Main Page/Historical events

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Page Created: 2014-5-13
Last Change: 2021-06-22

11:11 23 June 2024 UTC


circa 593 BC — With the Athenian state near collapse due to dissensions between groups into which the population had been previously divided, the new archon, Solon, creates the Solonian Constitution which forgives debt, frees the slaves, abolishes serfdom, reduces the power of the aristocracy and expands suffrage. The reforms are credited with laying the foundations of the Athenian democracy.


539–538 BC — The Cyrus Cylinder is written, describing the first known attempt to establish a pluralistic society with people of different faiths, cultures and national origins living together in peace.


449 BC — In order to prevent Roman magistrates from applying the law arbitrarily, The Law of the Twelve Tables is written by a decemviri and the laws are posted publicly, so all Romans can read and know them.


June 3, 350 — Nepotianus, a Roman usurper, proclaims himself emperor of Rome. Marcellinus quickly regains control and kills Nepotianus, parading his head around the city on a lance.


May 30, 1381 — The Peasant's Revolt breaks out in Essex when John Bampton arrives to try to collect the poll tax.


1526 — African slaves and native Guales revolt against their Spanish captures in the settlement of San Miguel de Guadalupe. The revolt is successful, the new Spanish settlement fails, and the Africans take refuge with the local Guale to become the first non-native permanent settlers of what would become the United States.


Jan. 30, 1649 — At the conclusion of the English Civil Wars, Charles I is publicly beheaded for attempting to “uphold in himself an unlimited and tyrannical power to rule according to his will, and to overthrow the rights and liberties of the people.” The execution marked the beginning of the Commonwealth when England and Wales, and later Ireland and Scotland, were governed as a republic.


1698 — Algernon Sidney publishes Discourses Concerning Government, rejecting the concept of the divine rights of Kings and advancing the concept of the consent of the governed. His ideas substantially influence subsequent writers and the founders of the American Revolution.


July 17, 1735 — John Peter Zenger, publisher of The New York Weekly Journal, wins his libel case and his freedom after being arrested for criticizing the colonial governor. The case inspired a spirit of freedom of the press in America which endures to this day.


1754 — Representatives from seven of the thirteen American colonies meet for the first time at the Albany Congress to better coordinate their efforts with the native tribes and to discuss other common interests.


1756 - 1763 — The Seven Year's War is fought among all the great European powers, leaving Britain with a massive debt which they try to address by imposing taxes on the American colonies.


Mar. 22, 1765 — The British impose the Stamp Act on the American colonies in an attempt to address the massive debt that the British incurred during the Seven Year's War.


August 1765 — The Sons of Liberty is founded to secure American colonist's rights and to oppose British taxation without representation.


1767-1768 — The British impose the Townshend Acts on the American colonies to tax and regulate them and attempt to pay off the massive debt that the British incurred during the Seven Year's War.


1768 — Wentworth Cheswell becomes the first African American to be elected to public office, as town constable in Newmarket, New Hampshire.


Apr. 14, 1772 — The Pine Tree Riot breaks out in Weare, New Hampshire, protesting the king's collection of fines (taxes) on the harvesting of pine trees in the colonies.


Dec. 16, 1773 — Demonstrators throw a shipload of British tea into the Boston Harbor to protest taxation without representation.


1774 — The British impose the Intolerable Acts in response to the Boston Tea Party, stripping Massachusetts colonists of many of their civil rights.


Sept 5 - Oct 26, 1774 — The First Continental Congress meets to determine how to respond to the Intolerable Acts imposed by the British. They draft and send the Petition to the King, a request calling for the repeal of the Intolerable Acts.


Mar. 23, 1775 — Patrick Henry says, “Give me Liberty, or give me Death!” in a speech at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia.


Apr. 18, 1775 — Paul Revere and William Dawes, ride from Boston to Lexington warning that “The British are coming” to seize John Hancock, Sam Adams and the colonial guns and ammo in Concord.


May 10, 1775 — The Second Continental Congress meets. They first elect Peyton Randolph, and then John Hancock as president, then raise the Continental Army under George Washington as commander and authorize the colonies to adopt their own constitutions.


Jun. 14, 1775 — The Continental Congress selects George Washington as commander of the Continental Army.


Jul. 5, 1775 — The Continental Congress offers the Olive Branch Petition, in hopes of reconciliation with the British.


Jul. 6, 1775 — The Continental Congress issues the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms, stating: “...Our cause is just... being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves...”.


Aug. 23, 1775 — Refusing to even look at the Olive Branch Petition, King George issues a Proclamation of Rebellion against the American colonies.


Jan. 10, 1776 — Thomas Paine publishes his pamphlet Common Sense arguing for independence from British rule in the Thirteen Colonies.


Mar. 9, 1776 — Adam Smith publishes The Wealth of Nations in London, greatly advancing understanding of free market economics.


May 4, 1776 — Rhode Island becomes the first colony to renounce allegiance to King George III of Great Britain.


June 1776 — Thomas Jefferson writes the rough draft of the Declaration of Independence berating King George for a long list of deplorable acts, including the development and support of the Atlantic slave trade, which Jefferson called an "assemblage of horrors". His criticism of slavery is later deleted from the document by the Contenental Congress.


Jul. 2, 1776 — The Declaration of Independence is completed by the Continental Congress. The Lee Resolution is passed declaring the colonies to be independent of the British Empire.


Jul. 9, 1776 — An angry mob topples a statue of George III of Great Britain in Bowling Green, NY.


Dec. 23, 1776 — Thomas Paine begins publishing The American Crisis, which includes the famous phrase, “These are the times that try men's souls”.


Mar. 1, 1781 — The Articles of Confederation are ratified by the thirteen original states of the United States.


Jun. 17, 1783 — Nearly 400 soldiers from the Continental Army storm the Congress of the Confederation in the State House in Philadelphia, protesting to demand payment for their service in the Revolutionary War. Congress flees Philadelphia for Princeton, New Jersey.


Jan. 3, 1783 — Great Britain acknowledges the independence of the United States.


Apr. 15, 1783 — Preliminary articles of peace ending the American Revolutionary War are ratified.


Jan. 14, 1784 — The Congress of the United States ratifies the Treaty of Paris with Great Britain officially ending the Revolutionary War.


Late-February 1784 — William Whipple frees his slave, Prince Whipple, saying that no man could fight for freedom and continue to hold another in bondage.


Nov. 28, 1785 — The Treaty of Hopewell is signed between the United States of America and the Cherokee Nation.


Jan. 3, 1786 — The third Treaty of Hopewell is signed between the United States of America and the Choctaw.


Sep. 11, 1786 — The Annapolis Convention is held, resulting in the scheduling of the Philadelphia Convention.


Aug. 1786 - June 1787 — Shays' Rebellion in Massachusetts. War veterans take up arms because of poor treatment by the government.


May 14, 1787 — In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, delegates begin arriving for a Constitutional Convention.


Sep. 17, 1787 — The United States Constitution is adopted by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.


Oct. 27, 1787 — The first of the Federalist Papers, a series of essays calling for ratification of the U.S. Constitution, is published in a New York paper.


Dec. 7, 1787 — Delaware ratifies the Constitution and becomes the first U.S. state.


Dec. 12, 1787 — Pennsylvania becomes the second state to ratify the United States Constitution, five days after Delaware became the first.


Jun. 21, 1788 — The U.S. Constitution is ratified by New Hampshire and reaches the necessary nine states required for it to become effective.


Mar. 4, 1789 — The first session of Congress begins under the new U.S. Constitution as the United States transitions from a union of states governed by a treaty into a new federation governed by a constitution.


Sep. 25, 1789 — Congress proposes twelve amendments to the Constitution — a Bill of Rights. Eleven of those twelve amendments were later ratified by the states.


Sep. 22, 1791 — The French Constitution of 1791 is ratified by the National Assembly.


Nov. 1791 — The Haitian Revolution erupts. Led by Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines, former slaves fight for their freedom and in 1804 kill off most of the remaining European colonialists to establish the first free republic governed by former slaves.


Dec. 15, 1791 — The first ten amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, are ratified by the states.


Mar. 14, 1794 — Eli Whitney receives a patent on the cotton gin which ignites the southern cotton industry, leads to an increase in southern slavery and sharpens the divisions between the North and the South.


Feb. 7, 1795 — Three years following ratification of the Bill of Rights, the 11th Amendment is ratified, limiting federal jurisdiction in law suits against states by out-of-state entities.


Apr. 7, 1795 — France adopts the metric system.


Aug. 3, 1795 — Signing of the Treaty of Greenville puts an end to the Northwest Indian War.


Aug. 22, 1795 — The French Constitution of Year III is ratified by the National Convention.


Oct. 27, 1795 — The United States and Spain sign the Treaty of Madrid, establishing the boundaries between their respective lands in America.


Feb. 17, 1801 — When no candidate receives a majority in the presidential election, the House of Representatives elects Thomas Jefferson on their 36th ballot after a week of debate and balloting.


Jun. 15, 1804 — Because of issues during the previous presidential election, the 12th Amendment is ratified by the states, changing the presidential election procedures.


Dec. 30, 1816 — Treaty of St. Louis is signed by the United States and the united Ottawa, Ojibwa, and Potawatomi Indian tribes.


1821 – Thomas L. Jennings becomes the first African American to hold a patent, for a dry-cleaning process.


1823 – Alexander Twilight is the first African American to receive a degree from an American college, Middlebury College, Vermont.


Dec. 30, 1825 — Treaty of St. Louis is signed by the United States and the Shawnee Nation.


Mar. 16, 1827 — The first black owned-and-operated newspaper, Freedom's Journal, is founded by William Hamilton, John Wilk, Rev. Peter Williams Jr. and other free blacks in New York City.


Aug. 21, 1831 — Nat Turner leads a slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, killing about 60 white oppressors using knives, hatchets, axes, clubs and firearms.


1836 — Alexander Twilight is elected to Vermont's House of Representatives, the first black person in the country elected to state office.


1837 — Dr James McCune Smith becomes the first formally trained African-American medical doctor to practice medicine in the United States.


July 2, 1839 — Forty-nine Africans who were kidnapped from Sierra Leone and brought to America seize their transport ship, La Amistad, kill the cook and the captain, and eventually secure their freedom after the Supreme Court case United States v. Schooner Amistad.


May 1845 — Macon Allen is admitted to the Boston bar, becoming the first black person licensed to practice law in the United States. He later founded the first black law firm in the US with William Whipper and Robert Elliott, and was elected as a judge in Charleston County, South Carolina.


July 24, 1847 — Richard M. Hoe is issued a patent on the rotary printing press.


Jul. 5, 1852 — Frederick Douglass delivers his famous speech, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?".


1856 — Wilberforce University, the first college owned and operated by black people, is founded in Ohio. Its president, Bishop Daniel Payne, is the first black man to be president of a U.S. college.


1858 — Sarah Jane Woodson Early becomes the first African-American woman college instructor in the United States at Wilberforce College.


Nov. 7, 1861 — The Gullah become the first African Americans freed during the Civil War as Union forces establish beachheads in the Sea Islands and along the coast of South Carolina.


June 7, 1862 — President Abraham Lincoln proclaims the Lyons-Seward Treaty with Great Britain to suppress the African slave trade.


Jan. 1, 1863 — President Abraham Lincoln issues an executive order proclaiming freedom to all of the slaves in the ten states in rebellion. The Emancipation Proclamation excluded areas not in rebellion, but eventually freed 3.5 million of the country's 4 million slaves.


1864 — Dr. Rebecca Davis Lee Crumpler becomes the first black woman in the United States to earn an M.D.


Apr. 9, 1865 — The Confederacy surrenders to General Grant at the Appomattox Court House.


Dec. 6, 1865 — The 13th Amendment is ratified by the states, abolishing slavery.


Jul. 9, 1868 — The 14th Amendment is ratified by the states, extending due process, equal protection, and other protections to citizens within state jurisdiction.


Feb. 23, 1870 — Hiram Revels becomes the first African-American Senator.


Feb. 3, 1870 — The 15th Amendment is ratified by the states, recognizing the right to vote for all races.


Dec. 12, 1870 — Joseph Rainey becomes the first African American member of the House of Representatives.


Mar. 10, 1876 — Alexander Graham Bell successfully transmits his voice over an electrical circuit using his new invention, the telephone.


Feb. 8, 1878 — Thomas Edison is issued the first patent for the phonograph.


1881 — Congress is out of session during the two months that President James Garfield lay dying from his gunshot wounds, but the country continues to run smoothly.


1882 — Efforts by the Readjuster Party in Danville, Virginia lead to the establishment of the first racially integrated police force in the United States.


1884 — Judy W. Reed is the first black woman to hold a US patent, for an improved dough kneader and roller.


1887 — Granville Tailer Woods receives a patent for his invention, the Multiplex Telegraph, a device that could send messages between train stations and moving trains.


May 4, 1884 — Ida B. Wells refuses to give up her seat in the ladies first class section of a railroad car in Memphis -- more than seventy years before Rosa Parks does the same on a bus in Montgomery, AL.


Sep. 4, 1888 — George Eastman is issued a patent on the first roll-film camera.


Sep. 18, 1895 — Booker T. Washington delivers his Atlanta compromise speech at The Cotton States and International Exposition.


Dec. 17, 1901 — Wilbur and Orville Wright make the first powered airplane flights in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.


July 11-13, 1905 — W. E. B. Du Bois, William Monroe Trotter and other activists meet in Niagara Falls and found the Niagara Movement, a forerunner of the NAACP.


April 1909 — Charles David Herrold, an electronics instructor in San Jose, California builds a spark gap radio and launches the first broadcast radio station -- a new industry that, along with filmed newsreels, would eventually break the monopoly in journalism that the printing press had enjoyed for centuries.


1910 — Madam C. J. Walker is the first black woman become a millionaire in the US.


Feb. 3, 1913 — The 16th Amendment is ratified by the states, allowing the federal government to impose an income tax.


Apr. 8, 1913 — The 17th Amendment is ratified by the states, establishing the direct election of Senators by popular vote.


Apr. 20, 1914 — About two dozen people in a tent colony of 1,200 striking coal miners, including miners' wives and children, are killed by the Colorado National Guard and camp guards from the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company in Ludlow, Colorado.


Jan. 16, 1919 — The 18th Amendment is ratified by the states, banning the manufacture and sale of alcohol.


Aug. 18, 1920 — The 19th Amendment is ratified by the states, recognizing the right to vote for all people irrespective of sex.


Mar. 13, 1931 — After failing to be held responsible for more serious crimes, Al Capone is charged with income tax evasion, then sent to prison where his health rapidly declines until he's nearly mentally incompetent upon his release years later.


July 28, 1932 — Police open fire on the Bonus Army Marchers in Washington, D.C., who where protesting for payment of IOU's issued to them after WWI. The U.S. Army, led by Douglas MacArthur and George S. Patton, attacks the 43,000 protesters, including men, women and children, burning their shelters and all of their possessions. Two were killed and hundreds were injured.


Jan. 23, 1933 — The 20th Amendment is ratified by the states, changing the dates on which the President and Vice President, and the Congress begin their terms. (to January 20th and January 3rd, respectively).


Dec. 5, 1933 — The 21st Amendment is ratified by the states, repealing the 18th Amendment — lifting the ban on alcohol.


1939 — William H. Hastie is the first black federal magistrate, and later the first black governor in the United States.


Feb. 19, 1942 — Franklin D. Roosevelt issues Executive Order 9066, imprisoning 120,000 totally innocent Japanese Americans, mostly U.S. citizens, in concentration camps.


Nov. 9, 1942 — The Supreme Court issues its opinion in Wickard v. Filburn claiming that, based on the Commerce Clause, Congress has unlimited power to prohibit virtually any activity.


1945 — Josephine Baker is awarded the Croix de Guerre and Legion of Honour for her work assisting the allies during the French resistance.


1946 — William H. Hastie is the first black governor in the United States.


Dec. 23, 1947 — John Bardeen and Walter Brattain at AT&T Bell Labs observe the amplifying effect of a crystal of germanium, and with William Shockley, develop the first transistor.


Jan. 27, 1951 — The 22nd Amendment is ratified by the states, limiting presidents to two terms.


May 17, 1954 — The Supreme Court issues its opinion in Brown v. Board of Education eliminating segregation in public schools, partially overruling its 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, and declaring that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."


Dec. 1, 1955 — Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, igniting the civil rights movement.


Mar. 11, 1959 — The play A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry debutes on Broadway.


1960 — Rev. Clennon King is the first black United States presidential candidate.


Mar. 29, 1961 — Washington D.C. becomes part of the electoral college when the 23rd Amendment is ratified by the states.


1963 — Walter Harris becomes the first African-American chess master.


Apr. 16, 1963 — Martin Luther King, Jr. writes his Letter from Birmingham Jail in defense of the civil rights movement and the nonviolent, civil disobedience strategy that he advocated.


Aug. 28, 1963 — Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his historic “I Have a Dream” speech, culminating the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.


Jan. 23, 1964 — The 24th Amendment is ratified by the states, eliminating poll taxes, one of the Jim Crow laws that disenfranchised African Americans.


Jul. 2, 1964 — The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is signed into law, prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin at the workplace and by facilities that serve the general public, and banning racial segregation in schools and discrimination in voter registration requirements.


Aug. 6, 1965 — The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is signed into law, prohibiting discrimination in voting and providing the U.S. Department of Justice with expanded enforcement authority.


1966 — Robert C. Weaver becomes the first black US Cabinet secretary. Later in 2000, the HUD building is renamed to the Robert C. Weaver Federal Building in his honor.


Feb. 10, 1967 — The 25th Amendment is ratified by the states, adjusting the procedures for presidential succession.


Oct. 2, 1967 — Thurgood Marshall becomes the first African-American Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States.


Jan. 3, 1969 — Shirley Chisholm becomes the first black woman to become a member of Congress.


Jun. 28, 1969 — A police raid of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, triggers a riot by its gay and lesbian patrons demanding recognition of their right to be who they are and to love who they want without harassment.


Jul. 21, 1969 — Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first to walk on the moon, while Michael Collins pilots the Apollo 11 command spacecraft in lunar orbit.


Jul. 1, 1971 — The 26th Amendment is ratified by the states, recognizing the right to vote for anyone eighteen years of age and over.


Aug. 9, 1974 — Facing certain impeachment and removal from office, President Nixon resigns from office.


Sept. 17, 1978 — Mediated by President Jimmy Carter, the Camp David Accords are signed by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.


Oct. 1, 1989 — Colin Powell becomes the first African-American to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


Nov. 9, 1989 — The Berlin Wall falls, allowing people to freely travel to/from East Berlin.


Aug. 20, 1991 — Estonia declares independence from the Soviet Union, then goes on to establish a free-market, free-trade economy with a flat-rate income tax, full civil liberties, and a free press, along with a constitutionally required balanced budget.


May 7, 1992 — Gregory Watson singlehandedly lobbies state legislators and successfully gets one of the twelve originally proposed amendments comprising the Bill of Rights, which makes members of Congress face the voters before any change in their salary takes effect, ratified by the states becoming the 27th Amendment.


July 1, 1999 — Shirley Ann Jackson becomes the first black woman to be president of a US University, and the first woman and first African American of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


Dec. 12, 2000 — The United States Supreme Court releases its decision in Bush v. Gore, selecting the President.


Jan. 20, 2001 — Colin Powell becomes the first African American Secretary of State.


2002 — Halle Berry is the first African-American woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress.


Jan. 26, 2005 — Condoleezza Rice becomes the frst African-American woman Secretary of State.


Feb. 28, 2007 — The parliament of the Balearic Islands, an autonomous region of Spain, becomes the first legislature to recognize the civil rights of all hominids.


Jan. 20, 2009 — Barak Obama becomes the first African American president.


July 17, 2009 — Charles F. Bolden Jr. becomes the first African-American Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


Jan. 22, 2021 — Lloyd Austin becomes the first African-American United States Secretary of Defense.


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