Spain founded the first permanent European settlement in what
is now the United States at Saint Augustine, Florida. However, Native
Americans had lived on the continent for thousands of years.
The first permanent British settlement in America was
established at Jamestown, Virginia.
Great Britain gained control of eastern North America at the
end of the Seven Years’ War, known in America as the French and Indian War.
Boston became a center of growing American discontent with
British rule, and the American Revolution began nearby in 1775.
The Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of
Independence at Philadelphia.
American forces decisively defeated the British at the Siege
of Yorktown. Two years later, in the Treaty of Paris, Great Britain recognized
the independence of the former colonies as the United States of America.
The Constitutional Congress met in Philadelphia and wrote the
Constitution of the United States. All 13 states ratified the Constitution by
The area of the United States nearly doubled in size after
President Thomas Jefferson acquired the territory of Louisiana from France in
a transaction known as the Louisiana Purchase.
The War of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States
helped end British interference in American affairs.
In the Monroe Doctrine, President James Monroe warned
Europeans against interfering in the affairs of any country in the Western
The United States gained large amounts of territory as a
result of winning the Mexican War. The new land, coupled with the acquisition
of the Oregon country in 1846, extended the western border of the United
States to the Pacific Ocean.
Several Southern slave states seceded in January and formed
the Confederate States of America. The American Civil War broke out in April.
The Confederacy surrendered, bringing an end to the Civil War.
Slavery was abolished throughout the United States. President Abraham Lincoln
The United States purchased Alaska from Russia.
The last Native American tribes were defeated by government
forces and pushed onto reservations.
The American Federation of Labor was formed to fight for
workers in an increasingly industrialized country.
The United States won the Spanish-American War and gained
territories in the Caribbean and the Pacific. Hawaii was annexed the same
The United States completed construction of the Panama Canal,
providing a link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
The United States fought in World War I, confirming its status
as a world power.
Women gained the right to vote. The manufacture and sale of
alcohol was banned, ushering in the era of Prohibition.
Wild speculation led to a stock market crash, triggering the
Franklin Roosevelt became president and introduced a series of
economic and social reforms known as the New Deal. Prohibition was repealed.
Japan attacked U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, pulling
the United States into World War II.
The United Nations was established in New York.
The Truman Doctrine was established to help nations resist
Soviet influence. Anticommunist tensions escalated as the Cold War began.
U.S. troops fought in the Korean War.
The United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
narrowly avoided war during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Important civil rights reforms were passed by Congress.
U.S. forces fought in the Vietnam War, which sparked
widespread protests in the United States.
U.S. astronauts became the first people to land on the moon.
In the wake of the Watergate scandal, Richard M. Nixon became
the first U.S. president to resign from office.
The U.S. economy emerged from a recession but was faced with
increasing federal and foreign trade deficits.
U.S. forces led a multinational coalition against Iraq during
the Persian Gulf War.
The Republican Party swept the November elections and won
control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 1954.
Terrorists detonated a bomb outside the Alfred P. Murrah
Federal Building in Oklahoma City, causing more than 170 deaths and largely
destroying the building.