Timeline of American History

This is for reference only, and primarily for me rather than my students. Even the most ambitious APUSH student does not need to memorize many dates!

DateEvent
c. 12000 BCEpeople migrated across the Bering Strait into the Americas
c. 1000Leif Erikson established Vinland on Newfoundland
1487 Dias's voyage around the southern end of Africa
1492 Spain completed the conquest of Granada → Columbus's first voyage
1493 Columbus's second voyage
1494 the Treaty of Tordesillas: the Pope establishes the Line of Demarcation
1497 Cabot explored Newfoundland
1498 Vasco da Gama returned from his first trip to India
Vespucci returned from his first voyage
1516 Thomas More's Utopia published
1607 May 14 Jamestown founded
1620 Nov 11 the "Pilgrims" landed at Plymouth Rock
1636 Roger Williams founded Providence
1636 Mar 3 Connecticut colony was founded
1637 May 26 the Mystic Massacre
1637 Nov 7 Anne Hutchinson's trial began
1638 Apr 4 New Haven colony founded
1662 the Half-Way Covenant
1675 Jun 18 Three Wampanoag Indians hung at Plymouth, leading to King Philip's War
1675 Jun 30 King Philip's War began with an attack on Swansea, an outpost of Plymouth Colony
1675 Jul 8 King Philip's War: Plymouth Colony destroyed Wampanoag town at Mount Hope
1675 Jul 18 King Philip's War: Middleborough and Dartmouth attacked
1676 Aug 12 Metacomet (King Philip) was killed
1676 Sep 19 Bacon's followers burned Jamestown
1692 Mar - 1693 Oct the Salem Witch Trials
1733 Feb 12 Oglethorpe founded the colony of Georgia and the town of Savannah
1739 Sep 9 the Stono Revolt began
1741 Jul 8 Jonathan Edwards preached and published Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
1763 May 7 Pontiac's Rebellion began
1773 Dec 16 the Boston Tea Party
1775 Apr 19 the Battle of Lexington and Concord
1775 May 10 Ethan Allen and "the Green Mountain Boys" captured Fort Ticonderoga
1776 Jul 4 the Declaration of Independence published
1777 Oct 17 Burgoyne surrendered after the Battle of Saratoga
1781 Mar 1 the Articles of Confederation officially ratified
1787 May 25 the Constitutional Convention officially began
1787 Oct 27 publication of The Federalist papers began
1789 Sep 24 Washington signed the Judiciary Act of 1789 into law
1796 Sep 19 Washington's Farewell Address published
1801 Jan 31 John Marshall became the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
1803 Feb 24 Marbury v. Madison decided
1804 Jul 11 Burr killed Hamilton in a duel
1815 Jan 8 the Battle of New Orleans
1828 Dec 19 the South Carolina Exposition and Protest was published
1830 Jan 26 Webster's Second Reply to Hayne
1831 Jan 1 William Lloyd Garrison began publishing the Liberator
1833 Mar 2 the Force Bill and the Compromise Tariff of 1833 were passed
1836 Jul 11 Jackson issued the Specie Circular
1837 Nov 7 abolitionist newspaper editor Elijah Parish Lovejoy was murdered by a pro-slavery mob
1838 Sep 3 Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery
1846 Apr 25 Mexican military attacked American troops south of the Nueces River
1848 Feb 2 the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, including the Mexican Cession
1848 Jul 19-20 the Seneca falls Convention issued the Declaration of Sentiments
1858 Jun 16 Lincoln declared that "a house divided cannot stand"
1858 Aug 1 the Lincoln-Douglas debates began (ended on oct 15)
1859 Oct 4 Kansas voters voted for the anti-slavery constitution
1859 Oct 16 John Brown led an attack on Harper's Ferry, [West] Virginia
1859 Oct 18 Robert E. Lee and J. E. B. Stuart capture John Brown at Harper's Ferry
1859 Dec 2 John Brown was executed by hanging
1860 May 3 Southern "fire-eaters" opposed to Stephen Douglas left the Democratic Party Convention
1860 May 18 Lincoln won the nomination of the Republican Party Convention
1860 Nov 6 Lincoln won the election of 1860
1861 Apr 12 the Civil War began with Confederate General Beauregard firing on Fort Sumter
1861 Jul 21 the First Battle of Bull Run
1862 May 20 Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law
1862 Sep 17 the Union won the Battle of Antietam, the single bloodiest day of war in American history
1863 Jan 1 Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation
1863 Jul 1 the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg
1863 Jul 2 the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, including the bayonet charge at Little Round Top
1863 Jul 3 the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, including Pickett's charge
1863 Nov 19 Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address
1864 Nov 29 the Sand Creek Massacre
1865 Mar 4 Lincoln gave his Second Inaugural Address
1865 Apr 15 Lincoln assassinated
1865 Dec 18 the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, ending legal slavery in the United States
1868 Apr 29 the Treaty of Fort Laramie was signed
1868 Jul 9 the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified
1870 Mar 30 the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified
1873 Feb 12 Grant signed the Coinage Act of 1873 into law
1873 Sep 18 Jay Cooke & Company declared bankruptcy, triggering the Panic of 1873
1876 Jun 26 the Battle of Little Bighorn
1884 Dec 10 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn published
1886 May 4 the Haymarket Riot
1886 Oct 25 Wabash v. Illinois decided
1887 Nov 22 the Thibodaux Massacre
1896 May 19 Plessy v. Ferguson decided
1913 Feb 3 the 16th Amendment, legalizing a federal income tax, adopted
1913 Mar 4 Woodrow Wilson was sworn in as President
1913 Apr 8 the 17th Amendment, requring the direct election of senators, adopted
1913 Apr 24 the Woolworth Building opened
1916 Jan 16 Helen Keller published Why I Became an IWW
1921 Jul 14 a jury found Sacco and Vanzetti guilty of murder
1927 Aug 23 Sacco and Vanzetti were executed by electric chair
1929 Oct 29 the stock market crash of 1929
1931 Apr 9 the "Scottsboro Boys" were sentenced to death in Alabama
1932 Jul 28 the US military expelled the Bonus Marchers from Washington DC
1933 Mar 4 the first inauguration of Franklin Roosevelt: "nothing to fear but fear itself"
1935 Sep 10 Huey Long assassinated
1940 Jun 28 the Smith Act signed into law
1941 Dec 7 Japan attacked Pearl Harbor
1942 Apr 9 the Bataan Death March
1944 Jun 6 D-Day: the Normandy invasion
1945 ... HUAC become a standing committee
1945 Jan 20 FDR began his 4th term
1945 Feb 4-11 the Yalta Conference
1945 Feb 19 the Battle of Iwo Jima began
1945 Feb 23 the photo Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima taken
1945 Mar 26 the Battle of Iwo Jima ended
1945 Apr 1 the Battle of Okinawa began
1945 Apr 4 American troops liberate a Nazi concentration camp for the first time
1945 May 8 VE-Day
1945 Jun 22 the Battle of Okinawa ended
1945 Aug 6 the US dropped the "Little Boy" atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing 80,000 people immediately
1946 Mar 5 Churchill delivered the "Iron Curtain" speech
1946 July 20? Chiang launched an attack that began the final phase of the Chinese Civil War
1946 Nov 5 the midterm elections of 1946: the GOP took over Congress
1947 Mar 12 Truman announced the Truman Doctrine
1947 Mar 21 a bill in support of the 22nd Amendment, limiting Presidents to two terms, passed Congress
1947 Apr 9 the Journey of Reconciliation, a protest against segregation on interstate buses
1947 Apr 15 Jackie Robinson played in a major league game, the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues since the 1880s
1947 Oct 23 actor Ronald Reagan, having given the FBI names of actors he believed to be communists, testified before HUAC
1947 Nov 15 the Hollywood Ten refused to testify before HUAC
1947 Nov 25 HUAC created the first Hollywood blacklist
1948 Apr 3 the Marshall Plan passed Congress
1948 Jun 12 the USSR began the Berlin Blockade
1948 Jun 26 the Berlin air lift began
1948 Aug 1 Whittaker Chambers testified that Alger Hiss was a member of the Communist Party
1948 Nov 2 the elections of 1948: Truman defeated Dewey (contrary to the Chicago Tribune)
1949 Apr 4 the North Atlantic Treaty was signed, establishing NATO
1949 May 12 the USSR ended the Berlin Blockade
1950 Jan 21 a jury, concluding that Alger Hiss had lied about being a communist, found him guilty of perjury
1950 Feb 9 Senator Joseph McCarthy told a Wheeling, West Virginia audience that he had a list of 205 members of the Communist Party working in the State Department, initiating McCarthyism
1950 Jun 25 North Korea invaded South Korea, beginning the Korean War
1950 Sep 15 the Incheon invasion
1950 Sep 23 the McCarran Internal Security Act passed over Truman's veto
1950 Oct 25 Chinese troops entered North Korea
1951 Feb 27 the 22nd Amendment, limiting Presidents to two terms, was ratified by enough states to become law
1951 Mar 29 Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of espionage and sentenced to death
1951 Apr 11 Truman fired MacArthur; appointed Matthew Ridgway Supreme Commander
1952 Apr 14 Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man was published
1952 Jun 27 the McCarran-Walter Immigration and Nationality Act passed
1952 Sep 23 Nixon delivered "the Checkers speech"
1953 Jan 22 the first performance of Miller's The Crucible
1953 Jun 19 Julius and Ethel Rosenberg executed by electric chair
1953 Jun 27 the Korean Armistice Agreement ended the Korean War
1953 Jul 26 the Cuban Revolution began
1953 Aug 22 Shah Pahlavi took control of Iran after the CIA's coup overthrew Mossadegh
1954 May 5 the USA successfully tested a hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll
1954 May 7 the Battle of Dien Bien Phu ended with a Vietnamese victory over the French
1954 May 17 Brown v. Board of Education decided
1954 June 9 Jack Welch overcame Senator McCarthy on live television: "Have you no sense of decency?"
1954 June 18-27 a coup d'état organized by the CIA overthrew the government of Guatemala
1954 Dec 2 the Senate officially voted to censure McCarthy
1955 May 14 the Warsaw Pact was formed
1955 Sep 6 Emmitt Till's funeral
1955 Dec 1 Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to surrender her seat, initiating the Montgomery Bus Boycott
1956 Sep 30 Eisenhower signed an act declaring "In God We Trust" the official motto of the US
1956 Oct 23 protests in Hungary toppled the communist government; the new government pledged to exit the Warsaw Pact and hold free elections
1956 Oct 24 Soviet tanks entered Hungary
1956 Oct 29 Israel invaded Egypt, initiating the Suez Crisis
1956 Nov 5 Britain and France invaded Egypt, supporting Israel
1956 Nov 7 a UN resolution asked Israel, Britain, and France to leave Egypt
1956 Nov 11 the last fighting against Soviet rule in Hungary
1956 Dec 2 Castro, Che, and other rebels landed on Cuba
1956 Dec 20 a federal court forced the integration of public busses, ending the Montgomery Bus Boycott
1957 Jan 5 Eisenhower announced "the Eisenhower Doctrine," a promise to support Middle Eastern governments threatened by communism
1957 July 15 Eisenhower authorized Operation Blue Bat, sending troops to Lebanon
1957 July 29 NASA was created
1957 Sep 4 Faubus, governor of Arkansas, sent the National Guard to support segregationists against "the Little Rock Nine"
1957 Sep 9 the Civil Rights Act of 1957 passed, signed by Eisenhower after Storm Thurmond's failed filibuster
1957 Sep 24 Eisenhower sent troops to support "the Little Rock Nine"
1957 Oct 4 the USSR launched Sputnik into orbit
1958 Sep 27 Little Rock voters chose to cancel the 1958-9 school year rather than integrate their public schools
1959 Jan 1 Battista fled Cuba, leaving it to rebels led by Fidel Castro
1960 Jun 11 Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird published
1960 Sep 26 the first presidential debate
1960 Nov 8 the elections of 1960
1961 Jan 20 the inauguration of JFK
1961 Feb 4 the Greensboro sit-ins began
1961 Mar 1 JFK created the Peace Corps
1961 Apr 17-19 the Bay of Pigs Invasion
1961 May 4 the Freedom Rides began
1961 Aug 13 construction of the Berlin Wall began
1962 Jun 25 the Warren Court decided against mandatory prayer in public schoos in Engel v. Vitale
1962 Sep 29 Kennedy ordered the University of Mississippi to allow James Meredith to attend; the students rioted
1962 Oct 16-29 the Cuban Missile Crisis
1962 Dec 25 the movie based on Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird released
1963 Mar 18 the Warren Court decided that poor defendants have a right to a public attourney in Gideon v. Wainwright
1963 Jun 11 Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức burned himself to death in protest
1963 Aug 28 Martin Luther King, Jr. gave the "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington
1963 Sep 15 the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing
1963 Nov 2 the President of South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, was assassinated
1963 Nov 11 JFK was assassinated, apparently by Lee Harvey Oswald
1963 Nov 24 Lee Harvey Oswald killed by Jack Ruby
1964 Jul 2 Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law
1965 Mar 7 "Bloody Sunday": police attacked people during the first march from Selma to Montgomery
1965 Mar 9 marchers turned around at the bridge on the second march from Selma to Montgomery; white UU minister was beaten to death by KKK
1965 Aug 11-17 the Watts riots in Los Angeles
1967 Jun-Jul the "long hot summer" race riots
1967 Jun 05 Israel preemptively attacked Egypt, beginning the Six Day War
1967 Oct 9 "Che" Guevara was executed
1968 Jan 21 the Prague Spring ended with the USSR's invasion of Czechoslovakia
1968 Jan 31 the Viet Cong launched the Tet Offensive
1968 Feb 1 General Nguyễn Ngọc Loan executed a Vietcong prisoner, Nguyễn Văn Lém, and the photo became famous
1968 Mar 16 the My Lai Massacre
1968 Apr 4 Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated by James Earl Ray, initiating several days of rioting in 155 cities
1968 Apr 6 the Oakland police killed Black Panther member Bobby Hutton
1968 Apr 23 student antiwar protestors shut down Columbia University
1968 May 6 students in Paris began May 1968 protests
1968 Jun 5 Palestinian Christian Sirhan Sirhan shot Robert F. Kennedy, who died the next day
1968 Aug 28 the Chicago police rioted against protestors during the Democratic National Convetion
1968 Nov 5 Nixon defeated Humphrey and Wallace in the presidential election
1969 Jan 20 Richard Nixon was inaugurated as President
1969 Jul 20 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the f*ing moon
1969 Nov 20 "Indians of All Tribes" activists occupied Alcatraz
1970 May 4 the Kent State Shootings
1971 Jun 11 government officers force American Indian activists to leave Alcatraz
1971 Jun 13 the New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers
1972 Jun 8 nine-year-old Phan Thị Kim Phúc photographed fleeing a napalm attack
1972 Jun 17 five men arrested for burglary at the DNC's headquarters at the Watergate Hotel
1973 Feb 27 the American Indian Movement seized Wounded Knee; the government begins a seige of Wounded Knee
1973 Apr 26 a government sniper killed Lawrence "Buddy" Lamont, an Oglala Lakota, at Wounded Knee
1973 May 8 after weeks of shooting, the Wounded Knee Incident ended with a truce
1973 Sep 11 Pinochet, supported by the US, overthrew Allende in a coup d'état in Chile
1973 Oct 6 Egypt and Syria attacked Israel, beginning the Yom Kippur War
1973 Oct 16 OPEC raised the price of oil, beginning the 1973 oil crisis
1973 Oct 20 Nixon fired several staff members in "the Saturday Night Massacre"
1974 Jul 30 Nixon released the Wagergate tapes
1974 Aug 8 Nixon resigned
1975 Apr 30 the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese Army
1976 Apr 5 The Soiling of Old Glory photographed during a protest against desegregation busing
1978 Feb 11 American Indian activists began "the Longest Walk"
1978 Jul 15 American Indian activists on "the Longest Walk" entered Washington DC
1979 Feb 11 the Shah's regime in Iran collapsed
1979 Jul 19 the Nicaraguan Revolution: the Sandanistas occupied Managua
1989 Nov 9 the fall of the Berlin Wall
1992 Apr 29 a jury acquitted the police of beating Rodney King, sparking riots in LA that lasted until May 4
2001 Nov 11 terrorists affiliated with Al Qaeda, led by Osama Bin Laden, flew jets into the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington DC

Index to Jonathan's Guide to US History

Index to Jonathan's Guides