American history

Our American History Timeline 2013-14

  • Jan 1, 960

    Leif Erikson

    Leif Erikson
    APPROXIMATE LIFESPAN: 960-1040. A Viking explorer from Iceland. Erikson sailed to North American nearly 500 years before the arrival of Christopher Columbus. An attempt to live in the new land was unsuccessful but evidence of cottages have been explored.
  • Aug 3, 1492

    Christopher Columbus sails from Spain

    Christopher Columbus sails from Spain
    Christopher Columbus left Spain in hopes of finding a water route to India.
  • Oct 12, 1492

    Land Ho! Columbus sights land.

    Land Ho! Columbus sights land.
    In his first of four voyages, Columbus landed in what we call the Bahamas. He thought he had reached India and called the native people he met "Indians." News of Columbus' discoveries spread. Columbus dies before the new lands were given the name "America." Columbus was not the first person to arrive here, but after Columbus, more Europeans followed and settled this land.
  • Feb 12, 1493

    Ponce de Leon Arrives in the New World

    Ponce de Leon arrived on the second voyage of Columbus. It is unclear if he stayed or if he left and returned in 1506 or perhaps 1508 when he began his explorations of Florida.
  • Feb 13, 1497

    Amerigo Vespucci explores South America

    ESTIMATED DATE. The Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci was the first to suggest that the land discovered by Columbus was not the East Indies. He explored South America between 1497 and 1502. The Americas were named for him.
  • Sep 20, 1519

    Megellan begins voyage to sail around the world

    Megellan begins voyage to sail around the world
    The crew of Fedinand Megellan succeeded where Columbus had sailed. They found a route to the east by sailing west. The voyage began in 1519. By the time the voyage was completed, in 1521, Megellan was dead.
  • Nov 1, 1520

    Magellan sails through "the Strait of Magellan" and into the Pacific Ocean

    Magellan sails through "the Strait of Magellan" and into the Pacific Ocean
    Magellan and his crew were the first Europeans to reach Tierra del Fuego, just east of the Pacific side of the strait. As Columbus had hoped, a route to the east had been found while sailing west.
  • Feb 13, 1521

    Megellan's crew crossed the Equator

    Megellan's crew crossed the Equator
    Megellan's crew crossed the Equator on February 13, 1521. He had a dedicated crew.
  • Apr 27, 1521

    Magellan killed by natives in the Phillipines

    Magellan killed by natives in the Phillipines
    Pigafetta and Ginés de Mafra provided a written account describing the death of Magellan. "...they killed our mirror, our light, our comfort, and our true guide." He was overpowered by natives that he had hoped to convert to Christianity. The crew continued and completed his mission of sailing around the world.
  • Sep 6, 1522

    Megellan's crew returns to Spain

    Megellan's crew returns to Spain
    The remains of Megellan's crew returned to Spain in two ships. The voyage had started with five ships and had lasted for almost exactly three years. Four crewmen of the original 55 on Trinidad finally returned to Spain in 1522; 51 had died in war or from disease. In total, approximately 232 sailors of assorted nationalities died on the expedition around the world with Magellan.
  • Roanoke Colony founded

    Roanoke Colony founded
    Queen Elizabeth sent a group of people to colonize Roanoke, an island off the coast of present day North Carolina. This was the first of three attempts. Roanoke Island is important because it shows us that people tried to settle "the New World" but failed many times. Many lives were lost, but Europeans did not give up.
  • Roanoke Island "Lost" Colony discovered

    Roanoke Island "Lost" Colony discovered
    Returning from England with provisions three long years after promising, John White found no trace of the Roanoke Colony. Among the missing people were his wife, his daughter, his infant granddaughter, and all other settlers of Roanoke Island. The only clue was a single word, "Croatoan" carved in a post. No one knows what happened to the people John White left on the island when he left to bring food and supplies.
  • Henry Hudson begins search for Northwest Passage

    Henry Hudson begins search for Northwest Passage
    Still in search of a water route to the East, British explorers hoped to find the route that Columbus could not. Henry Hudson made four attempts to do what Columbus had failed to do: find a passage to the east by sailing west. He wanted to reach the Pacific Coast of Asia. Icy conditions made it impossible.
  • Jamestown Settlement Begins

    Jamestown Settlement Begins
    Jamestown was the first successful English settlement in the New World. Many died trying to settle this land. English Investors hoped to make make money in the New World, but colonits suffered and most died. During the "starving time" many died and some resorted to cannibalism.
  • Henry Hudson's second search for a Northwest Passage

    Ice packs made water travel so far north impossible. Henry Hudson was unable to find a water route to the East by sailing west.
  • Henry Hudson's second attempt to find a Northwest Passage to Asia

    Once again Hudson was hired to find a way to reach the Pacific coast of Asia, a land to the east, by sailing west. Even in the summer, ice in around the Arctic Circle made it impossible to sail a northern route.
  • Hudson's third attempt to find a Northwest Passage

    On his third attempt, Hudson followed the advice of natives and did find what we now call "The Great Lakes," but not a passageway to the west as he had been hired to do. He did establish trading ties with the Indians and made claims of the land for the Dutch.
  • Hudson's fouth attempt finds Iceland

    On Hudson's fourth voyage he mapped the land we call Iceland. They found the Hudson Strait and Hudson Bay, but no route to Asia. The ship became trapped in ice and the crew was forced to spend the winter on land and wait for Spring for the ice to melt.
  • Hudson's crew resorts to mutiny.

    Sometime in June, 1611 Hudson planned to make more maps of the Hudson Bay region. The crew was anxious to return home however, and Hudson, his teenage son, and several crew members were abandoned in a small boat in Hudson Bay. They were never seen again.
  • John Rolfe begins planting tobacco in Jamestown settlement

    Tobacco was an important cash crop to the colonists in Jamestown. The money they made selling Rolfe's sweet tobacco back in England was certainly instrumental in the survival of this first successful American settlement.
  • Slaves arrive at Jamestown

    ESTIMATED DATE. Slaves were an important part of the building and settlement from the beginning of European settlement. They arrived at Jamestown in 1619. The practice of slavery was present in America, "the land of the free" until 1863. Unfair laws, mistreatment, and discrimination against people of color were a problem for another hundred years. Many believe that racism is still a problem in America.
  • Mayflower leave England bound for the New World

    The Mayflower with the Pilgrims and other passengers left England in hopes of a better life in the New World.
  • Mayflower lands at Plymouth Rock

    The Mayflower landed north of their intended destination but they were determined to succeed. They drafted and signed the Mayflower Compact. This document was important because it was an instance of goverment and rules set down by "the people." It was an instance of self-government that the founding fathers wanted to continue in the 1770's.
  • Benjamin Franklin born

    Benjamin Franklin is one of America's founding fathers. He signed the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. He had only one year of formal schooling, but he was a scientist, a printer, and an inventor. He also is known for writing letters under the name of "Silence Dogood."
  • George Washington born

    George Washington is known as the father or our country. He was commander of the Continental Army, he helped write the Constitution, and he became our first president.
  • Paul Revere born

    Paul Revere was an important person in the founding of America. His "Bloody Massacre" which exaggerated the events of the Boston Massacre, inspired people to rebel against England. He joined the "Sons of Liberty," a group worked toward making America an independent country.
  • King George III born

    King George III was the ruler of Great Britain during the American Revolutionary War. His policies prompted Americans to revolt and to declare their independence from England.
  • Thomas Jefferson born

    Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and is a founding father. He became the third president of the United States and doubled the size of the country with the Louisiana Purchase.
  • Boston Massacre

    The Boston Massacre was a street fight between trained Briish soldiers and angry colonists. It that started with sticks, snowballs, and fists, but it ended with gunfire. In the end, five Americans were killed and six were wounded. Paul Revere engraved a picture called "The Bloody Massacre" which inspired people to consider freedom from Britain.
  • Boston Tea Party

    Disguised as American Indians, in defiance of a tax on tea, demonstrators destroyed tea belonging to the East India Company. As a result, England passed a series of laws known as "the Intolerable Acts." Samuel Adams may have helped plan the Boston Tea Party but he certainly worked to publicize and defend it. He argued that the Tea Party was not the act of a lawless mob, but was instead a principled protest and the only remaining option the people had to defend their rights.
  • Paul Rever's Midnight Ride

    On this night, Paul Revere and other riders set out to warn Patriots near Concord Massachusettes that British troops were coming. He was arrested, but not before he managed to warn many families of the coming danger.
  • Battles of Lexington and Concord

    The Battles were the first military engagements of the Revolution. The British wanted to confiscate Patriot guns and ammunition in order to squash growing tensions. They also hoped to arrest patriot leaders John Hancock and Samuel Adams. These battles were a victory for America and boosted hopes of a successful campaign for freedom. Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his "Concord Hymn," described the first shot fired by the Patriots at the North Bridge as the "shot heard round the world."
  • William Howe arrives in America

    APPORXIMATE DATE. William Howe arrived shortly after the Battles of Lexington and Concord. He became Commander of British forces in America. He fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill. His troops captured New York and Philladelphia.
  • William Howe arrives in America

    William Howe arrived in America in May, 1775 shortly after the early Revolutionary battles at Lexington and Concord. Howe arrived in the besieged town of Boston and was a commander at the Battle of Bunker Hill. He was eventually made Commander in Chief of British forces in America. His men were responsible for securing the city of New York and the American capital city of Philladelphia.
  • Battle of Bunker Hill

    The British won this early Revolutionary War battle, but they suffered great losses. With this battle, both sides realized that the American forces could indeed fight against the mighty British army.
  • Declaration of Independence signed

    This important American document was written to proclaim America's independence from England. It also encouraged foreign countries to assist America in her fight for freedom.
  • Washington's troops arrive at Valley Forge

    Many soldiers marched with no shoes and left bloody footprints in the snow as they arrived. Harsh wintertime conditions including exposure, starvation, and disease killed nearly 2,500 American soldiers by the end of February 1778. After repeated requests from Washington, Congress finally began sending much need supples to the troops.
  • Washington's troops leave Valley Forge

    After surviving a harsh winter and with skilled training by Baron von Steuben, America's troops were more prepared for war. The French also agreed to aid America in its battle against Britain and morale was much improved.
  • Seige at Yorktown begins

    The French navy, with the assistance of the Spanish navy, blocked the British from leaving by sea. General Washington's army and the French army led by General Rochambeau, surrounded Yorktown on land. The seige did not end until October 19, when British Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis surrendered to the Americans thus ending the American Revolutionary War.
  • Seige at Yorktown Ends

    Also known as the Battle of Yorktown, the Surrender at Yorktown, and the German Battle, this date marks the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War. General Washington had the British under seige at Yorktown from September 28 until October 19. British Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis surrendored to Washington on October 19, 1781 thus ending the American Revolutionary War.
  • George Washington becomes president

    George Washington was asked to be king but he refused. He served two terms as president, from April 30, 1789 until March 4, 1797.
  • Bill of Rights adopted

    The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution granted equal and important rights to the American people. The Bill of Rights was signed by James Madison, "the father of the Constitution" and also by John Adams.