The Colonial Era

Critical Events During the Colonial Era

The English Magna Carta's Adoption

15 June 1215 12:00 - 15 June 1215 12:01

The Magna Carta's adoption revoked the power of the English monarch and in turn decentralized England, thus promoting the aristocracy. The charter's historic importance is realized when it is noted that England would become less dictatorial. It, of course, had not become a republic; however this was a step in the democratic direction.

The Protestant Reformation is Launched

January 1, 1517 - January 2, 1517

When Martin Luther published his Ninety-Five Theses, publicly protesting the influence and corruption of the Catholic church, he instigated a massive religious upheaval throughout Europe. The Protestant Reformation disagreed with the Catholic Church on several issues - primarily the purchasing of church indulgences and the certain liberties of cardinals. The Counter-Reformation would later be instigated as the Catholic Church sought to revise itself for the betterment of its members. As it acted so lately, there would exist for generations a period of religious wars and disunification.

The Iroquois Confederacy is Established

January 1, 1570 - January 2, 1570

The Iroquois Confederacy was an amalgamation of Iroquois tribes unified against English influence in the New World. It is an example of people banding together against a common enemy, and unfortunately the unification was to little avail in the grand scale.

The Starving Time in Jamestown

December 21, 1609 - March 21, 1610

Many Native American tribes refused to trade food to Jamestown during this winter, leading to the death of most of the colonists. Those that survived resorted to eating horses, cats, and dogs. Some were even forced to resort to cannibalism.

The Powhatan Wars are Fought in Virgina

1610 - 1614

Subsequent wars were fought in 1622-1632 and 1644-1646.

The Powhatan wars were a series of conflicts fought over English expansion in the New World. Native Americans of the Powhatan Confederacy sought to halt English colonization. In each war, the borders between the belligerents would move eastwards...

Inaugural House of Burgesses Convention

July 30, 1619 1:00 - July 30, 1619 23:59

The House of Burgesses was an assembly of Virginian white male land owners constructed to make decisions without having to hear word from England on more trivial matters. They acted as the colony's legislature - an early example of self governance.

The First Separatists Arrive in North America

November 11, 1620 - November 21, 1620

Separatists were Puritans that saw the Anglican church as unsaveable. Instead of seeking to recreate the church for the betterment of Christianity, they sought to entirely separate from the church on towards an independent path. Thus, traveling as large groups to the New World seemed a viable option. Separatists typically resided in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

The Mayflower Compact is Signed

November 11, 1620 1:00 - November 11, 1620 23:59

The Mayflower Compact was signed upon landing in Massachusetts. The document would act as a primitive constitution for the soon to be constructed Plymouth colony. This is an early example of self government in the New World - without the influence of a greater European Power.

John Winthrop and Puritans Establish Massachusetts Bay

March 4, 1628 - March 5, 1628

John Winthrop founded Massachusetts Bay as a New World haven for Puritans escaping religious persecution of the Anglican Church. This creates a very early colonial social division.

Anne Hutchinson is Banished from Massachusetts Bay

March 15, 1638 1:00 - March 15, 1638 23:59

The magistrates and ministers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were typical Puritans. A schism was formed between these leaders and other Puritans, such as John Cotton and Anne Hutchinson, who were in favor of Free Grace Theology as opposed to standard Puritan Orthodoxy. Free Grace Theology was a Christian teaching in salvation granting eternal life once one believed in Jesus Christ as a lord and savior. For her solid stance on the issue, coined as the Antinomian Controversy, Anne Hutchinson was banished from Massachusetts Bay.

The Half-Way Covenant is Enacted

1662 - January 2, 1662

The Half-Way Covenant was a form of Church membership in New England. It sacrificed purity in exchange for an increase in membership. It is an early example of a gradual opening in religious tolerance.

The Navigation Acts are Enacted

1663 - 1696

The Navigation Acts were passed in 1663, 1673 and 1696. Their purpose was to limit the trade of English colonies to England exclusively - this is known as mercantilism. Mercantilism stymies the colonial economies but strengthens both the influence of the mother country over her colonies and the economic power capable by the empire.

King Philip's War

June 1675 - April 1678

Also known as the First Indian War, this was a grievous conflict between Native Americans and English colonists. While it resulted in an English victory and created dominance in the Puritan region, it also acted as a great disaster. Twelve of the settlements in the region were destroyed and its economy was ruined. The Native Americans were the most galvanized, however.

Bacon's Rebellion

July 30, 1676 - October 26, 1676

Nathaniel Bacon, upset with Virginia's colonial governor William Berkeley's stance on Native American relations, rallied a thousand colonial settlers as vigilantes in order to incite an aggressive diplomatic policy with the Native Americans near Jamestown. It could be argued that the rebellion was a power play by Bacon, who seemed upset with Berkeley's lax nature; however the colonists under Bacon would see the first English colonial rebellion as a means of demonstrating anguish towards royal and far reaching influences acting on colonial provincial matters.

The Dominion of New England

1686 - 1689

The Dominion of New England was an English attempt to unify its American colonies fully under royal control. It was shortly lived - the colonies detested the Dominion as it revoked the previous charters and governmental workings of the colonies. The failure of the Dominion could be seen as a prelude to the American Revolution.

The Glorious Revolution

1688 - 1689

The Glorious Revolution resulted from the deposition of the English King James II and the ascension of the Dutch King Willem van Oranje, after the latter's union with English parliamentarians and subsequent invasion - which ended nearly bloodlessly.

Willem van Oranje could been seen as an opportunistl Much of the English Parliament were Protestant, and sought to depose King James II.

In the end, Willem van Oranje was a top power in Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, and the Neatherlands.

The Act of Toleration is Enacted

May 24, 1689 1:00 - May 24, 1689 23:00

The English Crown set into play the Toleration Act to promote a seeming of Christian unity. Catholics were specifically excluded, but many other Christian denominations were given equal status with Protestantism following the obviation of penalties previously assigned to these sects.

Leisler's Rebellion

May 31, 1689 - March 21, 1691

Leisler was a German American merchant that was infuriated with the state of English politics during the Glorious Revolution. He would take control over the southern half of the New York colony for three years.
In the end, the rebellion portrayed an upset colonial attitude towards the policies of the deposed king..

Tuscarora War

September 22, 1711 - February 11, 1715

Amid the introduction of European disease and the encroachment of English settlers on land previously belonging to them, the Tuscarora Native Americans declared war upon the English. They worked with several other Native American tribes, attacking the English in several settlements simultaneously, but were ultimately overpowered.

The New York Slave Revolt

April 6, 1712 - April 7, 1712

The New York Slave Revolt was a small uprising in New York. 23 enslaved Africans killed 9 whites. The received retribution was rather different however. Several laws were enacted restricting the liberty of African slaves, and 70 were killed or executed.

The First Great Awakening

1730 - 1743

The Great Awakening was a revitilization in the Christian religion during the 1730's and 1740's. In the New World, it incited disputations between traditionalists and revitalists. It acted as a religious upheaval similar (but smaller than) to the Protestant Reformation.

John Peter Zenger Trial

November 17, 1734 - January 1, 1735

Zenger was a publisher and printer in New York City. He wrote works criticizing the corruption of the New York Governor William Cosby. He later was arrested and imprisoned under charges of sedition. A court date was set, and received rampant attention. He was successfully defended and the precedent was set: It is not sedition and libel if it can be proved - this set the basis of the freedom of the press in the New World.

Stono Rebellion

September 9, 1739 - January 1, 1740

Also called Cato's Rebellion, this English slave uprising was the largest of its kind prior to the American Revolution. Mostly composed of Catholic Kongolese, the band was, as others before it, upset with their current treatment.

The Negro Act of 1740 was enacted in response to this uprising. It put bans on the assembly, education, and at the same time banned slave importation for ten years.

Events During the Colonial Era

Leif Ericson is the First to Land in the New World

January 1, 999 - January 2, 999

The First Voyage of Christopher Columbus

September 8, 1492 - October 12, 1492

John Cabot explores the Atlantic Coast of Canada and lands in Newfoundland

January 1, 1497 - June 24, 1497

Ponce de Leon Explores Florida

March 4, 1514 - October 19, 1514

The Conquering of the Aztec Empire by Hernando Cortes

December 1, 1518 - August 13 1521

Hernando de Soto explores the MIssissippi River

1539 - 8 May 1541

Roanoke Colony - Established and Lost

July 4, 1584 - August 18, 1590

Jamestown is Founded

April 6, 1607 - April 7, 1607

Tobacco is Planted in Virginia

January 1, 1608 - January 2, 1608

The First Africans Arrive in English Colonies

January 1, 1619 - January 2, 1619

The Carolina Colony is Established

October 30, 1629 - October 31, 1629

Maryland is Founded by Lord Baltimore

June 20, 1632 - June 21, 1632

Roger Williams Establishes Rhode Island

January 1, 1636 - January 2, 1636

Harvard College is Founded

January 1, 1636 - January 2, 1636

Barbados Slave Code Established in English Colonies

January 1, 1661 - January 2, 1661

New Netherland becomes New York

January 1, 1667 - January 2, 1667

Massive Expansion of Slavery into English Colonies Begins

1676 - 1677

Pennsylvania is Founded by William Penn

March 4, 1681 1:00 - March 4, 1681 23:59

The College of William and Mary is Established

February 8, 1693 1:00 - February 8, 1693 23:59

Georgia is Founded

April 21, 1732 1:00 - April 21, 1732 23:59

The University of Pennsylvania is Founded

January 1, 1740 - January 2, 1740

Princeton is Founded

January 1, 1746 - January 2, 1746