1452
September 30
The first section of the Guttenberg Bible, the first book printed from movable type, was published in Germany. 
1524
April 17
Italian navigator Giovanni Verrazano discovered New York Harbor.

1565
September 8
The first permanent European settlement in what is now the continental United States was founded on the site of the present St. Augustine, Fla.

1630
September 30
John Billington, one of the first pilgrims to land in America was hanged for murder - becoming the first criminal to be executed in the American colonies. 

1679
July 24
New Hampshire became a royal colony of the British crown.

1690
September 25
The first American newspaper, called "Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestic," appeared in Boston.

1718
August 25
The city of New Orleans was founded.

1735
August 4
Freedom of the media was established in the American colonies when John Peter Zenger, publisher of a New York City newspaper, was acquitted of libel charges.

1741
August 20
Danish navigator Vitus Jonas Bering discovered what is now Alaska.

1762
March 17
New York City staged the first parade honoring the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It was led by Irish soldiers serving in the British army

1775
June 14
George Washington was named Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army.

June 14
The Continental Congress established the army as the first U.S. military service.

1776
July 4
The Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming U.S. independence from Britain.

August 10
A committee of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson suggested the United States adopt "E pluribus Unum" -- "Out of many, one" -- as the motto for its Great Seal.

September 9
The second Continental Congress officially changed the new American nation's name from "United Colonies" to "United States."

September 22
The British hanged American Revolutionary War hero and patriot Nathan Hale.  His famous last words were, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."

1777
June 14
The Star and Stripes became the national U.S. flag.

September 19
American soldiers won the first Battle of Saratoga in the Revolutionary War.

September 26
British troops occupied Philadelphia.

October 4
American forces under Gen. George Washington were defeated by the British in a battle at Germantown, Pa.

1779
September 23
The USS Bonhomme Richard, commanded by John Paul Jones, defeated British frigate HMS Serapis in a battle off the coast of Scotland.

1780
August 30
Gen. Benedict Arnold betrayed the United States when he promised secretly to surrender the fort at West Point to the British army.  He later fled to England and died in poverty.

October 2
British spy Maj. John Andre was convicted in connection with Benedict Arnold's treason and was hanged in Tappan, N.Y.

1784
August 14
Grigory Shelikhov, a Russian fur trader, founded the first permanent Russian settlement in Alaska on Kodiak Island.

1785
July 6
The dollar was unanimously chosen as the official currency of the United States.

1788
July 2
It was announced in the U.S. Congress that the new Constitution had been ratified by the required nine states, the ninth being New Hampshire.

1789
September 24
The Judiciary Act of 1789 was passed by Congress and signed by President George Washington, establishing the Supreme Court of the United States as a tribunal made up of six justices who were to serve on the court until death or retirement. The number of justices became nine in 1869.

September 13
Congress authorized the first U.S. national election, to be conducted "the first Wednesday in January next (1789).”

September 25
The first U.S. Congress adopted 12 amendments to the Constitution.  Ten were ratified and became known as "The Bill of Rights”.

September 29
The U.S. War Department organized the United States' first standing army -- 700 troops who would serve for three years.

1790
April 17
American statesman, printer, scientist and writer Benjamin Franklin died in Philadelphia at age 84.

1792
May 17
The New York Stock Exchange was formed.

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1806
September 23
U.S. explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark returned to St. Louis from the first recorded overland journey from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Coast and back.

1807
August 17
The world's first commercial steamboat service was inaugurated by Robert Fulton.

September 1
Aaron Burr, vice president of the United States under Thomas Jefferson, was acquitted of treason charges growing out of an alleged plot to set up an independent empire in the nation's south and west.

1811
October 11
The first steam-powered ferry in the world started its run between New York City and Hoboken, N.J.

1813
October 5
The Shawnee Indian Chief Tecumseh was killed while fighting on the side of the British during the War of 1812.

1814
August 24
The British captured Washington and burned the Capitol building and the White House.

September 13
During the British attack on Fort McHenry, Md., Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics of "The Star-Spangled Banner”.

1816
July 17
The Klondike gold rush began. 
1817
April 15
The first U.S. public school for the deaf, Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons (now the American School for the Deaf), was founded at Hartford, Conn.

1821
August 10
Missouri entered the United States as the 24th state and the first located entirely west of the Mississippi River.

1826
July 4
In one of history's notable coincidences, former U.S. Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died, 50 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence was adopted.

1833
August 5
Chicago was incorporated as a village with a population of about 200.

1845
October 10
The U.S. Naval Academy was formally opened at Fort Severn, Annapolis, Md., with 50 midshipmen in the first class.

1846
September 30
A dentist in Charleston, Mass., extracted a tooth with the aid of an anesthetic -- ether. It was the first time an anesthetic had been used. 

1847
July 24
After 17 months and many miles of travel, Brigham Young led 148 Mormon pioneers into Utah's Valley of the Great Salt Lake.
1850
July 9
U.S. President Zachary Taylor died suddenly of cholera. He was succeeded by Millard Fillmore.

September 9
California became the 31st state.

1854
July 6
The Republican Party was formally established at a meeting in New York City.

1858
August 5
After several unsuccessful attempts, the first telegraph line across the Atlantic Ocean was completed.

1861
April 15
U.S. President Abraham Lincoln sent Congress a message recognizing a state of war with the Southern states and calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers.

August 5
U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the first federal income tax.  A wartime measure, it was rescinded in 1872.

July 21
The first major military engagement of the Civil War occurred at Bull Run Creek, Va.

1863
July 4
Union troops defeated Confederate forces in a battle at Vicksburg, Miss.

1865
April 15 \
U.S. President Abraham Lincoln died of an assassin's bullet. Vice President Andrew Johnson was sworn in as chief executive.

1868
October 11
Thomas Alva Edison filed papers for his first invention: an electrical vote recorder to rapidly tabulate floor votes in the U.S. Congress. Members of Congress rejected it.

1871
October 8
The massive Chicago fire destroyed more than 17,000 buildings, killed more than 300 people and left 90,000 homeless.

Also on this day, a forest fire broke out at Peshtigo, Wis., eventually killing about 1,100 people while burning some 850 square miles. 

1873
July 21
Outlaw Jesse James held up the Rock Island express train at Adair, Iowa, and escaped with $3,000.

1881
July 2
U.S. President James Garfield was shot and seriously wounded by Charles Guiteau, a mentally disturbed office-seeker. Garfield died Sept. 19 and was succeeded by Chester Arthur.

July 20
Five years after U.S. Army Gen. George A. Custer's defeat at the Battle of Little Bighorn, Sioux leader Sitting Bull surrendered to the U.S. Army which promised amnesty for him and his followers.

September 19
U.S. President James Garfield died in Elberon, N.J., of gunshot wounds inflicted by a disgruntled office-seeker.  Vice President Chester Arthur was sworn in as his successor.

1882
September 25
The first major league baseball doubleheader was played between the Providence, R.I., and Worchester, Mass., teams.

1886
October 10
Griswold Lorillard of Tuxedo Park, N.Y., fashioned the first tuxedo for men.

1890
October 4
Mormons in Utah renounced polygamy.

1893
September 16
More than 100,000 people rushed to the Cherokee Strip as a large area of the Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, was opened to homesteaders.

1895
July 4
The poem "America the Beautiful," by Wellesley College Professor Katherine Lee Bates, was published.

1897
August 31
Thomas Edison was awarded a patent for his movie camera, the Kinetograph.

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1900
August 14
Some 2,000 U.S. Marines joined with European forces to capture Beijing, ending the Boxer Rebellion against the Western presence in China.

1903
August 31
A Packard automobile completed a 52-day journey from San Francisco to New York, becoming the first car to cross the nation under its own power. 

1908
October 1
Ford introduced the Model T.

1918
October 8
Sgt. Alvin York of Tennessee became a World War I hero by single-handedly capturing a hill in the Argonne Forest of France, killing 20 enemy soldiers and capturing 132 others.  Sgt. York was a member of the 82nd All American Infantry Division.

1919
June 14
Capt. John Alcock and Lt. Arthur Brown flew a Vickers Vimy bomber 1,900 miles non-stop from St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada, to Clifden, Ireland, for the first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight.

October 8
The U.S. Congress passed the Volstead Act, prohibiting the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages.
 
Also on this day the first U.S. transcontinental air race began with 63 planes competing in the round-trip aerial derby between California and New York. Each way took about three days.

1922
June 14
Warren G. Harding became the first U.S. president to broadcast a message over the radio.  The occasion was the dedication of the Francis Scott Key Memorial in Baltimore.

1925
July 21
The so-called Monkey Trial in Dayton, Tenn., which pitted Clarence Darrow against William Jennings Bryan in one of the great confrontations in legal history, ended with John Thomas Scopes convicted of t
eaching evolution in violation of state law.  He was fined $100.

1929
September 24
Aviator James Doolittle demonstrated the first "blind" takeoff and landing, using only instruments to guide his aircraft.

1932
August 24
Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly non-stop across the United States.

1935
August 14
The U.S. Congress passed the Social Security Act and U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt immediately signed it into law.

1936
September 29
In the presidential race between Franklin D. Roosevelt and Alf Landon, both parties used radio for the first time. 

1938
October 10
The Blue Water Bridge opened.  The Blue Water Bridge is a twin-span bridge that spans the St. Clair River between Port Huron, Michigan and Point Edward, Ontario

1941
September 29
The Babi Yar massacre of 33,771 Jewish men, women, and children began on the outskirts of Kiev in the Nazi-occupied Ukraine.  The Babi Yar massacre is considered to be "the largest single massacre in the history of the Holocaust“.

1942
September 24
As World War II raged, popular bandleader Glenn Miller ended his long-running radio show and announced he was going into the U.S. Army.

1943
July 9
U.S., Canadian and British forces invaded Sicily during World War II.

1945
July 20
The U.S. flag was raised over Berlin as the first U.S. troops moved in to take part in the post-World War II occupation.
1947
July 9
Florence Blanchard, a nurse, was appointed lieutenant colonel in the Army, becoming the first woman to hold a permanent U.S. military rank

1948
July 20
President Truman issued the first peacetime military draft in the United States.

1949
September 22
The U.S. nuclear monopoly ended as the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb.

1950
October 11
The Federal Communications Commission issued to CBS the first license to broadcast color television.

September 23
Congress adopted the Internal Security Act, which provided for the registration of communists. It was ruled later unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

September 26
U.N. troops took the South Korean capital of Seoul from North Korean forces.

October 2
The "Peanuts" comic strip by Charles M. Schulz was published for the first time.

1951
June 14
Univac I, the world's first commercial computer, designed for the U.S. Census Bureau, was unveiled.

1954
August 10
The groundbreaking ceremony for Saint Lawrence Seaway was held at Massena, New York.

September 30
The USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear submarine, was commissioned by the Navy.

1957
September 25
Under escort from the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division, nine black students entered all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Ark.

October 4
The Soviet Union launched the first man-made space satellite, Sputnik-1.

1958
July 6
Alaska became the 49th U.S. state.

August 3
The USS Nautilus traveled under the Arctic ice cap. 

October 11
NASA launched the lunar probe Pioneer 1.

1959
September 24
U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev met at Camp David, Md.

1960
July 9
Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev threatened the United States with rockets if U.S. forces attempted to oust the communist government of Cuba. 

September 26
The first televised presidential debate aired from a Chicago TV studio. It featured presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon.

1965
October 4
Pope Paul VI arrived at Kennedy International Airport in New York on the first visit by a reigning pope to the United States.

1967
October 2
Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first African-American justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

1969
July 20
U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first men to set foot on the moon.

July 21
Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin lifted off from the surface of the moon.

October 2
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas resigned after admitting he had made a financial deal with the Louis Wolfson Foundation.

1974
September 1
The SR-71 Blackbird set the record for shortest flight from New York to London.

1976
July 20
Viking 1 Lander, an unmanned U.S. planetary probe, became the first spacecraft to successfully land on the surface of Mars.

1977
August 10
The United States and Panama reached agreement in principle to transfer the Panama Canal to Panama by the year 2000. 

August 20
The first U.S. Voyager spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., bound for Jupiter and Saturn.

1981
September 25
Sandra Day O'Connor was sworn in as the first woman U.S. Supreme Court justice.

1987
August 24
A U.S. appeals court in Cincinnati ruled public schools could require students to study textbooks not accepted by religious fundamentalists.

1989
July 20
U.S. President George H.W. Bush called for the United States to organize a long-range space program to support an orbiting space station, a moon base and a manned mission to Mars.


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This page was last updated: July 4, 2008
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