APUSH Timeline


Ancestors of Native Americans Cross the Bering Strait

33,000 BC

At this time in history, great ice caps had formed, and the sea level had dropped. This created a land bridge between Russia and the Bering Strait. Ancient peoples crossed this land bridge before the water rose again, and so America received its first inhabitants.

Vikings Discover and Settle Newfoundland


Height of Mississippi Culture at Cahokia


Columbus Lands in Bahamas

October 12, 1492

Columbus persuaded the British monarchs to fund his voyage to the Americas. When Columbus arrived in the Bahamas, he believed he had reached the East Indies.

Founding of Roanoke by Sir Walter Raleigh

August 1585

Roanoke was one of the first attempted colonies in the Americas. After establishing the colony, Sir Walter Raleigh left for England. Upon returning, the entire colony had vanished, lending the colony its nickname: The Lost Colony.

Edict of Nantes

April 1598

Champlain Colonizes Quebec


John Rolfe Perfects Tobacco Cultivation


When John Rolfe perfected tobacco cultivation in the Americas, he gave rise to a crop that would become the staple of American commerce for a full century.

First African Slaves Arrive in Jamestown


Pilgrims Land at Plymouth Rock


Roger Williams Convicted of Heresy and Founds Rhode Island


Fundamental Orders Drafted

January 14, 1639

New England Confederation Formed


Barbados Slave Code Adopted


Half-Way Covenant Founded


In response to declining piety among colonists, the Congregational Churches of New England formed a new method obtaining at least partial church membership. One had to experience a conversion to become a full member.

Bacon's Rebellion


Many impoverished, single young men had begun roaming the countryside of the Chesapeake area, when they were united by Nathaniel Bacon to rebel against Governor William Berkeley.

Pope's Rebellion


Pope's rebellion was a response to Spanish Roman Catholic Missionaries spreading Catholicism in New Mexico. The native people staged an uprising, and destroyed nearly every Catholic Church in the area.

Dominion of New England Created


King William's War


Salem Witch Trials

February 1692

Twenty people were executed on suspicion of being witches on the orders of a group of little girls. The mass hysteria and suspicion surrounding witchcraft brought on mob mentality hangings.

Queen Anne's War


Jonathan Edwards Begins Great Awakening

1730 - 1739

The Great Awakening was characterized by the introduction of emotionalism into preaching. It revitalized religion in the colonies.

Zenger Free Press Trial


John Peter Zenger, accused of libel, was sent to court. He won his case, and so a major step towards free speech was gained.

War of Jenkin's Ear


King George's War


French and Indian War


Treaty of Paris

February 10, 1763

Officially ended the Seven Years' War as a victory for Great Britain over Spain and France.

Proclamation of 1763

October 7, 1763

Paxton Boys March on Philadelphia


Sugar Act

April 5, 1764

Stamp Act Congress Convenes

October 7, 1765

The Stamp Act Congress convened to appeal to the king of England to repeal the much hated Stamp Act. Their efforts were largely ignored in Britain and in America.

Townshend Acts Passed


Placed a light import duty on glass, white lead, paper, paint, and tea. Despite being an external tax, Americans were still angered by the lack of representation.

Boston Massacre

March 5, 1770

A group of redcoats opened fire on a mob of patriots when the redcoats were threatened with violence. The incident killed three and wounded more.

Boston Tea Party

December 16, 1773

Angered by the recent taxes on tea and other such commodities, a group of revolutionaries boarded ships in the Boston Harbor, and dumped huge amounts of tea into the water.

Intolerable Acts Passed

March 24, 1774

First Continental Congress Meets

September 5, 1774

Quakers Found 1st Anti-Slavery Society

April 14, 1775

Battle of Lexington

April 19, 1775

The British commander in Boston sent a detachment of troops to Lexington to seize colonial stores of gunpowder in an effort to put down the rebellion. The redcoats opened fire on the rebels, and the Revolutionary War began.

Battle of Concord

April 19, 1775

After massacring the rebels at Lexington, the redcoats pushed on to Concord, where they were defeated and forced to retreat by militiamen using guerrilla tactics.

Second Continental Congress

May 10, 1775

Battle of Bunker Hill

June 17, 1775

An American army led by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold seized Bunker Hill outside of Boston. The English forces sent to drive them off attacked them head-on, and the redcoats were continuously mowed down until the Americans ran out of gunpowder.

Declaration of Independence

July 4, 1776

Signed by the delegates of the Second Continental Congress, this document officially declared war with, and secession from Britain. It is widely regarded today as the birth of the US.

Battle of Saratoga

September 19, 1777

General Burgoyne, surrounded by American militia, was forced to surrender his entire command to General Horatio Gates. This victory revived the rebellious colonial cause.

Articles of Confederation Adopted

November 15, 1777

The Articles of Confederation were the first set of federal laws laid out for the United States. While they were a step in the right direction, they granted too little power to the federal government.

Peace of Paris

September 3, 1783

Treaty of Fort Stanwix

October 22, 1784

Treaty between the US and the Iroquois Confederacy. it relinquished huge amount of Indian land to the US government directly after the Revolutionary War had ended.

Land Ordinance of 1785

May 20, 1785

Set aside the land of the Old Northwest to be sold, and the proceeds used to pay off the national debt.

Shay's Rebellion


Constitutional Convention


Ratification of Constitution


The Constitution was the much needed reformation of the central government of the US. It was ratified slowly, and with much debate in the individual states, but the promise of a Bill of Rights brought many to endorse it.

Northwest Ordinance

July 13, 1787

Determined that a colony would become a state when it had 60,000 or more residents. Also forbade slavery in the Old Northwest.

Federalist Party Formed


Judiciary Act of 1789

September 24, 1789

Samuel Slater Builds First US Textile Factory


Bill of Rights Adopted

December 15, 1791

Democratic-Republican Party Formed


Neutrality Proclamation

April 22, 1793

When the US was nearly pulled into a war with against England in the Franco-American alliance, President Washington issued the Neutrality Proclamation, declaring that the still weak US would not get involved in the war.

Whiskey Rebellion


Whiskey brewers, upset by the recently passed tax on whiskey, began to rebel. George Washington sent a large army to put down the rebellion, but the rebels had already dispersed before the army arrived.

Cotton Gin Invented

March 14, 1794

XYZ Affair


In an effort to avoid war, President Adams sent an envoy to reach an agreement with the French. When they requested to meet the foreign minister, Talleyrand, they were approached by three go-betweens referred to as X, Y, and Z. These men demanded bribes to see Talleyrand, and the diplomats refused to pay.

Alien and Sedition Acts Passed


Interchangeable Parts


Second Great Awakening


The Second Great Awakening came as a backlash to the growing liberalism of the age. Beginning in the southern frontier lands, the revivals swept up more followers than the first Great Awakening as they covered the United States. Great preachers like Peter Cartwright and Charles Grandison Finney sprouted in the religious reform.

Judiciary Act of 1801

March 3, 1801

Created in the last days of Adams' presidency, it created sixteen new federal judgeships and other judicial offices. Though it was a needed reform, it was met with opposition from Republicans who viewed it as an attempt to entrench the federalist party in the judicial system.

Marbury v. Madison


Lewis and Clark Expedition


The huge expanse acquired in the Louisiana Purchase needed to be explored and charted, so President Jefferson sent Merriweather Lewis and William Clark to explore it.

Slave Trade Outlawed in Congress

March 2, 1807

Embargo Act Passed

December 22, 1807

Non-Intercourse Act Passed

March 1, 1809

Battle of Tippecanoe

November 7, 1811

An Indian rebellion led by Tecumseh and the Prophet was nearly crushed in this battle. General William Henry Harrison advanced on the headquarters of the rebellion at Tippecanoe, and crushed the Indian opposition.

Battle of Horseshoe Bend

March 27, 1814

Forces led by Andrew Jackson crushed the Indian rebellions with yet another debilitating defeat. After this battle and the Battle of Tippecanoe, there was virtually no organized resistance to westward white settlement.

The Battle of Plattsburgh

September 6, 1814

McCulloch vs. Maryland


Chief Justice John Marshall ruled that the Bank of the United States was constitutional by way of implied powers, and that the state of Maryland could not tax federal bank notes, thus empowering the federal government and waning the power of the states.

Missouri Compromise


Admitted Missouri as a slave state, and Maine as a free state to keep the balance of power. It outlawed all future slavery north of the southern boundary of Missouri. The compromise was made by Henry Clay to break the deadlock over the slavery issue.

Erie Canal Completed


The advent of steamboats brought about a canal-cutting craze, which the Erie Canal was built around. The canal runs from Lake Erie to the Hudson River, and from there to the ocean. The price of land in the area skyrocketed, and transportation costs were cut, thus creating economic empire in New York.

House Elects John Quincy Adams President

February 9, 1825

The election of 1824 resulted in no candidate receiving a majority of the electoral votes, and so it fell to the House of Representatives to choose the next president. Henry Clay, being the Speaker of the House, had huge sway over the fate of the election. He hated Jackson, and Crawford had been paralyzed, so he decided on Adams, who then gave him secretaryship of state. This raised a scandal over the bargaining of the office as incentive to vote for Adams.

The South Carolina Exposition Published

December 1828

Trail of Tears


In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, which provided for the transport of Indians east of the Mississippi to the lands west of the Mississippi. This act was made at the request of Andrew Jackson, who believed that he was preserving the Indians. Instead, he uprooted over 100,000 Native Americans, and created the infamous Trail of Tears.

Webster Hayne Debate

January 19 1830

Garrison Publishes The Liberator

January 1, 1831

Bank War


Battle of the Alamo

February 23, 1836

Specie Circular Issued

July 11, 1836

Caroline Sunk By British


A small insurrection in Canada incited American citizens to strike against the British by supplying the insurgents with supplies. The Caroline, carrying supplies on the Niagara River, was attacked and sunk by a British force, killing one American. Americans protested against this unlawful attack on US soil, and greatly strained relations with Britain while the United States was attempting to maintain neutrality.

Webster Ashburton Treaty

August 9, 1842

Mexican War

April 25, 1846

Wilmot Proviso

August 8, 1846

The Wilmot Proviso proposed the abolition of slavery in territories acquired from Mexico in the Mexican War. This was first proposed by, and named for, David Wilmot.

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

February 2, 1848

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo put an end to the Mexican War. and gave the United States all of the land in the Mexican Cession, which was the largest cession of land to the United States. It required that the United States pay 15 million dollars to Mexico, and to assume the claims of United States citizens against Mexico in the amount of $3,250,000.

Seneca Falls Convention

July 19, 1848

Compromise of 1850

January 29, 1850

Clayton-Bulwer Treaty

April 19, 1850

Uncle Tom's Cabin is Published


Uncle Tom's Cabin, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, sparked an outrage among abolitionists over slave auctions, which the book depicts as the worst aspect of slavery. It has been credited, even by President Lincoln, as the book that started the Civil War.

Gadsden Purchase

December 30, 1853

After acquiring huge tracts of land from the Mexican Cession, the US required a transcontinental railroad to reach its spoils of war. The land desired to build a railroad through was controlled by Mexico, and so James Gadsden, minister to Mexico, purchased the land for $10,000,000.

Commodore Perry Opens Japan


Prior to 1854, Japan had been closed to trade with the western world. Then, Commodore Matthew C. Perry arrived in Japan with a large fleet of warships. After his impressive display of force, he persuade the Japanese to sign a treaty allowing the beginnings of an economic relationship with Japan and the rest of the world.

Kansas Nebraska Act

May 30, 1854

Ostend Manifesto

October 18, 1854

Dred Scott Decision

March 6, 1857

The Supreme Court ruled that slaves were property, and could be taken to any state, so Dred Scott was still a slave. They also ruled that The Missouri Compromise had been unconstitutional.

Hinton R. Helper Publishes the Impending Crisis of the South

June 26, 1857

Lincoln-Douglas Debates

August 21, 1858

Brown Raids Harper's Ferry

October 16, 1859

John Brown raided the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry, killing seven innocents. He desired a free black state refuge and an armed uprising of blacks against their masters. John Brown was later hanged, becoming a martyr.

Lincoln Takes Office

November 6, 1860

Confederate Government is Formed

February 8, 1861

Fort Sumter Fired Upon

April 12, 1861

South Carolinian Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter after Lincoln ordered that the fort be supplied to prevent it from surrendering to the Confederates. This sparked the beginning of the Civil War.

Merrimack and Monitor Battle

March 9, 1862

The Confederate Navy, being blockaded by the Union, built a makeshift ironclad out of a wooden ship and railroad rails. They hoped to use it to break the blockade, but were instead fought to a standstill by a Union ironclad: the Monitor. The Merrimack was later destroyed by Confederates to prevent its use by the advancing Union.

Seven Day's Battle

June 25, 1862

Emancipation Proclamation

September 22, 1862

Lincoln warned on this day that all slaves held in the confederate states would be free on January 1st, 1863. Lincoln did not actually have power over these slaves, and refused to free slaves that he did have power over for fear of losing the support of the border states.

Battle of Gettysburg

July 1, 1863

The Battle of Gettysburg claimed the lives of many soldiers on both sides in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Picket's Charge at the battle marked the northernmost Confederate push, and the end of the Confederacy.

Archduke Maximilian Becomes Emperor of Mexico

June 10, 1864

While the United States was preoccupied with its own Civil War, Emperor Napoleon of France sent a military force to occupy Mexico City in 1863 despite the Monroe Doctrine. He then created a puppet government with Archduke Maximilian as the emperor of Mexico.

Sherman's March

November 15, 1864

After taking Tennessee, Grant's command was hand to General William Tecumseh Sherman. Sherman was tasked with taking Georgia, and cut a bloody swath through the landscape, burning Atlanta, destroying railroads, looting, and practicing total war.

Lee Surrenders at Appomattox

April 9, 1865

When Lee surrendered to General Grant, it marked the end of the fighting in the Civil War. While there may have been pockets of resistance left, the Confederacy was practically crushed.

13th Amendment Ratified

December 6, 1865

This was the final act made to free the slaves. After a hard fought Civil War, the United States passed the 13th amendment to the Constitution.