- c. 985-1014 - Norsemen, including Eric the Red and Leif Ericson, set up outposts in
North America and encounter Eskimos, Beothuks, and Micmacs.
- 1119 - Chinese invent the magnetic navigational needle leading to the development of a
- c. 1200-1400 - Ancestral Apache and Navajo bands separate from northern Athabascans and
migrate to Southwest.
- c. 1275 - Drought and Athabascan raids lead to abandonment of Anasazi settlements in
- 1325 - The Capital of the Aztec Empire, Tenochtitlan, is founded.
- 1394 - Prince Henry the Navigator was born, one of the
sons of the Portuguese King John I, founder of the Aviz dynasty. By the time Prince Henry
died, in 1460, the Portuguese had reached Cape Palmas (Liberia), and a trading post had
been established in Arguim (an island near Cape Verde).
- 1492 - Christopher Columbus, backed by Spain, reaches San Salvador (Guanahani to the
natives), encountering Arawak and Taino people. Thinking he is in India, he calls them
- 1497-98 - John and Sebastion Cabot explore east coast of North America for England. They
kidnap three Micmac men.
- 1498 - Vasco da Gama the discoverer of the sea route
to East Indies arrives at the harbour of Calicut, India on May 20. Born at Sines,
Province of Alemtejo, Portugal, c.1469; died at Cochin, India, December 24, 1524.
- c. 1500 - European diseases begin killing native North Americans, who have no immunity
- 1501 - Amerigo Vespucci - disputing the idea that Columbus had found the back door to
Asia, this Italian navigator was the first to call the Americas a "New World."
European mapmakers thus came to know both continents as "the land of Americgo,"
- 1512 - Spanish law gives Spanish land grantees the right to make slaves of Indians under
the encomienda system.
- 1513 - V. Nunez de Balboa - Climbing a mountain crest on the Isthmus of Panama this
Spaniard became the first European to see the Pacific Ocean and first to realize the vast
distance between the New World and Asia.
- 1513-21 - Juan Ponce de Leon of Spain reaches Florida
and has extensive contact with Indians before Calusa war canoes drive his ships away. On
an expedition in 1521, he is wounded by a Calusa arrow and later dies in Havana.
- 1519-1521 - Ferdinand Magellan spurned by his
king, this Portuguese captain turned to Spain for support of the first circumnavigation of
the globe. Blessed with unusually peaceful weather across the new ocean, he named it the
Pacific. He was killed in the Philippines while fighting in a local war, and only 18
members of his crew returned home.
- 1523-24 - Giovanni da Verrazano, sailing for
France, explores the Atlantic coast, encountering Wampanoag, Narragansett, and Delaware
- 1528-36 - A. Nunez Cabeza de Vaca surviving one disaster after another during an
eight-year odyssey from Florida to the Gulf of California, he and three others became, by
accident, the first Europeans to cross the North American continent.
- 1532 - Francisco Pizarro of Spain proved the power of European weaponry in the New
World, this conquistador subdued an Inca army of perhaps 80,000 with a force of fewer than
200. Over the next few decades the Spanish sent enough gold back to Spain to cause severe
inflation in Europe.
- 1534-41 - Jacques Cartier of France explores the St.
Lawrence River area in three voyages, making contact with Algonquian and Iroquoian
speaking tribes. On one trip he reaches the Huron towns of Stadaconna and Hochelaga (now
Quebec City and Montreal).
- 1539-43 - Hernando de Soto claims Florida for Spain and explores the Southeast,
encountering and alienating numerous tribes; he and his Spanish expedition became in 1841
the first Europeans to see the Mississippi River as they explored westward from Florida.
- 1540-42 - Francisco Vasques de Coronado of Spain
explores the Southwest in search of Seven Cities of Cibola.
- 1542 - Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and Bartolome
Ferrelo explore the California and Oregon coasts.
- 1564-65 - Rene de Laudonniere heads French colony on St. Johns River in Florida until
expelled by Spanish. French artist Jacques le Moyne paints first known European depiction
- 1565 - Spanish under Pedro Menendez de Aviles found St. Augustine in Florida, the first
permanent European settlement in North America.
- 1576-78 - Martin Frobisher of England, seeking a Northwest Passage to the Pacific,
encounters various Eskimo groups.
- 1581 - Francis Drake - Like Balboa 60 years earlier,
he first glimpsed the Pacific in Panama, then vowed to "sail once an English ship in
that sea." His voyage around the world as a privateer was instrumental in breaking
Spain's control of the high seas. When Queen Elizabeth knighted this royal pirate it
helped goad Spain into war.
- 1585 - Sir Walter Raleigh founds colony on Roanoke Island in what will become Virginia.
In 1591 Gov. John White returns from a trip to England to find that the colonists have
- 1598 - John de Onate establishes first Spanish colony in New Mexico.
- c.1598 - Vincente de Zaldivar of Onate's force camped near present Denver, named South
Platte Rio de Chato.
- 1598-99 - Natives of Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico attack Spanish troops; a retaliatory
force under Onate kills as many as 800 Acomans.
- 1600 - East India Company founded in London. Dutch and French follow soon, as other
Europeans come to rival Iberians in world trade.
- 1602 - Sebastian
Vizcaíno explores Monterey. They were the first known European explorers to reach
- 1603-15 - Samuel de Champlain's voyages in the
Northeast lead to contacts with many Algonquian and Iroquoian tribes. In 1615 Champlain
attacks Onondaga villages with the help of a Huron war party, this turning the Iroquois
League against the French.
- 1607 - English colonists found Jamestown, Virginia under John Smith, leading to
extensive contact with the tribes of the Powhatan Confederacy.
- 1608 - Samuel de Champlain and French colonists found Quebec; later he pushed west to
Lake Huron, establishing alliances with Indians and opening what became a vital
fur-trading route through the wilderness - Telescope invented
- 1610 - Henry Hudson, in service of the
Netherlands, explores the river named for him - Mahattan Indians attack his ship; Mahican
people make peaceful contact, and a lucrative fur trade begins.
- 1611 - Champlain builds fur post at Montreal.
- 1613 - In response to gunfire aimed at them, the Beothuk of Newfoundland kill 37 French
fisherman. The French retaliate by arming the Micmac, traditional enemies of the Beothuk,
and offering bounties for scalps. The Beothuk are soon virtually exterminated.
- 1616-20 - Smallpox epidemic strikes New England tribes between Narragansett Bay and the
- 1620 - Pilgrims from England arrive in Plymouth.
- 1624 - Dutch settlers found Fort Orange (Albany, New York) in New Netherland.
- 1626 - Canarsie Indians sell Manhattan Island to Peter Minuet, governor of New
Netherland, for 60 guilders in trade goods. Dutch later have to pay Manhattan Indians,
actual occupants of the island.
- 1629-33 - Spanish found Catholic missions for Acoma, Hopi, and Zuni pueblos.
- 1633-35 - New smallpox outbreaks among Indians of New England, New France, and New
- 1636-37 - Pequot War in New England: White colonists kill more than 600 people in
surprise attack on main Pequot village.
- 1638 - Sweden lays claim to land around Delaware Bay, maintaining trade outpost until
- c. 1640 - Beavers and otters nearly exterminated in Iroquois country. To expand
territory, Iroquois launch decades-long "Beaver Wars" against Huron and other
tribes. In 1650, 300 Huron survivors settle at Lorette under French protection.
- 1644 - Second Powhatan Confederacy uprising against Jamestown; its leader,
Opechancanough, dies in captivity.
- 1650 - Bighorn River region, ancient ruins credited to Spanish.
- 1654 - Radisson and Groseilliers explored southwest of Lake Superior and discovered the
- 1661 - Spanish in Southwest raid sacred kivas of Pueblo towns and destroy hundreds of
kachina masks in an effort to suppress native religion.
- 1664 - England gains control of New Netherland from the Dutch and become ally and trade
partners with the Iroquois.
- 1668-69 - Pierre Esprit Radisson and Medard Chouart, sieur de Groseilliers, explore west
of the St. Lawrence River as far as Lake Superior, plus the Hudson Bay region, for
- 1669 - Ft. Charles, at foot of James Bay, became Ft. Rupert.
- 1670 - Hudson's Bay Company chartered in London by King Charles II.
- 1671-84 - Forts at mouths of Bay rivers: Moose 1671; Severn 1680; Albany 1683; York,
finally on Hayes.
- 1672 - Colonial postal officials employ Indian couriers to carry mail between New York
City and Albany; winter weather is too severe for white couriers.
- 1673 - Marquette and Jolliet paddled down the Mississippi to below the Arkansas, where
DeSoto had been in 1541.
- 1675-76 - King Philip's War pits the Wampanoag, Narragansett, and Nipmuc against the New
England Confederation of colonies. Metacom (King Philip) is killed in 1676.
- 1678-79 - Daniel Greysolon Duluth of France explores Great Lakes and negotiates treaties
between the warring Ojibwa and Sioux.
- 1680 - Pueblo Indians rise up in rebellion against Spanish rule; the revolt, led by
Pope, a Tewa medicine man, expels the occupiers. In 1689 the Spanish begin reconquest of
- 1682 - Robert Cavelier de la Salle claims the entire Mississippi Valley for France, name
the area Louisiana. - William Penn's treaty with the Delaware begins a period of friendly
relations between the Quakers and Indians.
- 1685 - LaSalle landed at Matagorda Bay, built Fort St. Louis (LaSalle killed 1687).
- 1686 - Mackinac region, Rooseboom and McGregor opened trade but were seized by the
- 1689 - Nicolas Perrot formally claims upper Mississippi region for France.
- 1689-97 - King William's War is the first in a series of colonial wars between England
and France and their Indian allies, continuing to 1763 During these wars, the Iroquois
League generally sides with the English, and the Algonquian tribes with the French.
- 1695 - First Pima uprising against Spanish authorities in the Southwest; second uprising
occurs in 1751.
- 1710 - Three Mohawk chiefs and one Mahican are received in Queen Anne's court in England
as the Four Kings of the New World.
- 1711-13 - Tuscarora War on North Carolina frontier fought between British settlers and
Tuscarora Indians. Remnants of this Iroquoian tribe migrate north; in 1722 the Tuscarora
become the sixth tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy.
- 1712-34 - Fox resistance against the French in the Great Lakes area.
- 1714 - St. Denis, French trader, reached the Rio Grande.
- 1714-17 - Bourgmont explored the Missouri to the Platte, some think as far as the mouth
of the Little Missouri.
- 1720 - Villasur's defeat by Pawnees with French guns, Archeveque, reported murderer of
La Salle, among the dead. - French traders among the Pawnees of the upper Platte.
- 1720-60 - The Chickasaw fight the French and the Choctaw in the Southeast.
- 1729 - French governor of Louisiana, wanting the site for a plantation, orders the
Natchez to vacate their capital. The furious Natchez kill 200 Frenchmen at Fort Rosalie in
response; the French answer by annihilating the Natchez.
- 1730 - Mirror sextant invented - Seven Cherokee chiefs visit London and form an
alliance, The Articles of Agreement, with King George II.
- 1734 - Jemeraye established Fort Maurepas on Lake Winnipeg, third of the Verendrye posts
(St. Pierre on Rainy reactivated, St. Charles on Lake of the Woods.
- 1738 - Smallpox strikes the Cherokee in the Southeast, killing almost half the
population. Smallpox also reaches tribes in western Canada
- 1738-39 - Verendryes to Hidatsa, and Mandan, villages of upper Missouri.
- 1739 - Mallet brothers and traders reached Santa Fe.
- 1741 - Vitus Bering, in service of Russia, reaches
Alaska; Russians soon trade with natives for sea otter pelts.
- 1742-43 - Verendrye sons probably reached the Big Horns, buried a plate at the Missouri,
found 1913 above Bad River.
- 1746 - Typhoid fever epidemic breaks out among the Micmac of Nova Scotia.
- 1747 - Pickawillany, Colonials set up supply housed for wandering traders, supplied 50
in 1752, but sacked by Langlade in June.
- 1750 - Moor's Indian Charity School is founded in Connecticut. It moves to New Hampshire
in 1769; as Dartmouth College, it encourages enrollment of Indians. - Hidatsa villages,
site of ancient trading fair, now with both French and Hudson's Bay representatives
present each summer.
- 1750's - Saskatchewan River region, reached by trade drummers sent out with goods to
tempt the Indians to York.
- 1751 - Benjamin Franklin cites Iroquois League as model for his Albany Plan of Union,
later an influence on the U.S. Constitution. - Fort La Jonquierre built by Saint-Pierre
for Verendryes, at foot of Canadian Rockies.
- 1752 - Benjamin Franklin flies kite in electrical storm
- 1754 - Anthony Hendry travels west from Hudson Bay to upper South Saskatchewan, to Ft.
La Jonquierre region with presents and trade goods, meets natives on horseback and sees
- 1754-63 - French and Indian War (the colonial phase of Europe's Seven Years War).
- 1763 - Treaty of Paris officially ends French and Indian Wars and gives Great Britain
control of Canada; France cedes New France to England and Louisiana to Spain.
- 1755-75 - William Johnson, British superintendent of Indian affairs in the northern
colonies, persuades the Iroquois League to break its neutrality and side with England
- 1760-61 - Cherokee War on Carolina frontier flares up over continuing treaty violations
- 1761-66 - Aleut people revolt against Russian abuses in Alaska
- 1763 - Proclamation by King George III bans settlements west of the Appalachians and
establishes a protected Indian Country there. White settlers ignore the boundary line -
Indian raids in Pennsylvania lead to the Paxton Riots - Peaceful Conestoga Mission Indians
are massacred by settlers.
- 1763-64 - Pontiac's Rebellion threatens British control of the Great Lakes region before
being put down. Pontiac, an Ottawa chief, is killed in 1769 by a Kaskaskia Indian in
- 1765 - Reserve system in Canada begins with the provision of a tract of land for the
- 1769 - Gaspar de Portola claims California for Spain and establishes mission system
under Junipero Serra, a Franciscan priest.
- 1770 - David Thompson born in London - William
Wordsworth born in Cockermouth, England
- 1771 - Captain James Cook completes his first
voyage around the world
- 1772 - Samuel Hearne explores Coppermine River to Arctic Ocean. - Mathew Cocking, to
Blackfeet country west of Eagle Hills.
- 1773 - Ft. La Traite, on Churchill River, by Frobisher to cut into HBC's trade.
- 1774 - Lord Dunmore's War fought in Virginia between settlers and Shawnees.
- 1775 - Daniel Boone leads party of settlers into Kentucky - Juan Francisco la Bodega y
Quadra anchored near today's Point Grenville, Washington on July 14, Bodega sent a party
ashore to obtain fresh water and firewood and approxmately 300 Indians attached from
hiding in the woods and slaughtered them. Bodega opened fire with muskets and swivel guns,
but found that the schooner was out of range.Bodega sailed north into Alaskan waters,
reaching approximately 58 degrees latitude. He discovered Bucareli Sound. Unlike Perez,
Bodega made sure that he landed to claim the coast for Spain.
- 1776 - American Revolution begins - Spanish establish mission at San Francisco
- 1776-77 - Capt. James Cook of England explores the Pacific Northwest
- 1777 - David Thompson enters Grey Coat School
- 1778 - Spinning mule invented to spin multiple strands of yarn - James Cook trades for
sea otter pelts in Nootka Sound - First treaty between the United States and an Indian
nation is negotiated with the Delaware; they are offered the prospect of statehood -
British and Iroquois forces attack and massacre American settlers in western New York and
Pennsylvania. In 1779 a retaliatory U.S. campaign destroys Indian towns and crops,
breaking the Iroquois League's power.
- 1779 - James Cook killed by Hawaiian natives, cutting short his search for Northwest
- 1780 (Also pre-1780) - British visit Nez Perce village west of Bitterroots. French
Trader called Sassaway/Salsway/Salaway, with Indian family. - Prairie du Chien, Spaniards
from New Mexico appeared this far seeking trade and Indian allegiance.
- 1780-1800 - Smallpox and measles decimate Indians in Texas and New Mexico. In 1782-83 a
small pox epidemic hits the Sanpoil of Washington
- 1781-89 - The Articles of Confederation establish the principle that the central
government, not the states, should regulate Indian affairs and trade
- 1782 - Christian Delaware Indians are massacred by Americans at Gnadenhutten in Ohio. -
British on upper Yellowstone, on old Indian trail along east slope of the mountains,
challenging Spanish trade goods.
- 1783 - Treaty of Paris ends American Revolution - North West Fur Company established in
Montreal - Continental Congress proclamation bars white squatters on Indian lands
- 1784 - David Thompson begins apprenticeship on Hudson Bay - Dr. Samuel Johnson dies in
London - James Cook's journal of his last voyage published in London - North West Company
is chartered in Montreal to compete in fur trade with the Hudson's Bay Company. In 1821
the two companies merge.
- 1785 - Introduction of Power loom in England for weaving cloth
- 1787 - David Thompson winters on Bow River with Piegans near Rocky Mountains -
Northwest Ordinance calls for Indian rights, establishment of reservations, and sanctity
of tribal lands; but it also sets guidelines for development of the Old Northwest that
lead to increased white settlement.
- 1787-89 - The new U.S. Constitution gives the federal government sole power to regulate
commerce with Indian tribes
- 1789 - French Revolution begins - David Thompson learns surveying from Philip Turnor
- 1789-93 - Alexander Mackenzie of Canada, seeking northern river route to the Pacific,
travels to the Arctic Ocean; on second journey he crosses continent by land, making
contact with many tribes.
- 1790 - Benjamin Franklin dies in Philadelphia - British Captain George Vancouver begins
his three-year survey of northwest coast of North America - Spain signs the Nootka
Convention, ceding the Pacific Northwest to England and the United States.
- 1791-91 - Little Turtle's War: Shawnee, Miami, and other tribes win major battles
against Americans in Ohio Valley, including defeat of Gen. Arthur St. Clair
- 1792 - American Captain Robert Gray discovers mouth of
Columbia River - George Vancouver's Lieutenant William Broughton explores Columbia 100
- 1793 - Alexander Mackenzie overland reaches Pacific Ocean at Bella Coola north of the
Spaniards, (by Peace Pass, and then withdrew to XY Company 1798-1804. - David Thompson
surveys Muskrat Country west of Hudson Bay. - Brandon House established on Assiniboine,
outpost for trade south and southwest to Missouri and Yellowstone.
- 1794 - Jay Treaty establishes neutral commission to settle border disputes between
United States and Canada; restores trade between the United States and British colonies of
Canada; also guarantees Indians free movement across the border
- 1796 - Scottish explorer Mungo Park reaches headwaters of Niger River in what is now
Mali, West Africa
- 1797 - David Thompson leaves Hudson's Bay Company to join North West Company
- 1798 - David Thompson travels to Mandan villages and charts headwaters of Mississippi
River - Napoleon invades Egypt - Horatio Nelson and British Navy defeat French at Battle
of the Nile
- 1799 - David Thompson marries Charlotte Small - Alexander Mackenzie resigns from North
West Company - George Vancouver's Journeys to the North Pacific Ocean published in
London - Handsome Lake, a Seneca chief, founds the Longhouse religion - Russian-American
Fur Company chartered; launches aggressive policy in Aleutians and on Northwest Coast
- 1800 - Alexander Mackenzie joins XY Fur Company. - British on Des Moines River,
controlling most of trade to there out of upper Mississippi River posts and Fond du Lac.
- 1801 - David Thompson attempts to cross Rocky Mountains - Alexander Mackenzie's Voyages
to the Frozen and Pacific Oceans published in London - Mackenzie knighted in honor of
his explorations - Thomas Jefferson takes the Oath of Office as President on March 4th.
- 1802 - Federal law prohibits the sale of liquor to Indians
- 1802-20 - The Tlingit resist Russian incursions into their territory
- 1803 - Thomas Jefferson completes Louisiana Purchase extending U.S. control west of the
Mississippi River; federal plans to resettle Eastern tribes beyond the Mississippi soon
begin - John Colter becomes the fourth man selected by
William Clark to join the Lewis & Clark Expedition
- 1804 - David Thompson works in Peace River country - Lewis and Clark start up Missouri
River - Merger of the Northwest and XY Fur Companies. - Santa Fe, La Lande trading party
from St. Louis.
- 1805 - Admiral Nelson defeats French at Battle of Trafalgar - Lewis and Clark Reach
- 1806 - Russian-American Fur Company collects otter pelts from Alaska to Spanish
California - Mungo Park killed by natives on Niger River - On return trip John Colter is
released from Lewis & Clark Expedition to join Forrest Hancock and Joseph Dickson
(Dixon) to trap the Yellowstone River - U.S. Office of Superintendent of Indian Trade is
established to administer federal Indian trading houses.
- 1807 - David Thompson crosses Rockies and builds trading post, Upper Kootenay House,
at headwaters of Columbia River - In the spring John Colter joins Manuel Lisa at the Platte River who winters on Yellowstone
River at the mouth of the Bighorn River - Zebulon Pike explores Southwest into Colorado -
Great Britain abolishes institution of slavery - Thomas Jefferson signs bill banning all
foreign trade following British attacks on American shipping - Lisa sends John Colter to
find the Crow Indians and during this time he becomes the first explorer to enter the
present boundary of Yellowstone Park.
- 1808 - David Thompson explores Kootenai River - Simon
Fraser follows Fraser River to the Pacific - Napoleon invades Spain - Colter with
Flathead Indians are attacked by Blackfeet near the Three Forks - On a return trip to the
Three Forks John Colter & John Potts are captured
by Blackfeet, Potts is killed and Colter is stripped and told to run for his life
(Colter's Run) - American Fur Company is chartered by John Jacob Astor to compete with
Canadian fur trade
- 1809 - President James Madison reinstates embargo on British trade - Jean-Baptiste
Lamarck's theory of evolution based on acquired characteristics published in Paris -
Charles Darwin born - Treaty of Fort Wayne obtains 2.5 million acres from Indians for
white settlers in Ohio and Indiana
- 1809-11 - Tecumseh, Shawnee chief, and the Prophet campaign to unite tribes of the Great
Lakes, Ohio Valley, and Southeast against the United States. His brother Tenskwatawa, the
Shawnee Prophet, is defeated at Tippecanoe in 1811
- 1809-23 - Sequoyah single-handedly creates a Cherokee syllabic alphabet so that his
people's language can be written
- 1810 - David Thompson builds trade houses on Pend Oreille Lake and Flathead River - Sir
Walter Scott publishes The Lady of the Lake - Colter guides Colonel Menard to Three
Forks to build a fort. Colter returns to St. Louis leaving May 1st and arriving on May
- 1810-11 - Ft. Henry, by Andrew Henry on fork of Snake River.
- 1811 - John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Company
establishes post, Fort Astoria, at mouth of Columbia River - David Thompson follows
Columbia to Pacific and finishes charting entire length of the river - William Price Hunt, leading Astor's overland party,
explores Snake River Valley and much of future Oregon Trail. - Ft. Okanogan by David
Stuart, one of the Tonquin Astorians.
- 1811-12 - Selkirk Colony, on 116,000 sq. mi. across North West Company access to western
- 1812 - David Thompson retires to Montreal - Napoleon retreats from Russia after burning
Moscow - Baron Cuvier publishes first volume of his Researches on the Bones of Fossil
Vertebrates - John Colter dies on May 7th.
- 1812-15 - War of 1812: Tecumseh, allied with the British, dies in 1813 at the Battle of
the Thames in Canada
- 1813 - Jane Austen publishes Pride and Prejudice anonymously in London. -
Astoria, bought from Astor's representatives under pressure of War of 1812.
- 1813-14 - Creek War (also called Red Stick War) ends in treaty that strips Creeks of
their land in Southeast
- 1814 - David Thompson delivers his map of western North America to partners of North
West Company - Treaty of Ghent ends War of 1812
- 1815 - Wellington defeats Napoleon at Waterloo
- 1817 - David Thompson takes post as chief surveyor for International Boundary
Commission. - Walla Walla (Ft. Nez Perce) on Columbia below mouth of Snake.
- 1817-18 - First Seminole War: Gen. Andrew Jackson invades Florida in punitive expedition
against the Seminole
- 1820-24 - Kickapoo resistance to removal from Illinois Territory; Winnebago uprising in
Wisconsin follows in 1827
- 1821 - Amalgamation of North West and Hudson's Bay Companies.
- 1823 - James Fenimore Cooper's The Pioneer, first volume of his Leatherstocking
series, published in United States
- 1824 - U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is created as part of the War Department
- 1825 - Spokane House closed - Fort Colville built at Kettle Falls - A separate Indian
Country west of the Mississippi is first denied - Britain introduces the steam train, a
revolution in land transportation. - South Pass opened to wheels by William Ashley party,
to become great emigrant gap to the west. - Henry Fork of the Green River, first American
Rendezvous for wandering trapper brigades, by Wm. Ashley.
- 1827 - The Cherokee adopt a constitution patterned on U.S. Constitution; it is nullified
by the Georgia legislature
- 1828-35 - The Cherokee Phoenix, a bilingual weekly newspaper, is published,
printing stories in cherokee and English
- 1830 - John Mullan born July 31 in Norfolk, Virginia -
Indian Removal Act passed by U.S. Congress, calling for relocation of Eastern tribes to an
Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. Acherokee legal challenge produces an 1832
Supreme Court ruling in their favor, but President Andrew Jackson ignores it. From 1831 to
1839 the so-called Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole)
are forcibly moved from the Southeast to Indian Territory - Influenza epidemic strikes
tribes of British Columbia. In 1830-33 there are multiple outbreaks of European diseases
in California and Oregon
- 1832 - Black Hawk War in Illinois and Wisconsin waged by Sauk and Fox tribes under Black
Hawk against U.S. forces
- 1833-34 - Missouri River expedition of German explorer Prince Maximilian and Swiss
artist Karl Bodmer.
- 1834 - Fort on the Laramie, by Campbell and Sublette, to become treat outpost on
emigrant trails. - Hudson Bay Company establishes Fort Boise, on the Snake River in what
is now southern Idaho.
- 1835-42 - Second Seminole War: Osceola, leader of resistance, dies in prison in 1838
- 1836 - Washington Irving's Astoria published
- 1837 - Smallpox epidemic devastates the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara of the upper
Missouri. By 1870 four major smallpox epidemics strike Western tribes
- 1839 - American Elkanah Walker builds mission for Spokane Indians north of Spokane House
- 1843 - David Thompson sends a set of refined maps to London - The first of 300,000
American settlers follow Oregon Trail west - Russian Orthodox Church founds first mission
school for Eskimos in Alaska
- 1846 - David Thompson begins compiling a book about his travels - Great Britain and
United States settle long-disputed boundary of Oregon Territory
- 1846-48 - U.S.- Mexican War begun by U.S. annexation of Texas (1845). The Treaty of
Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) cedes the Spanish Southwest, home of many Indian tribes, to the
- 1847 - U.S. Trade and Intercourse Act regulates commerce with Indian tribes and
maintains peace on the frontier - Outbreak of measles among the Cayuse of the Pacific
- 1847-50 - Cayuse War in Oregon
- 1848 - First white whalers reach Alaska
- 1848-49 - Gold discovered in California, starting the Gold Rush and escalating the
pressures on California, Great Basin, and Plains Indians
- 1849 - Alexander Ross's Adventures of the First Settlers on the Columbia River
published in United States - Courthouse Rebellion in Canada launched by the Red River
- 1850-51 - Mariposa War in California pits white miners against the Miwok and the Yokut;
uprising by Yuma and Mariposa in California and Arizona
- 1850-60 - Cholera epidemic sweeps the Great Basin and southern Plains
- 1851 - Gabriel Franchere's Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America
published in Montreal - Treaty of Fort Laramie marks turning point in U.S.-Indian
relations on the northern Plains
- 1853 - Isaac Stevens surveys route for railroad across northern Rockies; accompanied by
John Mullan - Gadsden Purchase transfers Mexican lands in New Mexico, Arizona, and
California to U.S. ownership
- 1853-56 - The United States acquires 174 million acres of Indian lands in a series of 52
treaties, all of which are subsequently broken by whites
- 1854 - U.S. Indian Affairs commissioner calls for end of Indian removal policy
- 1855 - Stevens persuades tribes of Columbia Plateau to sign treaty ceding their lands
and to move to reservations - Flatheads, Kootenais, and Pend Oreilles sign treaty ceding
25,000 square miles of territory - Gold discovered on Pend Oreille River
- 1855-56 - Yakima War in Washington involves the Yakima, Walla Walla, Umatilla, and
- 1855-58 - Third Seminole War in Florida
- 1856 - Bessemer furnace used to make steel in England
- 1857 - David Thompson dies in Montreal
- 1858 - John Mullan begins construction of the "Mullan Road" between Fort
Benton and Walla Walla - Coeur d'Alene War (or Spokan War) waged in Washington by Coeur
d'Alene, Spokan, Palouse, Yakima, and Northern Paiute coalition - Battle of Four Lakes
(August 31-September 1)
- 1861-63 - Apache uprisings in Southwest led by Mangas Coloradas and Cochise
- 1861-65 - U.S. Civil War: Most Indian tribes remain neutral, but the Cherokee and others
of the Five Civilized Tribes are induced to aid the South with promises to return tribal
lands. After the war, the Five Tribes are forced to cede half of Indian Territory as
- 1862 - John Mullan promoted to Captain and completes the "Mullan Road" -
Smallpox sweeps through Fort Victoria area and down the length of the Northwest Coast,
killing an estimated 200,000 Indian people - William Duncan, an Anglican missionary on
Northwest Coast, establishes village of Metlakatla with 50 Tsimshian followers, who adopt
Christian faith and European life-styles. By 1880 more than 1,000 converts live there
- 1862-63 - Santee Sioux uprising in Minnesota under Chief Little Crow ends with the
hanging of 38 Santees on Dec. 26, 1863, the largest mass execution in U.S. history
- 1863-66 - Navajo War in New Mexico and Arizona. In 1864, 8,000 Navajo prisoners are
forced on the Long Walk to Bosque Redondo. War chief Manuelito surrenders in 1866
- 1864 - Indians are declared competent witnesses under a new federal law and allowed to
testify in trials against whites
- 1864-65 - Cheyenne-Arapaho War in Colorado and Kansas. On Nov. 29, 1864, Col. John M.
Chivington's hastily assembled volunteers massacre more than 300 Indians camped at Sand
- 1866 - U.S. Congress appropriates Indian lands as right-of-way for construction of
- 1866-68 - War for the Bozeman Trail in Wyoming and Montana pits Cheyenne, Sioux, and
Arapaho forces led by Chief Red Cloud against the U.S. Army. It will remain the only
full-scale "Indian War" won by the Indians, a victory formalized in the 1868
Fort Laramie Treaty
- 1867 - U.S. purchase of Alaska from Russia adds Eskimo, Aleut, and Athabascan groups to
the U.S. population - Hancock Campaign against the Cheyenne and Arapaho on the Plains -
British North America Act creates the Dominion of Canada, which takes responsibility for
native affairs - U.S. Peace Commission surveys Indian affairs and recommends that the
existing treaty process be abolished; in 1871 Congress formally does so. Between 1778 and
1871 the U.S. Senate approves 372 treaties with Indian tribes
- 1868 - Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution gives blacks the vote but specifically
excludes Indians - U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs estimates that Indian Wars in the
West are costing the government $1 million per Indian killed
- 1868-69 - Southern Plains War involves Cheyenne, Sioux, Arapaho, Kiowa, and Comanche
- 1869 - President Grant's Peace Policy is inaugurated and lasts until 1874. In 1870 Grant
transfers control of Indian agencies from army officers to Christian missionary groups of
various denominations - Brig. Gen. Ely Parker, a Seneca, becomes first Native American to
head Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA); he serves until 1871 - First Riel Rebellion in Canada
Launched by Red River Metis - Transcontinental railroad completed: the Union Pacific and
Central Pacific join up at Promontory Point, Utah
- 1869-70 - Smallpox epidemic strikes Canadian Plains tribes, including Blackfeet, Piegan,
- 1871 - Congress ratifies last of 372 treaties made with Indian tribes since 1778; later
accords will not have treaty status, which recognizes tribes as sovereign nations -
General Sheridan issues orders forbidding western Indians to leave reservations without
permission - White hunters in Unites States begin wholesale killing of buffalo
- 1872-73 - Modoc War in California and Oregon. Modoc leader Kintpuash (Captain Jack) is
hanged in 1873
- 1874 - Gold discovered in Black Hills of South Dakota, sacred to the Sioux. Treaties
protecting them ignored by whites
- 1874-75 - Read River War on the southern Plains, involving the Comanche, Kiowa, and
Cheyenne, is led by Quanah Parker, Satanta, and others
- 1876 - Canadian Indian Act gives individual natives the right to seek Canadian
citizenship by renouncing their rights and privileges as Indians
- 1876-77 - Sioux War for the Black Hills waged by Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho forces
under Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. On June 25, 1876, Custer's 7th Cavalry is crushed at
Battle of the Little Bighorn. Sitting Bull and followers seek refuge in Canada; in 1877
Crazy Horse is killed while in custody
- 1877 - Nez Perce War - Blackfoot tribes cedes land to the Dominion of Canada
- 1877-80 - Apache resistance in the Southwest under Victorio
- 1878 - Fort Coeur d'Alene, Later Fort Sherman established - The Bannock War in Idaho and
Oregon involves the Bannock, Northern Paiute, and Cayuse - Congress votes funds for Indian
police and in 1883 empowers tribal units to administer justice in all but major crimes. In
1885, federal courts are given jurisdiction over Indian cases involving major crimes on
- 1878-79 - Flight of Northern Cheyenne under Dull Knife from Oklahoma to homeland in
- 1879 - The Sheepeater Troubles - Carlisle Indian School founded in Pennsylvania, with
the goal of assimilating Indians into white culture - In ruling on lawsuit filed by Ponca
chief Standing Bear, U.S. federal court in Nebraska upholds right of Indians to sue
- 1880 - Camp Spokane, later Fort Spokane, established at the mouth of Spokane River on
the Columbia River
- 1881 - Sitting Bull and 187 followers surrender to U.S. officials at Fort Buford, North
Dakota - John Slocum, a Coast Salish laborer and Catholic convert, begins to preach a
gospel of clean living and spiritual renewal. So is born Tschadam, the Indian Shaker
- 1881-86 - Apache resistance continues under Geronimo in the Southwest until Geronimo's
surrender in 1886, which marks the end of the Indian Wars
- 1884 - Canadian Parliament passes the Indian Advancement Act, encouraging democratic
elections of chiefs. Mohawks at St. Regis, Ontario, resist the provision, preferring their
traditional method of choosing leaders - Congress acknowledges the rights of Eskimos to
Alaskan territorial lands
- 1885 - The last great herd of buffalo in the United States is exterminated - Canada
outlaws the potlatch ceremony among Northwest Coast tribes. The law, often ignored, is
repealed in 1951 - Second Riel Rebellion is launched in Metis along the Saskatchewan River
- 1886 - Mohawk men of the Caughnawaga Reserve in Quebec are trained to help build a
bridge across the St. Lawrence River. so begins a tradition of high steel construction
work among the Iroguois
- 1887 - Congress passes the General Allotment Act (the Dawes Act), which ends communal
ownership of reservation lands, distributing 160-acre "allotments" to individual
Indians and disposing of the surplus. Tribes lose millions of acres
- 1889 - Two million acres of Indian Territory (later Oklahoma) are bought from Indians
for distribution to white settlers; the first Land Run quickly follows
- 1890 - Ghost Dance movement led by the Paiute prophet Wovoka gains influence among
Plains Indians. On Dec. 15, 1890, Sitting Bull is killed at Pine Ridge, South Dakota,
increasing tensions there. On Dec. 28, U.S. troops massacre more than 200 Sioux preparing
for a Ghost Dance at Wounded Knee
- 1890-1910 - U.S. Indian population reaches low point: less than 250,000
- 1891 - Congress authorizes the leasing by whites of allotted Indian lands
- 1896-98 - Klondike Gold Rush to the Yukon Territory and Alaska
- 1898 - Curtis Act seeks to extend allotment policy to "Five Civilized Tribes"
by dissolving tribal governments, requiring abolished Indian nations to submit to
allotment, and instituting civil government in Indian Territory
- 1899 - Fort Spokane becomes a school for Indian children
- 1901 - Snake uprising in Oklahoma Territory; Creek Indians under Chitto Harjo resist
- 1902 - Entire Eskimo population of Southampton Island in Hudson Bay is wiped out by
typhus - U.S. government offers first oil and gas leases on Indian Lands in Oklahoma -
Reclamation Act encourages settlements of the West by whites through subsidies for water
- 1903-1906 - Roald Amundsen becomes the first to navigate the Northwest Passage, and in
1911 first to reach the South Pole, this Norwegian explorer also sailed the Northwest
Passage from Norway to Alaska and crossed the North Pole by dirigible.
- 1906 - Federal Government seizes 50,000 acres of wilderness land, including Blue Lake in
New Mexico, sacred to Taos Pueblo Indians, as part of a national park
- 1907 - Seventy high-steel works of the Iroquois Caughnawaga Band killed while working on
the Quebec Bridge
- 1908 - Supreme Court defines rights of the federal government to reserve water for the
use of Indian tribes
- 1909 - Captain John Mullan dies December 28 - Theodore Roosevelt, two days before
leaving the presidency, issues eight executive orders transferring 2.5 million acres of
timbered Indian reservation lands to national forests
- 1910 - Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) starts first regular Indian medical service -
Federal government forbids the Sun Dance among the Plains Indians, giving the use of
self-torture as the reason
- 1911 - Society of American Indians, committed to Pan-Indianism and citizenship for
Indians, is founded
- 1912 - Anti-allotment Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws from the Four Mothers
Society go to Washington to argue their case before Congress - Jim Thorpe, Sauk and Fox
athlete of the Carlisle School, wins pentathlon and decathlon at Stockholm Olympic Games.
In 1913 he is stripped of medals because he previously played semiprofessional baseball;
they are reinstated in 1984
- 1913 - Federal government issues Indian Head nickel with composite portrait of three
Indian chiefs--Cheyenne, Seneca, and Sioux--on one side and a buffalo on the reverse side
- 1914 - Fort Spokane becomes an Indian hospital and tuberculosis sanatorium
- 1915 - Congress authorizes Bureau of Indian Affairs to buy land for landless natives in
- 1916 - Thompson's Narrative of Travels in Western North America, 1784-1812
published by Champlain Society in Toronto
- 1917 - Papago (Tohono O'odham) Indian Reservation in Arizona is the last to be
established by executive order
- 1918 - Native American Church, with rites that include the scramental use of peyote, is
incorporated in Oklahoma by members of the Kiowa, Comanche, Cheyenne, Apache, Ponca, and
- 1928 - Charles Curtis, a Kansa Indian and U.S. senator, is elected vice-president under
- 1934 - U.S. Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) reverses U.S. policy of allotment, providing
for tribal self-government and landholding and launching an Indian credit program. In 1936
Congress extends provisions of the IRA to Alaska natives
- 1939 - The Seneca of Tonawanda, New York, issue a Declaration of Independence from the
state of New York
- 1953 - Congress repeals special Indian alcohol prohibition laws
- 1964 - U.S. Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination for reasons of color, race,
religion, or national origin
- 1965 - Voting Rights Act ensures equal voting rights
- 1969 - Red Power activists occupy Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay to call attention
to the plight of contemporary Indians. The occupation lasts until 1971.
- 1972 - White vigilantes beat Raymond Yellow Thunder to death in Gorden, Neb. A ruling of
death by suicide causes protests by more than 1,000 Sioux from Pine Ridge Reservation.
Officials, forced to perform an autopsy, change their finding to manslaughter; two of the
killers are subsequently tried and convicted - Yakima tribe is returned 21,000 acres in
the state of Washington
- 1973 - Members of AIM and about 200 armed Oglala Sioux occupy site of the Wounded Knee
Massacre on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota for 71 days. A siege results, with
outbreaks of gunfire and the killing of two Indians
- 1974 - In Minnesota, the first trial steming from the occupation of Wounded Knee takes
place. In 1975 AIM leaders Dennis Banks and Russell Means are convicted on assault and
riot charges. In 1978 Gov. Jerry Brown gives Banks sanctuary in California
- 1975 - Shoot-out on Pine Ridge Reservation between AIM members and FBI agents results in
the death of two agents. Leonard Peltier is later convicted, a verdict that remains
- 1983 - Dennis Banks, the AIM leader, still under indictment in South Dakota for 1973
Wounded Knee occupation, takes refuge on the Onondaga Reservation in New York State. In
1984 Banks surrenders to officials in South Dakota; he is sentenced to three years in
- 1985 - Wilma Mankiller becomes Princpal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, the first woman in
modern times to lead a major tribe
- 1994 - President Clinton invites leaders of all 547 federally recognized American Indian
and Alaska native tribes to the White House, the first-ever meeting of its kind. Tribal
leaders and U.S. officials identify issues for follow-up conferences.