Early America Major Events

  • British Captain George Vancouver begins a survey of the Pacific coast.

    British Captain George Vancouver, a veteran of Cook's expeditions, begins a survey of the Pacific coast. Charting the many inlets and channels north from near San Luis Obispo to Prince of Wales Island, he confirms that no sea lane connects the Pacific with Hudson Bay. On this voyage he circles Vancouver Island, which he names for himself.
  • Alexander Mackenzie, a fur trader with the North West Company, becomes the first white man to cross the North American continent.

    From his trading post, Fort Chipewyan on Lake Athabasca in what is now Alberta, Canada, Mackenzie crosses the Rocky Mountains and travels through British Columbia, eventually canoeing down the Bella Coola River to the Pacific.
  • President-elect Thomas Jefferson invites to become his private secretary.

    Lewis had volunteered for a transcontinental expedition that Jefferson tried to organize in 1792; now, as President, Jefferson sees an opportunity to launch this expedition, and sees in Lewis someone who could lead it. Over the next two years, he will guide Lewis as he gains the scientific knowledge, technical skills and special equipment he will need for the
  • Spain closes the port of New Orleans to U.S. cargo

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    THE LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION

    Captain Meriwether Lewis leaves Pittsburgh aboard a specially designed keelboat, the Discovery. At Louisville, he is joined by Captain William Clark, an experienced frontier soldier . Together Lewis and Clark proceed up the Mississippi to Wood River, Illinois.
  • Napoleon sells the Louisiana Territory to the U.S

    By April, Napoleon Bonaparte has agreed to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States for $15 million, although the transfer will violate the terms under which he had received the territory from Spain. Congress approves the deal in October.
  • Exploring the Red River

    Captain Richard Sparks and the frontiersman Thomas Freeman are appointed by Jefferson to explore and map the Red River region along the United States' border with Tejas.
  • Moving the Cherokee Indians

    The U.S. government moves Cherokee Indians who had attacked Tennessee settlers across the Mississippi into Arkansas.
  • Pacific Fur Company

    John Jacob Astor forms the Pacific Fur Company to expand his trading empire to the Pacific coast.
  • The United States end the War of 1812

    The United States and Great Britain conclude a treaty ending the War of 1812.
  • The United States renounces all claims to Tejas

    The United States renounces all claims to Tejas in a treaty with Spain that brings Florida under American control.
  • William Becknell leads a trading expedition from Franklin, Missouri

    William Becknell leads a trading expedition from Franklin, Missouri, into the southern Rockies, where they encounter a Mexican patrol. Informed that Mexico is now an independent republic and that restrictions against foreign traders have been relaxed, Becknell turns south to Santa Fe, where he finds a ready market for his goods. Over the next several years he repeats the trip, blazing a new path along the Cimmaron and Canadian Rivers that becomes part of the Santa Fe Trail.
  • The first Buddhist temple in the United States is established in San Francisco

    Kong Chow Temple is established in San Francisco, the first Buddhist temple in the United States.
  • California begins confining its remaining Indian population on harsh military reservations

  • Wyoming becomes the first place in the United States where women have the right to vote.

    Wyoming becomes the first place in the United States where women have the right to vote.
  • John Wesley Powell leads the first recorded voyage through the Grand Canyon of the Colorado

    John Wesley Powell, a veteran of the Civil War who lost part of his right arm at Shiloh and a self-taught expert on mountain geology, leads the first recorded voyage through the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, winning national acclaim and setting the stage for government funded scientific study of the West.