipation Proclamation announced

1863

Vicksburg

Gettysburg

New York City draft riots

1864

Grant takes command of all Union armies

Sherman captures Atlanta

1865

Lee surrenders at Appomattox

Lincoln assassinated

13th Amendment  ends slavery

Freedmen's Bureau established

1867

Alaska purchased from Russia

Grange founded

1868

President Johnson impeached

14th Amendment passed

Grant elected president

1869

Transcontinental railroad completed

Knights of Labor formed

1873

Slaughterhouse case

Panic of 1873

1875

Dwight L. Moody begins urban revivalism movement

 

1876

Custer defeated   by Sioux at Little Big Horn

 

1877

Compromise of 1877

Reconstruction ends

 


 

  1. Industrialism, War, and the Progressive Era (1877-1912)

 

1877

San Francisco anti-Chinese riots

 

1878

Bland-Allison Act

 

1879

Edison invents the light bulb

 

1881

Pres. Garfield assassinated

Helen Hunt Jackson writes A Century of Dishonor

1882

Standard Oil Trust formed

Chinese Exclusion Act

1883

Pendleton Civil Service Act

 

1885

First skyscraper built in Chicago

 

1886

Haymarket Square bombing in Chicago

American Federation of Labor formed

1887

Dawes Act

 

1889

Jane Addams founds Hull House in Chicago

 

1890

Sioux massacred at Wounded Knee

Sherman Antitrust Act

Sherman Silver Purchase Act

U.S. Census declares frontier's end

Alfred Mahan writes The Influence of Sea Power Upon History

1891

Populist Party formed

 

1892

Homestead Steel Strike

 

1893

Panic of 1893

Great Northern Railroad completed

1894

Pullman strike

Coxey's Army

1895

Booker T. Washington's Atlanta Compromise speech

 

1896

Plessy v. Ferguson upholds separate but equal

McKinley defeat Bryan for president

1898

U.S.S. Maine sinks in Havana Harbor

Spanish-American War

Dewey captures Philippine Islands

Hawaii annexed by U.S.

1899

Aguinaldo leads Filipinos against Americans

Treaty of Paris ends Spanish-American War

Open Door Policy in China

1900

Boxer Rebellion in China

 

1901

Theodore Roosevelt becomes president

 

1902

Platt Amendment

Pres. Roosevelt settles coal strike

1903

U.S. recognizes Panama's independence

 

1904

Northern Securities Trust dissolved

Roosevelt Corollary declared

1906

Upton Sinclair writes The Jungle

Pure Food and Drug Act

Hepburn Act passed

Pres. Roosevelt wins Nobel Peace Prize

1908

Muller v. Oregon   limits women's working hours

Taft elected president

1909

NAACP formed

 

1911

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

Mexican Revolution erupts

1912

Roosevelt forms Progressive Party to challenge Taft

Wilson elected president

 


 

  1. Wilson and World War I (1912-1920)

 

1912

 

1913

Underwood Tariff

Federal Reserve Act

16th Amendment (direct senator election) ratified

17th Amendment (income tax) ratified

1914

Clayton Antitrust Act

Panama Canal opens

World War I begins

1915

Germans sink Lusitania

 

1916

Margaret Sangers organizes New York Birth Control League

Gen. Pershing pursues Pancho Villa in Mexico

1917

Germany resumes unrestricted submarine warfare

U.S. declares war on Germany

War Industries Board established

Espionage Act passed

Russian Revolution

Com mittee on Public Information established

1918

Wilson proposes Fourteen Points

Armistice ends war

U.S. troops intervene in Russia

1919

Treaty of Versailles

Red Scare and Palmer raids

Senate rejects U.S. role in League of Nations 18th Amendment (Prohibition) ratified

Over 20% of U.S. labor force goes on strike

Schenck v. United States

Race riots and lynchings throughout U.S.

1920

19th Amendment (women's suffrage) ratified

 



  1. The Roaring Twenties and Economic Collapse (1920-1929)

 

1920

Sacco and Vanzetti  arrested

Harding elected president

First commercial radio broadcast

1921

Washington Naval Conference

Emergency Quota Act restricts immigration

1923

Teapot Dome scandal

Marcus Garvey claims six million followers

Ku Klux Klan claims five million members

1924

National Origins Act sets 2% quotas for immigration

 

1925

Scopes Tennessee evolution trial

Model T Ford drops to cost of $290, three months wages

1927

Lindberg's solo flight across the Atlantic

Sacco and Vanzetti executed

Babe Ruth hits 60 home runs for the Yankees

Al Jolson stars in The Jazz Singer, the first talking film

1928

Hoover elected president

52 nations sign Kellogg-Briand Pact renouncing war

1929

Stock Market crashes in October

 

 


 

  1. The Great Depression and the New Deal (1929-1941)

 

1929

Agricultural Marketing Act  attempts to support farm prices

 

1930

Hawley-Smoot Tariff raises duties on farm products and manufacterd goods

 

1931

Japan invades Manchuria

 

1932

Reconstruction Finance Corporation attempts to support industry

Bonus Expeditionary Force marches on Washington, D.C.

Franklin Roosevelt wins presidency

1933

Prohibition repealed

Hundred Days of legislation follows FDR's inauguration

Banks closed after over 6000 fail

FDIC established by Glass-Steagall Act

Agricultural Adjustment Act passed

National Industrial Recovery Act passed

Tennessee Valley Authority established

Civilian Conservation Corps enrolls 250,000 young men

Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany

1934

Security and Exchange Commission established

Huey Long begins Share Our Wealth clubs

Dr. Francis Townsend promots Old Age Revolving Pension Plan

Nye Committee probes World War Iprofiteering by American industrialists

1935

Schecter v. United States rules NIRA unconstitutional

Works Progress Administration established

National Labor Relations (Wagner) Act protects workers' rights

Social Security Act passed

Congress passes first of annual Neutrality Acts

1936

FDR defeats Republican Landon and third-party Union Party for president

General Motors sitdown strike

Germany occupies the Rhineland

Spanish Civil War begins

Ethiopia falls to Italy

1937

 

FDR proposes court-packing plan which fails

Japan invades China

U.S. gunship Panay sunk by Japanese in Yangtze River

1938

Appeasement at Munich by England's Chamberlin as Germany takes Sudetenland

 

1939

Czechoslovakia falls to Germany

Austria votes to be annexed by Germany

Germany invades Poland

Neutrality Act allows cash-and-carry for military purchases

Germany and Soviet Union sign non-aggression pact

1940

Germany conquers Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France

Congress approves first peace-time draft

U.S. and Great Britain sign destroyers for bases deal

America  First Committee established, urging U.S. neutrality

Italy, Germany,  and Japan form  the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis

FDR wins unprecedented third term for president

1941

Lend-Lease Act allows U.S. to financially assist Allied nations

FDR and Churchill sign Atlantic Charter, pledging self-determination for all nations

Germany invades Soviet Union

Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, killing 2,323 U.S. servicemen

U.S. declares war on Japan on December 8


 

  1. World War II and the Post-War Era (1941-1960) 

 

1941

Axis Powers declare war on the U.S. three days after Pearl Harbor

 

1942

Japan captures Philippine Islands as Bataan and Corregidor fall

War Production Board established

U.S. begins interning Japanese-American citizens

Germany sinks 400 American ships

Battle of Coral Sea

Battle of Midway

U.S. attacks Vichy forces and Germans in North Africa

Manhattan Project begins

1943

Casablanca Conference

Americans seize Guadalcanal  Island

Soveits defeat Germans at Stalingrad

Allies invade Italy

Teheran Conference

1944

Allies invade France at Normandy (D-Day) June 6

Battle of Leyte Gulf

Roosevelt elected president for fourth term

Island-hopping campaign retakes Guam Island

Battle of the Bulge

1945

Yalta Conference

U.S. bombing raids destroy 250,000 buildings in Tokyo

50 nations approve United Nations Charter inSan Francisco Conference

Hitler commits suicide in Berlin bunker

V-E Day

Americans recapture the Philippine Islands

Potsdam Conference

Bomb dropped on Hiroshima

Soviets declare war on Japan

Bomb dropped on Nagasaki

V-J Day

1946

Churchill gives Iron Curtain speech

George Kennan proposes containment policy

1947

Truman Doctrine aids nations resisting communism

Marshall Plan provides economic aid to Europe

House Un-american Activities Committee investigates Hollywood

Jackie Robinson breaks color line in baseball

Taft-Hartley Act slows growth of labor unions

1948

Soviets block access to West Berlin in Berlin Airlift

Alger Hiss case begins

Truman signs armed forces desegregation order

Israel becomes a nation

Truman defeats Dewey in presidential election

1949

NATO formed

Soviet Union explodes atomic bomb

Mao leads communist takeover in China

1950

Korean War begins

U.S. troops invade North Korea

Chinese troops enter war

Rosenberg spy trial begins

McCarthy begins anti-communist campaign

U.S. begins hydrogen bomb program

1951

Gen. MacArthur relieved of command in Korea

Peace negotiations begin in Panmunjon, Korea

1952

U.S. ends Japan occupation

Eisenhower elected president

1953

Korean War ends with truce and demilitarized zone

Stalin dies

1954

Brown v. Topeka Board of Education

Army-McCarthy hearings

French surrender at Dienbienphu in Vietnam

Sen. McCarthy censured by Senate

1955

Martin Luther King, Jr. begins Montgomery Bus Boycott

 

1956

Suez crisis

Soviets crush Hungarian revolt

1957

Soviets launch Sputnik

Eisenhower Doctrine commits economic aid to Middle East

Little Rock school desegregation crisis

1959

Castro takes over in Cuba

Soviet Premier Khrushchev visits U.S.

 


 

  1. The New Frontier, Vietnam, and Social Upheaval (1960-1972)

 

1960

Kennedy and Nixon participate in first televised presidential debates

Greensboro sit-in protests

Kennedy defeats Nixon

1961

Bay of Pigs invasion fails

Freedom rides

Berlin Wall built

Peace Corps established

Alliance for Progress established

1962

Cuban Missile Crisis

Students for a Democratic Society formed

1963

Rev. King begins Birmingham desegregation efforts

University of Alabama admits first black student

Civil Rights March on Washington

Premier Diem of South Vietnam toppled by U.S.-approved coup

Pres. Kennedy assassinated

1964

President Johnson announces war on poverty

Freedom summer vote registration campaign in Mississippi

Civil Rights Act passed

VISTA established

Berkeley Free Speech Movement

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed

U.S. begins bombing of North Vietnam

Johnson elected president

1965

Medicare funding begins

Race riots in Watts

Malcolm X assassinated

American combat troops sent to Vietnam

1966

National Organization for Women (NOW) formed

Stokely Carmichael leads black power movement

1967

Race riots in Detroit and Newark

Massive antiwar protest in Washington, D.C.

Israel, Arab neighbors fight six-day war

1968

Viet Cong launch Tet Offensive

Johnson withdraws from presidential race

Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinated

Robert Kennedy assassinated

Protests at Chicago Democratic Convention

Nixon elected president

1969

Woodstock festival

Apollo 11 crew lands on moon

Stonewall riot launches gay liberation movement

1970

U.S. invades Cambodia

Kent State Massacre

1972

Nixon visits People's Republic of China

DŽtente begins with Soviet Union

SALT I Treaty signed with Soviet Union

 


 

  1. Watergate, Carter, and the New Conservatism (1972-2001)

 

1972

Watergate break-in occurs at Democratic Headquarters

Nixon defeats McGovern for presidency

Haiphong Harbor in North Vietnam mined by U.S.

1973

U.S., North Vietnam sign Paris Peace Accords

Roe v. Wade expands abortion rights

Yom Kippur War in Israel

Vice-president Agnew resigns in disgrace

1974

Impeachment proceedings begin against Pres. Nixon

U.S. v. Richard Nixon rules that tapes must be turned over

Nixon resigns and Ford succeeds him

Ford pardons Nixon

1975

U.S. abandons South Vietnam as it falls to North Vietnam

 

1978

Bakke vs. University of California Regents affirmative action case

Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt

1979

U.S. and China establish diplomatic relations

Iran deposes shah

Iran militants capture U.S. embassy and take hostages

Soviet Union invades Afghanistan

Three-Mile Island nuclear accident

Sandinistas overthrow Somoza in Nicaragua

1980

U.S. boycotts Moscow Olympics

Reagan elected president

1981

Iran releases hostages

Reagan breaks air traffic controller strike

Sandra Day O'Connor named first woman Supreme Court justice

AIDS epidemic reaches U.S.

1982

241 Marines killed in Lebanon

U.S. invades Grenada

1985

Gorbachev takes power in Soviet Union

 

1986

Iran-Contra affair

Challenger space shuttle explodes after takeoff

1989

Exxon Valdez runs aground in Alaska

Students begin pro-democracy demonstrations in China

Berlin Wall falls

1990

Saddam Hussein of Iraq invades Kuwait

 

1991

Operation Desert Storm ends Iraq's occupation of Kuwait

Soviet Union breaks up as Cold War ends

1992

Los Angeles riots follow Rodney King verdict

Clinton elected president

1993

North American Free Trade Agreement approved

 

1995

U.S., NATO forces enforce peace in Bosnia

 

1999

Clinton acquitted following House impeachment

 

2000

George W. Bush, Jr. defeats Gore in disputed election

 

2001

Hijackers crash planes into World Trade Center towers and Pentagon

U.S. invades Afghanistan to overthrow Taliban government

Patriot Act gives U.S. broad powers to investigate terrorism