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Timeline

 

Mayflower

 

 

Short overview of the main dates and events in American history

15th / 16th century

1492

Discovery of America by Christoph Kolumbus

1565

Foundation of the first colony in St. Augustine, Florida, by the Spanish

17th century

1607

Under the guidance of John Smith, 105 settlers found the first British colony on American soil, Jamestown in Virginia

1620

Arrival of the Mayflower in Massachusetts. In the Mayflower Contract, the puritan Pilgrims lay the foundations to create a social order.

1626

Peter Minuit, leader of the Dutch colony Nieuw Amsterdam, purchases Manhattan from a Native people

1664

The British take over the area around what is today New York from the Dutch

1682

France lays claim on the Mississippi river and all adjacent acreage

18th century

1763

After a series of wars, Great Britain takes control over the French-ruled areas east of the Mississippi river

1770

Begin of colonists’ protests against the ruling British crown, leading up to the Boston Massacre

1773

The colonists focus their protest against “taxation without representation” in the London parliament. The Boston Tea Party becomes the symbol of this revolt

1774

In Philadelphia, the First Continental Congress convenes, laying the foundation for American independence

1775

Begin of the American Revolutionary War against Great Britain

1776

On July 4, the American colonies’ independence from the British crown is proclaimed in Philadelphia, documented and expressed by the Declaration of Independence

1778

France recognizes the independence of the thirteen colonies. From now on, the French support the Americans in the war against Great Britain by deploying a flotilla.

1782

Peace treaty signed between British and Americans

1783

With the Treaty of Paris, American independence is recognized by the British

1789

George Washington is elected to become the first US Presiden. Also, the Constitution becomes effective and the Supreme Court is established as the highest court of law.

1791

The Bill of Rights is adopted, granting basic rights

19th century

1803

In the Louisiana Purchase, the USA purchase the area west of the Mississippi river from France, thereby doubling the country’s total area

1804

The Lewis and Clark Expedition begins the journey to discover a land route to the Pacific coast

1819

The USA purchase Florida from Spain

1823

President James Monroe proclaims the Monroe Doctrine, in which he rejects any involvement of European powers in American matters and vice versa

1835

Texas declares its independence from Mexico

1836

A war between Texas and Mexico breaks out, culminating in the famous battle for The Alamo

1841

Via the Oregon Trail, the first settlers get to the West Coast

1846

The Northwest Territory accesses the USA. Upon integrating Texas into the Union, war with Mexico begins

1847

After winning the war, the USA add the areas which would later become the states of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Nevada and California

1848

The Gold Rush begins after first gold discoveries in California

1854

The long dispute on the question of slavery is aggravated by the Kansas-Nebraska Act, first fights erupt

1860

When Abraham Lincoln is elected President, the southern states no longer see a basis for finding a compromise in the question of slavery. South Carolina is the first state to leave the Union

1861

The states of Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee also secede from the Union and found the Confederate States of America with Richmond, Virginia becoming the capital. With the Confederates’ attack on  Fort Sumter, the Civil War begins.

1863

Lincoln declares all slaves to be free, the Union gains an important victory in the battle of Gettysburg

1864

Further setbacks for the Confederation: Union troops under General Sherman conquer Atlanta and vandalize large parts of Georgia

1865

Unconditional surrender of the South. The Civil War is over, all slaves are set free, the USA are reunited. In total, the Civil War claims 385,000 lives; in the following years, the South needs to reconstruct

1865

President Lincoln is shot and killed at Fordīs Theater in Washington DC by the fanatic Southerner John Wilkes Booth

1867

The USA purchase Alaska for the amount of 7.2 billion dollars from Russia

1869

Completion of the first transcontinental railway from the Atlantic to the Pacific

1876

Battle at the Little Bighorn; Indian units under Sitting Bull defeat the US cavalry under General Custer

1881

President James Garfield dies from the wounds inflicted in an assassination attempt

1886

Anarachists and the police clash in Chicago in the so-called Haymarket Riot

1889

The land of Oklahoma, once granted to the Native peoples “as long as grass grows and water runs”, is released to everyone to settle, clashes between settlers and Natives erupt

1890

The Indian wars fought for years between Natives and US government forces end with the Wounded Knee Massacre

1898

War between the USA and Spain, at the end of which the USA get Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Hawaii is annexed.

1900 - 1950

1901

President William McKinley dies days after an assassination attempt

1906

An earthquake and the ensuing fires in the city destroy San Francisco, about 3000 die

1917

After initially being neutral, the USA declare war on Germany and by that enter World War I

1918

American troops enter fights in the European theatre for the first time

1918

President Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points form the backbone for the Treaty of Versailles, marking the end of World War I. In total, the USA lose 116,000 troops in this war

1920

Prohibition is introduced in America. Until 1933, producing and consuming alcoholic beverages is prohibited

1921

The US-German Peace Treaty restores peace between the USA and Germany, Asutria and Hungary

1924

With the Johnson-Read Acts, the USA restrict the number of immigrants and prohibits Japanese and Chinese nationals from immigrating

1929

October 29 becomes Black Friday at the New York Stock Exchange, initiating the Great Depression

1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt starts his New Deal program to counter the economic crisis

1940

Roosevelt’s third term as President begins; he is the only President in US history to stay in office longer than two terms

1941

In World War II, the USA initially stays neutral again, but allow Russia and Great Britain to purchase American weapons under the Lend-Lease-Program

1941

On December 7, Japan attacks the US navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Germany and Italy declare war on the USA four days later. In America, 120,000 Japanese nationals and Americans with Japanese heritage are detained.

1944

On June 6, D-Day, allied troops land in Normandy, France. They capture Paris and later cross into Germany

1945

In the Yalta Conference, Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin discuss the reconstruction of nations in Europe after the war and agree on the occupation of Germany. In May, the German Wehrmacht surrenders. President Roosevelt does not live to see the capitulation. He died on April 12, his successor is Harry S. Truman

1945

US troops approach Japan. On August 6 and 9, two atomic bombs are dropped on Hiroshima und Nagasaki, leading to Japan’s surrender on September 2. In World War II, 290,000 American soldiers lost their lives

1945

The United Nations are founded in San Francisco

1948

The USA supply the Berlin, blocked by the Soviets, with the Berlin Airlift, the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Western Europe is put into effect

1949

NATO is founded under the leadeship of the USA

1950 - 2000

1950

Senator Joseph McCarthy begins his crusade against alleged communist activities in America

1950

On the request of the UN, American forces land in Korea

1952

Peace treaty of the USA, France and Great Britain with Germany

1953

Cease-fire in the Korean War. Up until that point, 54,000 American soldiers lost their lives

1957

The Governor of Arkansas denies Black students access to a high school in Little Rock. President Eisenhower deploys the National Guard to enforce racial equality and to protect the students

1958

The Explorer, the first satellite, is launched into space

1959

Alaska and Hawaii are accepted into the Union as the 49th and 50th states

1961

An invasion into the Bay of Pigs, planned by Cuban exiles in the US and supported by the CIA, fails

1962

The Soviet Union stations troops and missiles in Cuba, the ensuing Cuban Missile Crisis brings the world to the edge of a nuclear war

1963

Martin Luther King Jr. holds his famous I have a dream  speech in front of 250,000 listeners in Washington DC

1963

President John F. Kennedy is assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas on November 22

1964

After North Korea attacks two US navy vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin, President Lyndon B. Johnson is granted unconditional carte blanche by the Congress. The Vietnam War begins.

1965

King leads a large civil rights marsh in Alabama

1967

Protests in America against US involvement in the Vietnam War grow significantly

1968

Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis. In the following days, riots occur in several US cities

1969

First landing on the moon by Mission Apollo 11. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are the first humans to set foot on the moon

1969

The withdrawal of American troops in Vietnam, by now numbering 534,000, begins

1970

While protesting against the American actions in Vietnam, four students at Kent State University in Ohio are shot and killed by members of the National Guard

1971

The New York Times  publishes the classified Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War. The US government is increasingly pressurized

1972

Withdrawal of the last troops from Vietnam. The war is lost, in total more than 56,000 US soldiers lost their lives in it

1974

The Watergate affair causes an impeachment process against President Richard Nixon. Nixon resigns on August 8 to avoid being impeached

1979

A severe nuclear accident occurs at the Three Miles Island reactor in Pennsylvania

1980

Eruption of the Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington

1986

The space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after its launch. All seven astronauts on board are killed.

1989

A severe earthquake rattles San Francisco, 59 die

1990

After the Iraqi aggression against Kuwait, US troops are stationed in Saudi-Arabia

1991

In an alliance with France and Great Britain and mandated by the UN, the USA attack Iraq and liberate Kuwait

1992

Intense race riots occur in Los Angeles upon the acquittal of White police officers who had severely abused and beaten the Black citizen Rodney King

1994

The NAFTA free trade zone covering Mexico, the USA and Canada is implemented

1995

A federal building in Oklahoma City is bombed and destroyed by a terrorist, killing 168

From 2000

2001

On September 11, islamist terrorists hijack four commercial planes. One crashes in Pennsylvania, one is deliberately crashed into the Pentagon building in Washington DC and two others destroy the World Trade Center in New York City. In the most devastating terrorist attack in history, almost 3000 lose their lives. The USA commit to the fight against islamic terrorism and, supported by other countries, begin a war against the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan.

2003

The space shuttle Columbia disintegrates when approaching the landing spot in Texas, all seven crew members on board die

2003

The War on Iraq begins. Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein is captured by US troops in December and sentenced to death by a military court. Hussein is executed in

2005

Hurricane Katrina hits the US Gulf coast. After several levees break, the city of  New Orleans is almost completely flooded, leading to a wide-spread emergency situation and many thousands of resident evacuating from the city permanently

2008

Several US banks and insurance companies collapse because of billions in bounced credits

2011

Osama bin Laden, mastermind behind the 9/11 terror attacks of 2001 is tracked down in a compound in Pakistan after a lomg search. In a raid conducted by special forces, bin Laden is killed and later buried at sea

2013

Shortly before the finish line of the Boston Marathon, a bombing kills three and injures 260

 

 

 

 


 

 

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