Historical Timeline

North America

The World

Leif Ericson lands in North America, c. 1000
The First Crusade begins, 1096

Iroquois Constitution, c. 1200
Magna Carta, 1215
The Inquisition begins under Pope Gregory IX, 1231

Mandan migrate from the Ohio Valley, 1250
The beginning of the Renaissance in Italy, c. 1325

Journal of the First Voyage of Columbus, Christopher Columbus, 1492
Joan of Arc is burned at the stake as a witch, 1431

St. Augustine, Florida is established by the Spanish; it is the first town established by Europeans in the US, 1565
Sir Walter Raleigh founds North Carolina, the first English colony in North America, 1587
Virginia Dare, the first English child born in America, is born, 1587.

Hernando Cortes conquers Mexico, 1519
Ferdinand Magellan reaches the Pacific, 1521
The English defeat the Spanish Armada, 1588

The first African slaves are brought to Jamestown, 1619
The House of Burgesses, the first representative assembly in America, meets for the first time, 1619
The Mayflower lands in Cape Cod, 1620
The Articles of Confederation of Plymouth Plantation, William Bradford, 1621
Peter Minuit buys Manhattan from Indians, 1626

Don Quixote, the first modern novel, is published, 1605
Shakespeare publishes his sonnets, 1609
Galileo observes the moons of Jupiter, 1610
The Thirty Years’ War begins, 1618
The first English newspaper, Corante, appears, 1621

Boston is founded by Massachusetts colonists led by John Winthrop, 1630
North America’s first university is founded at Cambridge in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and Limitation of Government, John Cotton, 1639
A Key into the Language of America, Roger Williams, 1643

End of the Thirty Years’ War, German population cut in half, 1648
Charles I is put on trial for fighting a war against Parliament and is beheaded, 1649

Rhode Island enacts the first law in the colonies declaring slavery illegal, 1652
The Virginia Slave Laws, Act I, III, XII, with chapters XXII, XLIX, 1662

Parliament establishes the first of many Navigation Acts to preserve international trade for English ships, 1651
The Great Plague kills 75,000 people in London, 1665

King Philip’s War, 1675-1676
Pennsylvania is founded as William Penn, a Quaker, receives a royal charter with a large land grant from King Charles II, 1681
The Salem Witch Trials: The Case against John and Elizabeth Proctor, 1692

Ole Roemer, while working with Cassini in Paris, calculates the speed of light with an error of 25 percent, 1676
Isaac Newton publishes Principia Mathematica, showing gravity is constant in all physical systems, 1687

The Boston News Letter becomes the first newspaper in America, 1704
French Colonists found New Orleans, 1718

The War of Spanish Succession begins, 1701
Thomas Newcomen creates a piston steam engine, beginning the Industrial Revolution, 1710
Fahrenheit perfects the mercury thermometer, 1714

In Defense of John Zenger and the Press, Andrew Hamilton, 1733
Zenger is acquitted of libel in New York, establishing freedom of the press, 1735
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God / On the Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards, 1741, 1743

The War of Jenkin’s Ear begins, 1739
British overcome Scots under Stuart Pretender Prince Charles at Culloden Moor; it is the last battle fought on British land, 1746

Ben Franklin invents the lightning rod, 1752; also creates the first American political cartoon, the chopped-up snake with the caption “Join or Die,” urging the unity of the colonies, 1754
Publication of the Encyclopédie begins in France, the “bible” of the Enlightenment, 1751
The first physical map of France is made by Jean Etienne Guettard, 1751