It is the time of year when we look forward to getting together with family and friends to celebrate the holidays. Thanksgiving is just a few days away so I thought I'd begin here with American History, at it's beginning, which also encompasses the first Thanksgiving in 1621.
Courtesy of History Place
1000 A.D. - Leif Ericson, a Viking seaman, explores the east coast of North America and sights Newfoundland, establishing a short-lived settlement there.
1215 - The Magna Carta document is adopted in England, guaranteeing liberties to the English people, and proclaiming basic rights and procedures which later become the foundation stone of modern democracy.
1492 - Christopher Columbus makes the first of four voyages to the New World, funded by the Spanish Crown, seeking a western sea route to Asia. On October 12, sailing the Santa Maria, he lands in the Bahamas, thinking it is an outlying Japanese island.
1497 - John Cabot of England explores the Atlantic coast of Canada, claiming the area for the English King, Henry VII. Cabot is the first of many European explorers to seek a Northwest Passage (northern water route) to Asia.
1499 - Italian navigator, Amerigo Vespucci, sights the coast of South America during a voyage of discovery for Spain.
1507 - The name "America" is first used in a geography book referring to the New World with Amerigo Vespucci getting credit for the discovery of the continent.
1513 - Ponce de León of Spain lands in Florida.
1517 - Martin Luther launches the Protestant Reformation in Europe, bringing an end to the sole authority of the Catholic Church, resulting in the growth of numerous Protestant religious sects.
1519 - Hernando Cortés conquers the Aztec empire.
1519-1522 - Ferdinand Magellan is the first person to sail around the world.
1524 - Giovanni da Verrazano, sponsored by France, lands in the area around the Carolinas, then sails north and discovers the Hudson River, and continues northward into Narragansett Bay and Nova Scotia.
1541 - Hernando de Soto of Spain discovers the Mississippi River.
1565 - The first permanent European colony in North America is founded at St. Augustine (Florida) by the Spanish.
1587 - The first English child, Virginia Dare, is born in Roanoke, August 18.
1588 - In Europe, the defeat of the Spanish Armada by the English results in Great Britain replacing Spain as the dominant world power and leads to a gradual decline of Spanish influence in the New World and the widening of English imperial interests.
1606 - The London Company sponsors a colonizing expedition to Virginia.
1607 - Jamestown is founded in Virginia by the colonists of the London Company. By the end of the year, starvation and disease reduce the original 105 settlers to just 32 survivors. Capt. John Smith is captured by Native American Chief Powhatan and saved from death by the chief's daughter, Pocahontas.
1608 - In January, 110 additional colonists arrive at Jamestown. In December, the first items of export trade are sent from Jamestown back to England and include lumber and iron ore.
1609 - The Dutch East India Company sponsors a seven month voyage of exploration to North America by Henry Hudson. In September he sails up the Hudson River to Albany.
1609 - Native tobacco is first planted and harvested in Virginia by colonists.
1613 - A Dutch trading post is set up on lower Manhattan island.
1616 - Tobacco becomes an export staple for Virginia.
1616 - A smallpox epidemic decimates the Native American population in New England.
1619 - The first session of the first legislative assembly in America occurs as the Virginia House of Burgesses convenes in Jamestown. It consists of 22 burgesses representing 11 plantations.
1619 - Twenty Africans are brought by a Dutch ship to Jamestown for sale as indentured servants, marking the beginning of slavery in Colonial America.
1620 - November 9, the Mayflower ship lands at Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with 101 colonists. On November 11, the Mayflower Compact is signed by the 41 men, establishing a form of local government in which the colonists agree to abide by majority rule and to cooperate for the general good of the colony. The Compact sets the precedent for other colonies as they set up governments.
1620 - The first public library in the colonies is organized in Virginia with books donated by English landowners.
1621 - One of the first treaties between colonists and Native Americans is signed as the Plymouth Pilgrims enact a peace pact with the Wampanoag Tribe, with the aid of Squanto, an English speaking Native American.
1624 - Thirty families of Dutch colonists, sponsored by the Dutch West India Company arrive in New York.
1624 - The Virginia Company charter is revoked in London and Virginia is declared a Royal colony.
1626 - Peter Minuit, a Dutch colonist, buys Manhattan island from Native Americans for 60 guilders (about $24) and names the island New Amsterdam.
1629 - In England, King Charles I dissolves parliament and attempts to rule as absolute monarch, spurring many to leave for the American colonies.
1630 - In March, John Winthrop leads a Puritan migration of 900 colonists to Massachusetts Bay, where he will serve as the first governor. In September, Boston is officially established and serves as the site of Winthrop's government.
1633 - The first town government in the colonies is organized in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
1634 - First settlement in Maryland as 200 settlers, many of them Catholic, arrive in the lands granted to Roman Catholic Lord Baltimore by King Charles I.
1635 - Boston Latin School is established as the first public school in America.
1636 - In June, Roger Williams founds Providence and Rhode Island. Williams had been banished from Massachusetts for "new and dangerous opinions" calling for religious and political freedoms, including separation of church and state, not granted under the Puritan rules. Providence then becomes a haven for many other colonists fleeing religious intolerance.
1636 - Harvard College founded.
1638 - Anne Hutchinson is banished from Massachusetts for nonconformist religious views that advocate personal revelation over the role of the clergy. She then travels with her family to Rhode Island.
1638 - The first colonial printing press is set up in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1640-1659 - English Civil War erupts between the Royalists of King Charles I and the Parliamentary army, eventually resulting in defeat for the Royalists and the downfall of the monarchy. On January 30, 1649, Kings Charles I is beheaded. England then becomes a Commonwealth and Protectorate ruled by Oliver Cromwell.
1646 - In Massachusetts, the general court approves a law that makes religious heresy punishable by death.
1652 - Rhode Island enacts the first law in the colonies declaring slavery illegal.
1660 - The English monarchy is restored under King Charles II.
1660 - The English Crown approves a Navigation Act requiring the exclusive use of English ships for trade in the English Colonies and limits exports of tobacco and sugar and other commodities to England or its colonies.
1663 - King Charles II establishes the colony of Carolina and grants the territory to eight loyal supporters.
1663 - Navigation Act of 1663 requires that most imports to the colonies must be transported via England on English ships.
1664 - The Dutch New Netherland colony becomes English New York after Gov. Peter Stuyvesant surrenders to the British following a naval blockade.
1664 - Maryland passes a law making lifelong servitude for black slaves mandatory to prevent them from taking advantage of legal precedents established in England which grant freedom under certain conditions, such as conversion to Christianity. Similar laws are later passed in New York, New Jersey, the Carolinas and Virginia.
1672 - The Royal Africa Company is given a monopoly in the English slave trade.
1673 - Dutch military forces retake New York from the British.
1673 - The British Navigation Act of 1673 sets up the office of customs commissioner in the colonies to collect duties on goods that pass between plantations.
1674 - The Treaty of Westminster ends hostilities between the English and Dutch and returns Dutch colonies in America to the English.
1675-1676 - King Philip's War erupts in New England between colonists and Native Americans as a result of tensions over colonist's expansionist activities. The bloody war rages up and down the Connecticut River valley in Massachusetts and in the Plymouth and Rhode Island colonies, eventually resulting in 600 English colonials being killed and 3,000 Native Americans, including women and children on both sides. King Philip (the colonist's nickname for Metacomet, chief of the Wampanoags) is hunted down and killed on August 12, 1676, in a swamp in Rhode Island, ending the war in southern New England and ending the independent power of Native Americans there. In New Hampshire and Maine, the Saco Indians continue to raid settlements for another year and a half.
1681 - Pennsylvania is founded as William Penn, a Quaker, receives a Royal charter with a large land grant from King Charles II.
1682 - French explorer La Salle explores the lower Mississippi Valley region and claims it for France, naming the area Louisiana for King Louis XIV.
1682 - A large wave of immigrants, including many Quakers, arrives in Pennsylvania from Germany and the British Isles.
1685 - The Duke of York ascends the British throne as King James II.
1685 - Protestants in France lose their guarantee of religious freedom as King Louis XIV revokes the Edict of Nantes, spurring many to leave for America.
1686 - King James II begins consolidating the colonies of New England into a single Dominion depriving colonists of their local political rights and independence. Legislatures are dissolved and the King's representatives assume all of the judicial and legislative power.
1687 - In March, New England Royal Governor, Sir Edmund Andros, orders Boston's Old South Meeting House to be converted into an Anglican Church. In August, the Massachusetts towns of Ipswich and Topsfield resist assessments imposed by Gov. Andros in protest of taxation without representation.
1688 - In March, Gov. Andros imposes a limit of one annual town meeting for New England towns. The Governor then orders all militias to be placed under his control.
1688 - Quakers in Pennsylvania issue a formal protest against slavery in America.
1688 - In December, King James II of England flees to France after being deposed by influential English leaders.
1689 - In February, William and Mary of Orange become King and Queen of England. In April, New England Governor Andros is jailed by rebellious colonists in Boston. In July, the English government orders Andros to be returned to England to stand trial.
1690 - The beginning of King William's War as hostilities in Europe between the French and English spill over to the colonies. In February, Schenectady, New York is burned by the French with the aid of their Native American allies.
1691 - In New York, the newly appointed Governor of New England, Henry Sloughter, arrives from England and institutes royally sanctioned representative government. In October, Massachusetts gets a new royal charter which includes government by a royal governor and a governor's council.
1692 - In May, hysteria grips the village of Salem, Massachusetts, as witchcraft suspects are arrested and imprisoned. A special court is then set up by the governor of Massachusetts. Between June and September, 150 persons are accused, with 20 persons, including 14 women, being executed. By October, the hysteria subsides, remaining prisoners are released and the special court is dissolved.
1693 - The College of William and Mary is founded in Williamsburg, Virginia.
1696 - The Royal African Trade Company loses its slave trade monopoly, spurring colonists in New England to engage in slave trading for profit. In April, the Navigation Act of 1696 is passed by the English Parliament requiring colonial trade to be done exclusively via English built ships. The Act also expands the powers of colonial custom commissioners, including rights of forcible entry, and requires the posting of bonds on certain goods.
1697 - The Massachusetts general court expresses official repentance regarding the actions of its judges during the witch hysteria of 1692. Jurors sign a statement of regret and compensation is offered to families of those wrongly accused. In September, King William's War ends as the French and English sign the Treaty of Ryswick.
1699 - The English Parliament passes the Wool Act, protecting its own wool industry by limiting wool production in Ireland and forbidding the export of wool from the American colonies.
1700 - The Anglo population in the English colonies in America reaches 250,000.