Colonial America (1492-1763)


Christopher Columbus's Voyages

1492 - 1500

In 1492, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain agreed to finance Columbus's voyages to the west. On October 12, 1492, Columbus landed in the Bahamas, and from then on, there was permanent interaction between the Old and New World.

Hernan Cortes's Conquests

1519 - 1522

Hernan Cortes conquered the Aztecs and greatly enriched Spain with Aztec gold.

Magellan's Voyages

1519 - 1522

Magellan's crew was the first group of people in history to circumnavigate the globe. This showed the advancement of Spanish naval technology and gave Spain great glory.

Francisco Pizarro's Conquests


Francisco Pizarro conquered the Incans and greatly enriched Spain with Peruvian silver, spurring global trade, manufacturing, and capitalism.

The English Colonies



King James I charters the Virginia Company, a joint-stock company and creates the colony of Jamestown.



The Pilgrims went aboard the Mayflower to reach Plymouth Rock, where they established the colony of Plymouth. They brought to Plymouth Rock their religion, their work-ethic, and self-government through the Mayflower Compact.

Massachusetts Bay Colony


John Winthrop and one thousand Puritans established the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the city of Boston. The colony became known for kicking out dissenters who went on to start new colonies.



Thomas Hooker founded the colony of Hartford with the help of Boston Puritans.



Roger Williams was kicked out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony for being too individualistic. He led his followers to Narragansett Bay, where they founded the colony of Providence in 1636.

New Haven


John Davenport established the colony of New Haven.

Rhode Island


In 1644, Roger Williams combines Providence and Portsmouth into the single colony of Rhode Island.



Anne Hutchinson was kicked out of Massachusetts Bay for believing in antinomianism. She went on to establish the colony of Portsmouth in 1644.

The Navigation Acts

1650 - 1673

Britain passed the Navigation Acts in order to regulate trade with its colonies and enforce mercantilism.

The Carolinas

1663 - 1729

King Charles II gave the Carolinas to eight noblemen. Finally, in 1729, they were split into North Carolina and South Carolina.

New Jersey

1664 - 1702

Originally, in 1664, James gave the part of New York between Delaware Bay and the Hudson River away to his two friends as West New Jersey and East New Jersey. In 1702, these two colonies were combined into the single colony of New Jersey.

New York


Charles II let his brother James, the Duke of York, take over New Amsterdam from Peter Stuyvesant.



New Haven and Hartford combined into the single colony of Connecticut.

King Philip's War

1675 - 1678

Natives, led by Metacom, or King Philip, attacked New England because they were taking native lands. After a brutal war, King Philip was executed and native resistance in New England ended.



William Penn establishes the colony of Pennsylvania.


The Church of England


Henry VIII establishes the Church of England in order to get a divorce. This encourages the development of Protestantism in England, leading to the Puritan and Separatist movements.

The Halfway Covenant


The second generation of Puritans was not as religious as the first generation that migrated from England. Thus, the Church invented the Halfway Covenant to get young people more involved with Jesus.

The Great Awakening

1730 - 1743

The Great Awakening made religion more emotional and individual than before. It was the first major American cultural movement, and thus it helped form the new national identity.


Iroquois Confederacy


The Iroquois Confederacy was a union of five native tribes. They fought on alternate sides during the four colonial wars between Great Britain and France. Their Confederation inspired the Founding Fathers.

Bacon's Rebellion


Nathaniel Bacon led a rebellion against Sir William Berkeley in Virginia, because Berkeley refused to fight back against the natives. Bacon attacked native settlements and also deposed Berkeley for a short while before dying. The rebellion died with him.

The Zenger Case


John Peter Zenger was acquitted for spreading libel against the governor of New York, even though it was against English law.

The French and Indian War

1754 - 1763

The French and Indian War was a war between England and France that heavily relied on colonial warfare. The English won, virtually eliminating the threat of France and Spain from the colonies, which would eventually cause an unfortunate series of events for England, ending in the American Revolution.