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North America History Timeline

North American timeline:

  • 900 Toltec civilization develops in present day Mexico
  • 981 Eric the Red founds the first Nordic settlement in Greenland
  • 1000 Vikings visited coastline of Newfoundland
  • 1327 Aztecs established Mexico City
  • 1492 Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas
  • 1510 Spain began settlements in Jamaica
  • 1519 Hernando Cortes defeated the Aztecs
  • 1534 Jacques Cartier charts Gulf of St. Lawrence
  • 1565 Spanish founded Saint Augustine, Florida
  • 1577 Sir Francis Drake explores Pacific Ocean coastlines
  • 1585 English colonists settled on Roanoke Island, Virginia
  • 1598 New Mexico claimed by Spanish Explorers
  • 1607 Jamestown, Virginia settlement established
  • 1608 Quebec founded by Samuel de Champlain
  • 1609 Henry Hudson explored New York Bay and Hudson River
  • 1612 French explorers discovered Lake Huron
  • 1616 Smallpox devastates Native Americans
  • 1620 Pilgrims arrived on Mayflower at Plymouth, MA

1600's

  • 1629 English captured Quebec City
  • 1642 Montreal founded by Sieur de Maisonneuve
  • 1663 Louis XIV assumed control of New France
  • 1664 New Amsterdam renamed to New York
  • 1670 Hudson Bay Company chartered by Charles II
  • 1682 LaSalle explored Mississippi River

1700's

  • 1701 Iroquois, French, English signed peace treaty
  • 1741 Vitus Bering claimed Alaska for Russia
  • 1744 King George's War began
  • 1749 Halifax, Nova Scotia founded
  • 1754 French and Indian War began
  • 1768 British troops began occupation of Boston
  • 1773 Boston Tea Party
  • 1775 American Revolution began
  • 1776 USA gained its independence from Britain
  • 1789 George Washington elected first US president

1800's

  • 1814 Washington captured and burned by British
  • 1814 Mexico declared independence from Spain
  • 1819 Florida ceded by Spain to the United States
  • 1823 Guatemala declared independence
  • 1836 Americans defeated at Battle of the Alamo
  • 1845 United States annexed Republic of Texas
  • 1846 -1848 U.S. - Mexican War
  • 1849 California Gold Rush began
  • 1852 Fire destroyed 11,000 homes in Montreal
  • 1861 U.S. Civil War began
  • 1862 Canadian smallpox killed 200,000 Indians
  • 1865 13th amendment abolished slavery in the U.S.
  • 1865 Civil War ends; President Lincoln assassinated
  • 1867 Dominion of Canada created
  • 1867 U.S. bought Alaska from Russia for $7.2 mil
  • 1896 Gold discovered in Yukon Territory
  • 1898 Spain ceded Puerto Rico and Cuba to US
  • 1898 Spain sells Philippines to U.S. for $20 million

1900's

  • 1900 Hurricane kills 6,000+ in Galveston, Texas
  • 1901 President McKinley assassinated
  • 1902 US opens military base at Guantanamo Bay
  • 1903 US granted control of corridor across Panama
  • 1904 Much of Toronto's downtown destroyed by fire
  • 1906 Great San Francisco earthquake killed 500
  • 1907 Race riots within Vancouver's Chinatown
  • 1909 Peary and Henson reach North Pole
  • 1912 Titanic struck iceberg and sunk, 1503 died
  • 1913 President Madero of Mexico assassinated
  • 1914 Panama Canal completed
  • 1914 World War I began in Europe
  • 1915 Lusitania sank, 1100 died
  • 1916 Haiti became US protectorate
  • 1917 Jones Act gave Puerto Ricans US citizenship
  • 1918 World War I ended
  • 1929 Great Depression began
  • 1932 Amelia Earhart flies solo across Atlantic
  • 1937 Amelia Earhart disappears circling the world
  • 1939 World War II, Hitler attacked Poland
  • 1941 Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
  • 1944 Allies launch D-Day offensive
  • 1945 Enola Gay dropped atomic bomb on Hiroshima
  • 1945 World War II ended
  • 1953 Jonas Salk develops polio vaccine
  • 1959 St. Lawrence Seaway opens
  • 1963 U.S. President John F. Kennedy assassinated
  • 1969 First moon landing
  • 1977 Control of Panama Canal given to Panama
  • 1985 Mexico City Earthquake kills thousands
  • 1986 "Challenger" exploded, 7 astronauts killed
  • 1989 Exxon Valdez wrecks in Prince William Sound
  • 1993 Bomb exploded in World Trade Center
  • 1993 NAFTA enacted, US, Canada and Mexico agree
  • 1995 Mexican banking crisis, US aids in crisis
  • 1996 Serious riots in Quebec City

2000's

  • 2001 On September 11, four passenger aircraft hijacked, two crashed into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and the fourth in a field in Pennsylvania. 3,025 people were killed
  • 2001 Canada became first country in world to legalize medical marijuana
  • 2003 Shuttle Columbia, exploded upon reentry
  • 2003 Massive power failure in NE US and SE Canada
  • 2004 Four hurricanes hit Florida and southern US
  • 2005 Hurricane Katrina devastates New Orleans
  • 2006 65 miners killed in explosion at coal mine
  • 2007 Heavy rains flood Mexico - 500,000 homeless
  • 2008 Barack Obama elected U.S. President
  • 2009 drug-related killings in Mexico reached 6,500
  • 2010 Explosion aboard oil rig in Gulf of Mexico

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on September 19, 2016.