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Map of Wisconsin
Locator Map of Wisconsin

1600s - 1700s
  • (1634) French explorer, Jean Nicolet, arrived in the Green Bay area
  • (1666) Nicolas Perrot began fur trade with Indians
  • (1673) Water route from Lake Michigan to Mississippi River explored by Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette
  • (1678) Daniel Greysolon Sieur du Lhut explored western end of Lake Superior
  • (1754 - 1763) French and Indian War
  • (1755) British General Braddock defeated by Wisconsin Indians, led by Charles Langlade
  • (1763) Control of Wisconsin area transferred to England under Treaty of Paris at end of French and Indian War
  • (1764) Charles Langlade established first permanent Euro-American settlement at Green Bay
  • (1774) The Quebec Act incorporates all of Wisconsin lands into the Province of Quebec
  • (1783) U. S. took control of Wisconsin Region in second Treaty of Paris
  • (1787) Wisconsin became part of U. S. Northwest Territory, British fur traders continued to control region
  • (1814) Fort Shelby built at Prairie du Chien, captured by British, name changed to Fort McKay
  • (1815) British abandoned Fort McKay
  • (1816) Astor's American Fur Company began operating in Wisconsin
  • (1818) Wisconsin area included in Michigan Territory; territorial governor created two Wisconsin counties: Brown and Crawford
  • (1822) Indians from New York moved to Wisconsin; lead mining began in southwestern Wisconsin
  • (1825) U. S. and Indian representatives met at Prairie Du Chien, signed Treaty of Prairie Du Chien establishing tribal boundaries
  • (1831) Survey of public lands began by Lucius Lyon
  • (1836) U.S. Congress created Territory of Wisconsin; Madison selected as territorial capital
  • (1837) All territorial banks failed in Panic of 1837; Winnebago Indians ceded claim to all land in Wisconsin
  • (1848) Wisconsin became 30th U. S. state; first telegram reached Milwaukee
  • (1851) First railroad opened between Milwaukee and Waukesha
  • (1854) Republican Party founded in Ripon; fugitive slave, Joshua Glover, arrested in Racine; Wisconsin Supreme Court declared Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 unconstitutional
1800's continued
  • (1856) Margarethe Meyer Schurz opened first kindergarten in U. S. at Watertown 
  • (1861 - 1865) Civil War; over 90,000 men from Wisconsin served in Union forces; 12,216 died 
  • (1862) Governor Louis Harvey drowned 
  • (1864) Cheese factory started at Ladoga in Fond du Lac County 
  • (1868) C. L. Sholes patented typewriter 
  • (1871) Forest fire devastated Peshtigo area, over 1,200 died 
  • (1875) Oshkosh nearly destroyed by fire 
  • (1877) John T. Appleby received a patent for a knotter for twine binders 
  • (1883) Newhall House (Hotel) fire in Milwaukee killed 71; south wing of Capitol extension collapsed 
  • (1886) Workers in Bay View struck for eight-hour work day; five died after confrontations with militia 
  • (1887) Marshfield nearly destroyed by fire 
  • (1889) Bennett Law enacted, required classroom instruction to be in English; Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled reading and prayers from King James Bible in public schools was prohibited 
  • (1891) Bennett Law repealed after intense disagreements with German Protestants and Catholics 
  • (1899) Lumber boom in northern Wisconsin, 3.4 billion board feet harvested in one year; Antipass law enacted prohibiting railroads from giving free rides to public officials; tornado struck New Richmond, killed 117, injured 125, village nearly destroyed 
  • (1900) Census Bureau reported seven of ten Wisconsin residents were born in a foreign country or had parents born abroad 
  • (1901) First Wisconsin-born Governor, Robert M. LaFollette, inaugurated 
  • (1904) State Capitol burned 
  • (1911) John Schwister of Wausau, flew first home-built airplane in the state 
  • (1913) Workmen's Compensation Act enacted 
  • (1917) Many African-Americans moved to Wisconsin cities of Racine, Beloit, Milwaukee from rural South; U. S. entered World War I; 120,000 soldiers from Wisconsin served, nearly 4,000 died 
  • (1919) Wisconsin Legislature ratified nineteenth amendment (women's suffrage); became first state to deliver ratification to Congress; E. L. "Curly" Lambeau started Green Pay Packers football team
1900's continued
  • (1920) League of Women Voters founded by Carrie Chapman Catt of Ripon 
  • (1932) Wisconsin passed first unemployment legislation law in U. S. 
  • (1933) Dairy farmers out on strike 
  • (1934) Wisconsin Progressive Party founded 
  • (1941 - 1945) World War II; 375,000 Wisconsinites served, (including 9,000 women), 7,980 died 
  • (1946) Progressive Party dissolved, members rejoined Republican Party 
  • (1953) Braves baseball team moved to Milwaukee; Hank Aaron signed contracts with Milwaukee Braves 
  • (1957) Milwaukee Braves won World Series 
  • (1958) UW geneticist, Joshua Lederberg, won Nobel Prize for Medicine 
  • (1965) Legislation passed banned housing discrimination 
  • (1965 Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta; Grand jury investigated illegal lobbying activities in legislature 
  • (1967) Race riots held in Milwaukee; protests held by students at University of Wisconsin in Madison resulted in confrontations and many injuries; Green Bay Packers won first Super Bowl 
  • (1968) Demonstration at Wisconsin State University - Oshkosh resulted in 90 African-American students being expelled for damage to the administration building; Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl 
  • (1969) Student strikes at UW in Madison demanded Black studies department, National Guard activated; Wisconsin's Interstate Highway System completed 
  • (1970) Anti-war protestors bombed Research Building at UW in Madison, one death; arson suspected in fire at "Old Main" at UW in Whitewater 
  • (1974) Democrats gained control of both houses; Kathryn Morrison first woman elected to state senate; striking teachers in Hortonville fired 
  • (1964 - 1975) Vietnam War - 165,400 Wisconsinites served, 1,239 killed 
  • (1976) U. S. District Court ordered integration of Milwaukee schools; Exxon discovered sulfide zinc and copper deposits in Forest County; Shirley S. Abrahamson first woman appointed to serve on Wisconsin Supreme Court; ice storm blanketed most of southern Wisconsin, $50 million in damages 
  • (1977) State employees union struck, lasted 15 days, National Guard ran prisons 
  • (1980) Brother and sister, Eric and Beth Heiden of Madison, competed in Lake Placid, NY in Winter Olympics; Eric set world record, winning five gold medals in speed skating; 15,000 Cuban refugees housed at Fort McCoy for the summer 
  • (1982) Milwaukee's Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co. closed after being acquired by Stroh Brewing Co. of Detroit 
  • (1984) Tornado destroys Barneveld, nine dead 
  • (1988) Chrysler Corporation's auto assembly plant in Kenosha closed; first state lottery games started 
  • (1990) Milwaukee murders set new record, raised demands for crime and drug controls; more than 1,400 Wisconsin National Guard and Reserve soldiers called to active duty in Persian Gulf crisis, 11 died 
  • (1991) First Indian gambling contracts signed; a record 456 items in state budget vetoed by Governor Tommy Thompsom 
  • (1992) Protests by thousands of opponents were held at six abortion clinics in Milwaukee throughout summer; a major spill of toxic chemicals due to train derailment in Superior caused evacuation of over 22,000 people 
  • (1993) Cryptosoporidium in Milwaukee's water supply sickened thousands 
  • (1995) Heat wave caused 172 deaths 
  • (1996) Pabst Brewery in Milwaukee closed; train derailment at Weyauwega forced evacuation 
  • (1997) Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl 
  • (1998) Tammy Baldwin was first Wisconsin woman elected to U. S. Congress 
  • (1999) Tommy Thompson elected to fourth term as Wisconsin's Governor 
  • (2001) Legislature approved local sales tax, revenue bonds for renovation of Lambeau Field 
  • (2001) Governor Thompson assumed post of U. S. Secretary of Health and Human Services; State Senator Margaret Farrow first woman Lieutenant Governor 
  • (2008) Lake Delton in Wisconsin Dells completely drained after record rains caused its banks to burst
  • (2011) Winter storm dumped nearly two feet of snow in some areas, wind chill temperatures were between -20 to -25F °

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