US History - Timeline

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35000-20000: The first inhabitants of the America migrated over the Bering Strait and settled in the American continent sometimes between 20 000 and 35 000 years ago.

10000: By 10 000 BC much of North- and South-America had been settled.

300: First attempts at primitive agriculture were made, and by 300 BC evidence of early village life appeared in the river valleys of New Mexico and Arizona

1492: Colombus “discovered” America and mistakenly thought he'd reached India. That's why native Americans are called Indians.

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1540: Spanish had taken control over 100 Indian Pueblos in Arizona and New Mexico, using both sword and the cross.

1607: First settlement was made in the USA in Jamestown, Virginia.



1620:The so-called “Pilgrim Fathers” arrived America with “Mayflower”.

1640: European settlement along the New England Coast.

1680:The Pueblo Revolt or Popé's Rebellion was an uprising of many pueblos against Spanish colonization of the Americans in the New Spain province of New Mexico.

1775-83: The colonists were unhappy because they were controlled by Britain. This led to the War of Independence between the colonists and Britain. The USA won.

1776: Declaration of Independent was written on July 4.

1789: After the USA won the war with Britain, they got their Constitution as well as their first President – George Washington.

1838-39: Cherokees were forcefully removed from their homes in the area of Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina relocated in Oklahoma. This march has since come to be known as The Trail of Tear as it has been estimated that over 4000 men, women and children (nearly one fifth of the Cherokees) died.

1840s: A war with Mexico brought first Texas and then California under American control.

1860: Seven southern states broke out of the union and formed a confederacy, based on slavery. To the South, slavery was vital to the plantation economy. The North, lead by Abraham Lincoln, looked at slavery as inhuman and wanted to abolish it.

1861-65: The Civil War between the North and the South broke out to keep the union together. The resources of the North proved victorious, and the South surrendered after four years of fighting. 600 000 Americans died.

1862: The Homestead Act gave everyone who wanted to till land more or less free access to 160 acres on the Great Plains. This lead to a great rush of immigration, and fights with the Indians.

1863: Slavery was finally abolished.

1864: 8000 Navajos were removed from their homelands and forced to walk over 300 miles to a desolate tract of land in Northern New Mexico. Innumerable Indians died on The Long Walk, and when they arrived, the land was unfit to live on.

1865-1929: After the Civil War the USA went into a period called the Reconstruction. During the first years after the war, it was important to unify the country again and to restore the South, both in terms of infrastructure and morally.

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1876: The Battle of Little Big Horn in Northern Montana, was the one of few battles the Indians won. All 650 soldiers were killed. Somewhere between ten and fifteen Indians were present. It become a priority to defeat the “redskins”.

1890: The massacre of Wounded Knee in South Dakota. White officials had become alarmed at the spread of the Ghost Dance Religion which preached that the earth would soon perish and the Indians would inherit a new world, free from suffering. Soldiers entered the Indian camp at Wounded Knee and tried to disarm the men. One gun went off and the shooting began. 150 Indians were killed and 50 more wounded in an hour. Less than 25 soldiers were killed and 39 wounded. This is considered as the last battle between white soldiers and Native Americans.

1924: Native Americans became American citizens.

1929: The Depression followed the New York Stock Exchange crash in 1929.

1929: As an attempt to get the American economy back on its feet again, Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced the so-called New Deal.

1941: The Japanese attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, put an end to American neutrality and made World War II truly a world war.

1944: Native Americans received the right to vote.

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1950-91: The Cold War between USA and Soviet ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

1950s: The Civil Rights Movement. Blacks fought for civil rights, led by Martin Luther King Jr.

1963: Martin Luther King Jr's famous speech, “I have a dream”, took place in Washington DC.

1964-65: The Congress passed extensive civil rights legislation.

1963-75: The war in Vietnam. Fearing a communist takeover in Southeast Asia, President Kennedy sent troops to South Vietnam in 1963. Initially soldiers responded patriotically, but the war became increasingly unpopular and proved impossible to win. 58 000 American soldiers lost their lives and 300 000 were wounded. Over three million Vietnamese died, including women and children.

2001: On September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four jetliners and succeeded in crashing two planes into the World Trade Center and one into the Pentagon something that resulted in over 3000 deaths.

2011: Today, there are about 300 reservations and 500 recognized Indian tribes.