The USA was one of the last countries to be discovered, so the key dates in American history don’t actually start until the 15th Century. Since then however, there’s been much packed into the following 600 hundred years, and some of the key dates in American history are also globally significant. Here are the first 7 Key Dates in History every American Should Know:
We should all know that the daddy of all key dates in American history is 1492, the year in which Christopher Columbus landed on what today we know as the Bahamas. However, it wasn’t until 1507 that the term America was applied to what had previously been referred to as the New World. Despite Columbus’s earth shattering discovery, he never had the honor of the continent being named after him. America is derived from Amerigo Vespucci and it is widely thought that it was his sensation causing letters describing his voyages around the north and south continent in the late 1490s/early 1500s that led to the naming.
Although there were many thousands of immigrants, settlers and travelers making their way to the New World after its discovery, one of the most important dates in US history is the landing of the Pilgrims in Massachusetts after sailing over from England on the Mayflower. The significance is that the 100 passengers brought the first form of organized government to America (The Mayflower Compact), and of course the story of the first thanksgiving (in 1621) is known worldwide.
I’ve grouped together a number of the most significant dates in American history in this one heading because they are intrinsically linked. 1773-1787 is essentially the period during which the colonies fought for Independence from Britain.
1773 – The Boston Tea Party
1775-1783 – The War of American Independence
1776 – The Declaration of Independence
1787 – The US Constitution is written
1789 – George Washington elected first President of America
Although the American Civil War only ravaged the country for four years, it actually all began back in 1804 when the northern states declared slavery illegal. The Underground Railway is known to have been active between 1820 and 1860, and other significant pre war events include the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (by Harriet Beecher Stowe) and the raid on Harper’s Ferry by abolitionist John Browne. Interestingly, whilst Unionists were campaigning for slave freedom, the Native Americans were forcibly removed from their homelands in what became known as the Trail of Tears. (1838-1839).
Woohoo, for us ladies, this is one of the key dates in US history, as it is the year the 19th Amendment was added to the American Constitution, giving women the right to vote. The suffragette movement had first started making big noises in 1872 and it took an interminable 48 years to get those stubborn, over bearing men to let women in on the electoral action!
During the 1920s the US economy was booming. Immigrants had been flooding into the country from all over the world, hungry for financial success to build a bright future. Men were building vast commercial empires, the Jazz Age had been glamorized and even the gangsters had a fascinating notoriety about them. That all came to an abrupt halt when late in 1929 the Wall Street Stock Market Crashed. This significant American event heralded the start of the Great Depression and the repercussion was felt around the world as there had been many overseas investors. The American import market was severely curtailed as well.
One of the most infamous events in Japanese history and a highly significant date in American history is 7th December 1941. The Second World War had already been raging across Europe and South East Asia for two years when having allied themselves to Germany, Japan attacked the main US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Although the US armed forces were deployed with the allies across all theaters of WWII, there was very much a two-sided battle raging between America and Japan, which didn’t end until atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.
So there you are – how many of these key dates in American history did you remember?
Next, we’ll be looking at dates from 1946 to the present day (get swotting ladies!)
Top Image Source: soyonan.com