Immigration Timeline


French and Indian War

August 15, 1754

The French and Indian War started because the British controlled thirteen colonies in America and were looking to expand further west. Now French on the hand occupied Canada and were looking to expand south. Both sides eventually met one another at the Ohio River Valley. The Ohio River Valley area was a major port for trading and connecting to the Mississippi River. The French and Indian War was special because a prominent figure in America history took part in this war. His name was George Washington and before becoming the first president of the United States. Washington was a young twenty-one-year-old lieutenant colonel for the British army. In 1754, Washington was given commands to protect a British fort outside of what is now called Pittsburgh. While on his way a French military unit met Washington and his men. The two sides fought in the first ever battle of the French and Indian War. This battle was called the Battle of Jumonville Glen. The French and British were fighting against each other for the next two year. Both sides had an idea that it would be best to find allies among the Native American. The French recruited the Pottawattamie, Winnebago, Ojibwe, Mississauga, and Huron. The British only had one ally with the Native America, and they were called the Iroquois Confederacy. With more allies and better supplies, the French were dominating the war. The British were destined to lose and probably give up their colonies to the French. But in 1757, British Secretary of State William Pitt poured in a lot of money to improve the British army. This would play a significant part in the war ended and French being defeated in Quebec. The war officially ended with the signing of Treaty of Paris in 1763.

Boston Tea Party

December 16, 1773

On December 16, 1773, Samuel Adams and a band of American Colonists boarded three British ships in the Boston Harbor. They disguise themselves as Native Americans, and the sole mission was to destroy the tea that was on the ship. The reason why Americans wanted to get rid of the tea is that American was getting tired of being tired of being heavily taxed by the British. The Boston Tea Party was a direct defiance by the American against the British Parliament rights over imposing unnecessary taxes. For almost a decade and a half the British tax several items from food to playing cards. In 1773, the British Parliament passed the Tea Act of 1773. This requires that Americans can only buy tea from the British. Even though the tea was cheaper than other teas, it still was taxed. Americans were fed up with the British and their greedy ways. American Samuel Adams and the group of colonists threw three hundred and forty-two chests of tea overboard into the Boston harbor. The British were furious losing almost one million dollars in today’s money. The British closed all Boston ports from trading. This sparked conflict between the two sides, and within sixteen months the American Revolutionary War began.

Declaration of Independence

July 4 1776

On June 11, 1776, Continental Congress selected Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston to draft an official statement justifying the break with America and Great Britain. The statement will later be known as the Declaration of Independence. These five men or “Committee of Five” as they were called came together and began working on the Declaration of Independence. The men all agreed that Thomas Jefferson should write most of it since he was known for being an expressive speaker. Jefferson wrote a draft of the Declaration of Independence and gave it to Congress on July 1, 1776. For next three days, Congress revised about one-fifth of the text but did not takeout Jefferson’s words. Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

The First Wave Immigrants Began


The first wave of immigrants started about a decade before the start of 19th century. This first group of people was mainly from England.

Naturalization Act of 1790

March 26, 1790

On March 26, 1790, Congress passed the United States Naturalization Law. This law provided the first rules to be followed by the United States in the granting of national citizenship. This law limited naturalization to immigrants who were free white persons of good character. The law did exclude Native Americans, slaves, and Asians. Free blacks were allowed citizenship, but that was on a state to state basis. It also provided for citizenship for the children of U.S. citizens born abroad, stating that such children "shall be considered as natural born citizens," the only US statute ever to use the term. Naturalization Law was repealed in 1795 that extended to five-year requirement then again 1798 to fourteen years residence. Congress finally decided that five-year qualification would be best when they passed the Naturalization Law of 1802.

The War of 1812


The United States declared war on Britain in 1812. It did so because Britain refused to stop seizing American ships that traded with France. France was Britain's most prominent enemy in Europe. On August 24, 1814, British forces led by General Robert Ross and Admiral Sir George Cockburn, took a group of men to the Capitol and set fire to it, shortly after the two commanders went to the White House to burn it. This was known as the Burning of Washington. In the summer of 1814, the two countries opened peace talks at Ghent, in Belgium. The United States and Britain agreed late in December of 1814 to end the war between them. The peace treaty that was called the Treaty of Ghent was signed on December 24, 1814.

Steerage Act of 1819

March 2, 1819

During that early 1800’s, tens of thousands immigrants were coming to North America by the boatloads. This new wave of immigrants coming to North America lasted until the early decades of the nineteenth century when mass migration began. The fresh newcomers from Europe took advantage of improvements in transportation to immigrate to the United States. Many of the immigrants were steerage passengers; these were people who paid lowest fares to travel and was considered to be people with little to no money. To help those people, Congress passed the Manifest of Immigrants Act better known as the Steerage Acts in 1819.

The Second Wave Immigrants Began


The second wave of immigrants consists of about 7.5 million people. The people arriving in North America were mainly from northern and western
Europe. Also, the immigrants are now entering the United States through New York City instead of Philadelphia.

The Great Hunger


From 1845 to 1852, a wave of Irish immigrants arrived in North America escaping famine and diseases that plague their country. During this time, about one million people died and a million more relocated to other places. This period was known as The Great Hunger.

The California Gold Rush

January 24, 1848

The California Gold Rush started on January 24, 1848, in Coloma, California. On that day, James W. Marshall found about four or five pieces of gold in Suttter's Mill. The news spread thought out the country and the world. Over 300,000 people would migrate to California from the rest of the United States and overseas.

Castle Garden Open

August 1, 1855

On August 1, 1855, Castle Garden located in Manhattan, New York became the first immigration station in America. Castle Garden opened almost four decades before Ellis Island in 1892. During its time, more than eight million people arrived at this immigration processing center.

Abraham Lincoln

November 6, 1860

On November 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United States, beating Douglas, Breckinridge, and Bell. Lincoln was the first president from the Republican Party.

Third Immigration Wave Began


The third wave immigrating started a few years after the Reconstruction Era in 1880. Many immigrants during this time came over to America for job opportunities and the freedom to worship their religion.

Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

May 6, 1882

On May 6, 1882, President Chester A. Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. This law was encored to stop a particular ethnic group from immigrating to America. The Magnuson Act later repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act on December 17, 1943.

Ellis Island Immigrant Station Open

January 1, 1892

Ellis Island opened its doors on January 1, 1892. The new immigration station proceeded the Castle Garden station that closed in 1890. Ellis Island served for more than six decades until it closed in 1954. It was located near Hudson River between New York and New Jersey. Ellis Island process millions of newly arrived immigrants during its sixty-year history.

The Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907

February 15, 1907

On February 15, 1907, President Teddy Roosevelt signed the Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907. This verbal agreement allowed America not to impose restrictions on Japanese immigration. The sole objective was to reduce tensions between the two nations.

World War I

July 28, 1914

World War I began on July 28, 1914, a month after Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated. World War I significantly reduced immigration in European countries, but America did experience a mass immigrants from other parts of the world.

The Fourth Immigration Wave


Twenty years after World War II ended the fourth immigration wave began in 1965.

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965

October 3, 1965

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act on October 3, 1965. The Immigration and Nationality Act or The Hart–Celler Act stopped the quota system based on national origins that had been American immigration policy since the start of the 20th century.

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

November 6, 1986

The Immigration Reform and Control Act was signed into law by President Ronald Regan on November 6, 1986. This law helped unauthorized aliens the opportunity to apply and gain legal status if they met mandated requirements.

National Ellis Island Day

January 1, 1992

In honor of Ellis Island 100 year anniversary, President George Bush designated January 1, 1992, as "National Ellis Island Day." Over it six decades, Ellis Island had nearly 17 million immigrants entered the United States through this portal. Studies show that 40 percent of all U.S. citizen can trace at least one of their ancestors to Ellis Island.