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The History of Maritime Piracy

Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX  76244-0425

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Piratical Dates of Importance

(updated 20 November 2022)

This time line is a work in progress. It incorporates events important to piratical history, but also includes important historical happenings. Although pirates gave allegiance to no nation, they didn't work in a void. What happened on land could and did impact what happened at sea. Dates dealing with piracy appear in black. Dates dealing with Scottish history appear in purple, while maritime dates appear in blue. All other dates appear in green. Dates are divided into centuries first, then by year, and if the exact date is known, by month and day within that year.

Special thanks to Luis for his assistance in researching some of these dates.
Special thanks to those who have caught my errors and let me know.

Ship's WheelMay 22 -- National Maritime DayShip's Wheel

Before 1st Century
1st-3rd Centuries
4th & 5th Centuries
6th & 7th Centuries
8th Century
9th Century
10th Century
11th Century
12th Century
13th Century
14th Century
15th Century
16th Century
17th Century
18th Century

19th Century 20th Century 21st Century

Before the 1st Century

4977 BCE
April 27: According to the calculations of Johannes Kepler, a German mathematician and astronomer, this is the day that the universe is created.
1457 BCE
April 16: Egyptian forces, led by Thutmose III, defeat a coalition of Canaanites, under the command of the King of Kadesh. It is known as the Battle of Megiddo and is the first such fighting of which there is reliable account.
1340 BCE

Lukkans raid Cyprus.

1220 BCE - 1186 BCE

Sea People plague Egypt, Syria, Cyprus, and Crete. Around 1200 they destroy several cities, including Ugarit. They are defeated in 1186 by Ramses III.
1184 BCE
June 11: Troy is sacked and burned during the Trojan War.
781 BCE
June 4: Chinese record a solar eclipse. It is the oldest written record of such an event.
753 BCE
April 21: Founding of Rome
694 BCE
Sennacherib, king of Assyria, attempts to stamp out piracy.
597 BCE
March 16: Babylonians capture Jerusalem.
589 BCE
First recorded incidence of piracy in the South China Sea.
509 BCE
Roman Republic founded.
480 BCE
Sea battle of Salamis – first recorded sea battle in history.
399 BCE
February 15: Athens sentences Socrates to death for corrupting youths and for not being pious.
334 BCE
May 22: Alexander the Great's Macedonian army defeats Darius III of Persia at the Battle of the Granicus.
332 BCE

Alexander the Great conquers Egypt.

331 BCE
Alexander the Great appoints Admiral Amphoterus to hunt pirates.

October 1: Battle of Gaugamela. Alexander the Great defeats Darius III of Persia. It signals the end of the Persian empire.
323 BCE
Alexander the Great dies.
c. 300 BCE
  • Theophrasus, a Greek scientist, uses messages in bottles to study the currents of the Mediterranean.
  • Rhodes develops the triemiola, a three-banked ship that used both sail and oar together, and uses these vessels to hunt pirates.
302 BCE

8,000 pirates join Demetrius in his fight to control a portion of Alexander the Great's empire during the Fourth Diadoch War.

241 BCE
March 10: Romans sink the Carthaginian fleet at the Battle of the Aegates Islands, bringing an end to the 1st Punic War.
229 BCE
Gaius and Lucius Corancanius, official envoys from Rome, request that Queen Teuta restrain her fleet after most honest trade grinds to halt because of piratical attacks.
228 BCE
Queen Teuta surrenders to Romans and agrees to pay annual tribute and relinquish most of her territorial holdings, but she retains the right to sail only two unarmed galleys at one time.
218 BCE
The Second Punic War begins. By the time it ends in 201 BCE, the Roman Republic controls Italy.
202 BCE
February 28: Liu Bang is crowned Emperor Gaozu in China. This begins four centuries of rule by the Han Dynasty.
192 BCE
Rome conquers the Aetolian League, and the pirates relocate to Cilicia.
146 BCE
Rome conquers Greece and Macedonia.
February 5: Rome destroys Carthage, bringing an end to the Third Punic War.
105 BCE
October 1: Germanic tribes defeat the Roman army in the Battle of Arauso.
101 BCE
Rome passes its first anti-piracy law.
86 BCE
Pirate fleet defeats Roman squadron off Brindisi, in Southern Italy. This dirupts communications between Rome and Greece.
c. 75 BCE
Cilician pirates capture Julius Caesar. He remains their prisoner for just over a month until the ransom is paid. Once he gained his freedom, he gathers a punitive force and returns to their island, where he crucifies the pirates.
74 BCE
Marcus Antonius Creticus defeated while attacking Cretan pirates. He soon dies.
72 BCE
Cilician pirates aid Spartacus, who leads a slave revolt in Italy. This alliance inspires Rome to deal with the piracy threat.
69 BCE
Pirates sack the sacred isle of Delos where the roman Empire's main treasury is located.
67 BCE
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, Pompey the Great, granted an imperium to enforce Rome’s anti-piracy law. He eradicates the pirates in 49 days.
48 BCE
August 9: Julius Caesar defeats Pompey at the Battle of Pharsalus during the Roman Civil War (49-45 BCE). Pompey flees to Egypt, where he is subsequently murdered.

September 28: King Ptolemy of Egypt orders the assassination of Pompey the Great after he lands in Egypt.

45 BCE
January 1: First use of the Julian calendar.
44 BCE
Resurgence of piracy in Mediterranean.

March 15: Julius Caesar is assassinated. Brutus Cassius and other Roman senators stab him to death.
36 BCE
Octavian defeats Sextus and crushes the pirates.
31 BCE
September 2: Battle of Actium. Octavian, who later becomes Augustus Caesar, wins this decisive naval battle against Mark Antony.

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1st Century


Jesus is crucified.

March 25: According to Dionysius Exiguus, a sixth-century monk and calendar maker, this is the date of the first Easter.
January 24: Officers of the Praetorian Guard assassinate Caligula. His uncle Claudius succeeds him as emperor.
October 13: Nero becomes emperor of Rome.
February 11: Tiberius Claudius Caesar Britannicus, heir to Roman Empire, mysteriously dies, leaving the way clear for Nero to become emperor.
July 18: Fire spreads through Rome during Nero's reign.
June 8: Jews rebel against Rome. They capture the fortress of Antonia in Jerusalem.
9: Nero, the Roman Emperor, commits suicide.
21: During the Great Jewish Revolt, the Romans capture Jericho.
June 5: Titus and the legions of Rome breach the middle wall of Jerusalem.

August 29: Jerusalem falls to Roman forces, marking the collapse of the Jewish state.
April 16: Masada, a Jewish fortress atop a mesa in Israel, falls to 8,000 Roman soldiers after a siege that lasted several months. Of the 960 Judean rebels, only two women and five children survived. Rather than become slaves, the others committed suicide.
August 24: Mount Vesuvius, which has been dormant for centuries, erupts, burying Pompeii and Herculaneum and killing 15,000. The cities aren't excavated until the mid-18th century.

Sighelm makes a pilgrimage to Indian at the behest of Alfred the Great.
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2nd Century

September 13: Romans begin building Hadrian's Wall in Northern England.
March 28: Praetorian Guards assassinate Emperor Pertinax of Rome. They auction the throne to the highest bidder, Didius Julianus.

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3rd Century

April 8: Roman Emperor Caracalla is assassinated by his Praetorian Guard prefect Marcus Opellius Macrinus, who succeeds him as emperor.

Pirates plague Chinese coast.
December 25: Sextus Julius Africanus identifies this as the birth date of Jesus.

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4th Century

September 3: St. Marinus establishes San Marino, one of the world's smallest nations and the world's oldest republic still in existence today.
February 23: Emperor Diocletian of Rome begins the persecution of Christians and razes the church at Nicomedia.
August 25: Council of Nicaea closes. This first ecumenical council of the Christian church adopts the Nicene Creed, establishing the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.

Constantine moves to Byzantium and founds the Byzantine Empire.
September 13: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is consecrated in Jerusalem.

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5th Century


Large fleets of Chinese pirates attack all ships they encounter during the summer.
January 1: Final competition of gladiators in Rome.
August 24: Alaric I and the Visigoths sack Rome, bringing about the downfall of the Western Roman Empire.
March 25: Founding of Venice

St. Patrick begins to spread Christianity through Ireland.


St. Patrick makes pilgrimage to Cruachan Aigle (Eagle Mountain) in Ireland.
September 20: Flavius Aetius, a Roman general, defeats Attila the Hun at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plavis. This ferocious battle stopped the Huns first advance in Europe.
June 8: Attila the Hun invades Italy.
April 5: St. Patrick returns to Ireland as a missionary.
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6th Century

January 16: King Totila and the Ostrogoths conquer Rome after a long siege.
May 7: The dome of the Hagia Sophia collapses in Constantinople.
August 21: St. Columba sees the Loch Ness monster.
First record of a pirate attack in Chinese waters.

7th Century


June 18: Coronation of Li Yuan as emperor, beginning 300 years of the Tang Dynasty's rule of China.


July 16: Muhammad begins his flight from Mecca to Medina.


June 8: Muhammad, who founded the religion of Islam, dies in Medina.


Carthage falls.
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8th Century


August 29: Copper coins are minted for the first time in Japan.


October 9: Charlemagne and Carloman I, his brother, become Kings of the Franks.


July 31: First recording of the eruption of Mount Fuji in Japan.


Charlemagne conquers most of Italy.
Vikings' first raid on England. Three ships of Norsemen land on the Wessex coast and slay the king's official.
June 8: Vikings raid St. Cuthbert's monastery on Lindisfarne Island in Britain. The monks are slain, the monastery looted and set afire.
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9th Century


Charlemagne organizes coastal defenses north of the Seine estuary against pirates.

December 25:
Charlemagne, king of the Franks, is crowned Holy Roman Emperor. He is the first such monarch.
Vikings slay sixty-eight monks on Iona.
Korean pirates attack Japan.
Korean pirates attack Japan.
Oseberg ship burial in Norway.
Vikings winter in Ireland for the first time.
June 24: Vikings destroy Nantes, France.
Vikings raid Lisbon and Cadiz, but a Muslim army repulses them at Seville.
Vikings sack Hamburg

March 28: Vikings sack Paris.
Fleet of Saracen pirates attack Rome. Unable to penetrate the city's walls, they plundered the many outlying villas and the basilica of St. Peter. On their way home, they encountered a storm and the ships sank.
Vikings winter in England for the first time.
June 18: Rus Vikings attack Constantinople.
Pirates attack boats carrying tax rice and slaying people in west of Japan.
Viking army (referred to in English sources as the Great Heathen Army) invades Britain. The Vikings that take part are Norse, Danes, and Swedes and are commanded by three sons of Ragnar Lodbrok: Halfdan Ragnarsson, Ivar the Boneless, and Ubba. They land on the coast of East Anglia and eventually capture Northumbria and York.
Danes capture York.
North African Muslims capture the Maltese Islands.
c. 875

King Alfred founds English navy and designs new ship to combat Vikings.

May 6: Alfred the Great and his West Saxon Army defeat the Vikings, under the command of Guthrum the Old, at the Battle of Edington.
Vikings attack cities along the Rhine River, including Aix-la-Chapelle, Cologne, and Trier.
November: Viking seige of Paris begins. Nearly a year passes before the siege is lifted in October 886.
Korean pirates attack Japan.
October 6: Formosus becomes the next pope. Nine months after his death in 896, his body is dug up, propped on a throne, and placed on trial. He will be found guilty of the charges against him and his papacy is declared invalid. This and the treatment of his corpse will divide Rome and Pope StephenVI will be imprisoned and strangled to death. Pope Theodore II reinstates Formosus's ordinations and re-inters his body in St. Peter's Basilica. The incident is one of the most bizarre in papal history.
Korean pirates attack Japan.
King Alfred of Wessex in England defeats Danes.
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10th Century

c. 900

Gokstad ship buried.
Vikings expelled from Dublin, Ireland.
July 29: Saracen pirates sack Thessalonica. Their leader is Leo of Tripoli.
August 5: King Edward and Earl Aethelred defeat a Viking army at the Battle of Tettenhall. It is the last major raid by the invaders.
October 1: Mary, Jesus's mother and also known as the Theotokos, appears at the church in Balchernae during the siege of Constantinople. She holds her veil over those who are praying, including St. Andrew of Constantinople.
Viking raiders prey on shipping in the Caspian Sea.
September 4: Athelstan of the West Saxons becomes the first king to rule all of England.
June 23: Founding of Icelandic Althing, the oldest parliament in the world.
First time in Japanese history that pirates band together under a strong leader, Fujiwara Sumitomo.
July 10: Dublin is founded on the river Liffey in Ireland. At the time, it is known as Dubh Linn (black pool).

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11th Century

September 9: King Olaf of Norway, aboard Long Serpent, is defeated in the Battle of Svolder, one of the greatest naval battles of the Viking Era.

October 9: Leif Ericson discovers Vinland.
Aethelred orders the slaying of all Danes in England.


Swein Forkbeard becomes the first Viking king to rule England.


April 23: Battle of Clontarf in Ireland between forces led by High King Brian Boru and Máel Mórda mac Murchada, King of Leinster. The Vikings are defeated and Ireland comes under control of the Irish.

Jurchen pirates attack Tsushima and Iki, as well as several places on mainland Japan.
July 10: Lady Godiva supposedly rides naked through Coventry on a horse. Her purpose is to force her husband, the Earl of Mercia, to lower taxes.

August 14: King Duncan I of Scotland is killed by his first cousin and rival, Macbeth, in battle. Macbeth becomes King of Scots.
March 12: Pope Leo IX escapes captivity and returns home.
August 15: Malcolm Canmore, the eldest son of Duncan I, slays his father's killer, King Macbeth, in battle.
December 28: Edward the Confessor's consecration of Westminster Abbey in London.
King Harold Godwinson assembles largest naval fleet in England to date.

September 28:
William the Conqueror invades England. This becomes known as the Norman Conquest.

October 14: Battle of Hastings in which Harold II is slain and the invader, William the Conqueror, wins. This victory establishes Norman rule in England.

December 25: Crowning of William the Conqueror in Westminster Abbey. The coronation completes the Norman Conquest of England.
June 4: Roquefort cheese is created for the first time in a cave near Roquefort, France.
First Crusade begins.
June 7: The first crusaders reach Jerusalem.

14: Christian forces capture and plunder Jerusalem during the first crusade after a seven-week siege. Many Muslims and Jews are massacred.
16: Crusaders herd Jews into a synagogue and torch the temple.
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12th Century


Hospitalers of St. John of Jerusalem founded. They eventually become the Knights of Malta.
Chief Priest of Kumano commissioned to use “warrior monks” to capture pirates infesting Kii province.
Taira Masamori returns from expedition with many pirate heads.
January 16: The Council of Nablus enact laws governing the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.

November 25: The duke of Normandy, William Aetheling, dies in a shipwreck on his way to England.

April 27: David I becomes King of Scots.
August 30: European leaders outlaw the crossbow, hoping that it will put an end to war forever.
May 24: Malcolm IV becomes King of Scots.
December 4: Adrian IV becomes pope. He is the only Englishman to hold the papal title.
December 29: Four knights murder Archbishop Thomas Becket at the high altar of Canterbury Cathedral.
February 21: Pope Alexander III canonizes Thomas Beckett, Archbishop of Canterbury.

August 9: Construction begins on the Tower of Pisa. It takes 200 years to complete.
July 13: Force loyals to Henry II of England capture William I of Scotland at Alnwick.
May 22: Assassins attempt to kill Saladin near Aleppo.
Minamoto Yoritomo becomes Japan’s first shogun.
Margaritone of Brindisi, a pirate turned privateer, proclaims himself Count of Cephalonia. He seizes control of the Dalmatian Islands and turns them into a base for privateers.
October 2: Saladin captures Jerusalem from the Crusaders.
July 6: Richard the Lionheart is crowned king of England.

October 1: The grandmaster of the Knights Templar, Gerard de Ridefort, is slain during the Siege of Acre.

March 16: Jews residing in York, England are besieged in Clifford's Tower. Those who don't commit suicide are massacred, rather than submit to being baptized.

June 10: Emperor Frederick I, also known as Frederick Barbarossa, of the Holy Roman Empire drowns during an attempt to cross the Saleph River on the Third Crusade to the Holy Land.
June 8: Richard I of England arrives at Acre, Israel to join the siege during the Third Crusade.

August 20: Richard the Lionheart kills 3,000 Muslim prisoners in Acre.

September 7: Saladin's army attacks Richard the Lionheart's at the Battle of Arsüf. which the English king successfully counterattacks.
September 21: Leopold V, Duke of Austria, captures Richard the Lionhearted, King of England.
When Naples falls to the Holy Roman Empire, Margaritone of Brindisi is captured and imprisoned for the remainder of his life.

June 10: A major fire erupts in Chartres Cathedral in France.

The military order known as the Teutonic Knights of Saint Mary's Hospital of Jerusalem is founded.

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13th Century

July 1: China invents the first sunglasses.
Crusaders sack Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade.
Aegean Sea becomes haven for pirates as a result of the sacking of Constantinople.

Eustace the Monk joins a band of pirates and uses the Channel Islands as a haven.


Eustace the Monk raids Boulogne. King Philip of France is forced to pay him protection money.

After allying himself with Prince Louis of France, Eustace the Monk attacks English coastal villages.

July 10: London burns to the ground.

August 25: Under the leadership of 10-year-old Nicolas, the Children's Crusade reaches Genoa.
July 27: King John of England loses Normandy and other French possession after his forces are defeated at the first Battle of Bouvines.
June 15: King John signs the Magna Carta at Runnymede, near Windsor, England.
December 22: Pope Honorius III sanctions the Dominican order.

August 24: Eustace the Monk and his pirates are captured off Sandwich. The English behead him and parade through the streets of Sandwich with his head on a spike.

Japanese pirates attack Korea’s southern coast.

December 25: St. Francis of Assisi creates the first Nativity scene.
Authorities on Kyushu, Japan execute 90 pirates.

July 14: Louis VIII becomes King of France. Six years earlier, he attempted to become King of England at the behest of barons opposed to King John.
November 23: Prince Leszek I, also known as Leszek the White, of Poland is assassinated in Gasawa during an assembly of Polish dukes.

William de Briggeho is executed for piracy, the first recorded execution of a pirate in England.


The Holy Roman Emperor bestows upon the Teutonic Knights of Saint Mary's Hospital of Jerusalem full sovereignity over Baltic lands.

December 6: Mongols destroy Kiev. Prior to the initial occupation 50,000 lived there. When the Mongols finished with their destruction, only 2,000 remained.
  • William Maurice, a pirate, is the first man to be hanged, drawn, and quartered in England.
  • Lübeck and Hamburg form the Hanseatic League, a merchant guild, to oversee maritime commerce and protect against pirates.
April 5: Alexander Nebsky defeats the Teutonic Knights in the Battle of the Ice.
April 13: The Seventh Crusade is defeated in Eygpt. King Louis IX is taken prisoner.
Hanseatic League is formed to protect merchants ships from German pirates.
December 15: Hulagu Khan and his Mongolian forces destroy Alamut, the Hashshashin (Assassins) stronghold in Persia.

Chartres Cathedral in France is dedicated. King Louis XI and his family are present.
May 5: Kublai Khan becomes ruler of the Mongol Empire.
October 2: Battle of Largs between Norwegian invaders and Scotland. Legend about the thistle warning the Scots of the attack lead to it becoming the national flower of Scotland.
May 14:  Battle of Lewes during the Second Barons' War. Simon de Montfort the Younger, Earl of Leicester, defeats King Henry III.
The French draft the Rules of Oleron, the first identifiable code pertaining to maritime practices.
May 10: All Jews in Vienna must wear distinctive garb on orders of the church.

July 26: Pope Clement IV forms the Inquisition in Rome.
Crusaders of the Eighth Crusade capture Tunis.
Khubiliai Khan becomes the first Yuan or Mongol emperor of China.
The crown prince of Korea weds Khuilai Khan’s daughter.
August 19: Edward I becomes king of England.

October 5:
Kublai Khan invades Japan.
Giovanni de lo Cavo seizes Rhodes and becomes the island’s governor. Rhodes becomes a thriving haven for pirates and slavers.
July 29: Japan beheads five emissaries sent by Kublai Khan.
August 14: Kublai Khan launches a second Mongol invasion of Japan. His fleet of 3,500 ships disappear in a typhoon near Japan.
October 3: Dafydd ap Gruffydd, Prince of Gwynedd in Wales, is hanged, drawn, and quartered. He is the first to suffer this fate.
June 26: According to the Lüneburg manuscript, this is the day on which a piper led away 130 children from Hamelin, Germany. They were never seen again.
December 14: Zuiderzee seawall collapses during the St. Lucia's Flood. More than 50,000 die in the Netherlands. This is the fifth largest recorded flood in history.
July 18: Edward I orders all Jews to leave England. The edict remains in place for 350 years.
Crusades end.

10: Nobles in Scotland recognize the authority of England's king, Edward I.
18: Acre, the last Crusader stronghold, falls after 100 years. The stronghold is destroyed by Mamluks, under the command of Sultan al-Ashraf Khalil.
Marco Polo returns from China.

July 5: Scotland and France form the Auld Alliance against England.
April 27: Edward I of England defeats the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar and takes the coronation stone of Scone to Westminster Abbey in London.

June 19: Louis IX of France decrees that all Jews must wear a yellow badge in public. Those who do not will be fined 10 silver livres.
September 11: William Wallace defeats the English at the Battle at Stirling Bridge in Scotland.
July 22: The English army defeats the Scots at the Battle of Falkirk.

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14th Century

c. 1300

Formation of League of the Cinque Ports in which part of the league's goal is to protect the English Channel from pirates.

July 20: During the Wars of Scottish Independence, Stirling Castle falls to Edward I of England.
5: The English capture William Wallace near Glasgow, Scotland and transport him to London to stand trial for treason.
23: William Wallace of Scotland is executed for high treason by Edward I of England.
November 14: Clement V becomes pope, becoming the first to be based in Avignon instead of Rome.
March 25: Robert the Bruce is crowned King of Scots.
Knights of St. John capture the island of Rhodes.
May 11: Fifty-four Knights Templar are burned at the stake in France after being declared heretics.

July 7: The Chancellor of the University of Oxford forbids students from carrying weapons.

June 23-24: Battle of Bannockburn between Robert Bruce of Scotland and Edward II of England. The Bruce wins, gaining Scotland's independence from England and he becomes Robert I, King of Scots.
April 6: Scots sign the Declaration of Arbroath reaffirming their independence.
October 14: Robert the Bruce and his army defeat King Edward of England. Edward must acknowledge Scotland's independence.
May 1: With the signing of the Treaty of Edinburgh, the Wars of Scottish Independence come to an end. England recognizes Scotland as an independent kingdom.
June 24: During the Hundred Years' War, the English fleet destroys the French fleet at the battle of Sluys, off the coast of Flanders. It was the first major conflict between the two sides.
August 26: Battle of Crécy takes place. It is the first time cannons are used in battle, and Edward III's English longbows lead to the defeat of Philip VI's French army.

October 17: Battle of Neville's Cross. Edward III of England captures David II in Calais. The King of Scots spends 11 years in the Tower of London.

Bubonic Plague strikes, 1/3 of Europe's population dies.
January 9: In Basel, Switzerland, 700 Jews died when their houses are set afire with them alive inside.

August 24: 6,000 Jews are blamed for the plague in Mainz and are killed.
The wuko mount six large raids against the Koreans. For the next twenty-five years, they conduct an average of five such raids.
(circa) Ships fitted with rudders instead of steering oars.

August 29: Battle for Winchelsea. The English navy defeats a fleet of 40 ships from Spain.


The wuko attack the Shandong peninsula of China.

April 13: Hail storm in France kills 1,000 English soldiers.
August 30: Battle of Lake Poyang in China. Two rebel leaders, Chen Youliang and Zhu Yuanzhang, fight each other in one of the largest naval battles in history during the Yuan Dynasty.
Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang of China passes a series of maritime prohibitions in an effort to stem piracy. The thinking is that if there is no maritime trade, there will be no piracy. The opposite occurs.
17: Pope Gregory XI returns the Papacy from Avignon, France to Rome, Italy.
The Ming Dynasty begins in China.
April 22: Construction begins on the Bastille fortress in Paris, France.
January 22: Robert II is crowned King of Scots, becoming the first monarch of the House of Stewart.
June 24: Inexplicably, people on the streets of Aachen, Germany experience hallucinations. They also dance (twitch) and jump about uncontrollably until they collapse from exhaustion. The bizarre condition is known as St. John's Dance (also known as The Dance Plague).
Korean cannon destroy a large fleet of wuko at the mouth of Geum river.
July 15: John Ball, leader of the Peasants' Revolt in England is hanged, drawn, and quarterd. King Richard II is present at his execution.
May 9: Portugal and England sign the Treaty of Windsor, which is still in force, will become the oldest diplomatic alliance in the world.
July 1: Sixty ships from France and Genoa set sail to attack Barabary pirates in a Tunisian stronghold during the Barbary or Mahdia Crusade.

October 29: First witchcraft trial held in Paris, France.

Several ships of the Vitalienbrüder, or Victual Brothers, attack Stralsund cog. Rather than surrender the well-equipped and numerous crew fight back and successfully repel boarders. More than 100 pirates were captured and placed into large barrels. Only their heads protruded. These barrels were then stored in the hold until the cog returned to Stralsund, where the pirates were beheaded three hours later.
June 4: A mob, led by Ferrand Martinez, torches the Jewish quarter of Seville, Spain. Those Jews who serve the conflagration are sold into slavery.
Vitalienbrüder, or Victual Brothers, sack Bergen, Norway.
The Hanseatic League declares war on the pirates.
Winter: Maritime trade at a standstill in the Baltic because of the pirates.
November 3: Charles VI expels Jews from France.
Grand Master of the Teutonic Order and his knights invade Gotland and expel the Vitalienbrüder from the island.
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15th Century

c. 1400

Ship design adds second mast to larger ships.


October: Klaus Störtebeker and seventy-one of his men are executed for piracy in Hamburg.
Gödeke Michels and eighty pirates are executed.
July 21: Battle of Shrewsbury becomes the first battle in which English archers fight each other on English soil.
Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimochi sends 20 pirate leaders to China as an act of goodwill. The Ming Emperor demonstrates leniency and returns them to Japan. A stove with a copper steamer basket is made. One pirate got into the basket while his comrades stoked the fire. This was repeated until all the pirates were scalded to death.

July 11:
Zheng He sails from China on the first of seven expeditions for the Ming Dynasty.


June 26: The Council of Pisa deposes popes Gregory XII of Rome and Benedict XIII of Avignon. The council elects Cardinal Peter Philarghi as pope and he becomes Pope Alexander V.

July 15: Battle of Grunwald (also known as the first Battle of Tannenburg) is fought. It is one of medieval Europe's largest battles during the Poland-Lithuanian Teutonic War.
January 16: The Papacy appoints the Medici family as their official banker.
The wuko take gold and 150 people during a raid on Korea.
May 4: John Wycliffe and Jan Hus, both religious reformers, are condemned as heretics at the Council of Constance.

July 6:
John Hus, a Czech religious reformer, is burned at the stake for heresy  in Germany. His criticisms of the Catholic Church predate the Reformation by more than a century.

October 25: Henry V and his English army defeat the French at the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years' War.
November 11: The Great Schism ends with the election of Martin V as pope.

Henry V launches Grace Dieu (1,400 tons), the largest warship in England for the next two centuries.


June 19: Korea's Sejong the Great sends fleet of more than 200 ships and 17,000 soldiers to Tsushima, Japan because of pirates based on the island. The attack initially proves successful with 135 pirates killed or taken captive, 129 ships burned, and around 2,000 houses destroyed. Twenty-one slaves and 131 pirate captives are freed. Four weeks later, Tsushima pirate lord Sō Sadamori ambushes the Koreans, who negotiate a truce and leave on 3 July.

October 28: The Ming dynasty's Yongle Emperor declares Beijin the capital of China.
April 5: After 18 years of detention in England, King James I of Scotland returns home.
August 7: Witch trial proceedings begin in Valais Canton, Switzerland. It is the first organized witch trial.
April 29: Joan of Arc arrives at the siege of Orleans, France.

May 7: Joan of Arc and the French Army break the siege on Orleans.

July 16: Joan of Arc and the French Army enter Rheims, France.

(Circa) The Little Ice Age begins.

May 23: Joan of Arc is captured at Compiegne and sold to the English.


3: Joan of Arc is delivered to Bishop Pierre Cauchon.
9: Investigations begin in Rouen, France, which is occupied by the British, for the trial of Joan of Arc.
February 21: During her trial for heresy, Joan of Arc is interrogated.

May 30:
Joan of Arc is burned at the stake in Rouen, France by the English.
Zheng He sets off on his last voyage. Afterward China favors isolationism.
July 16: In order to stop the spread of the Black Death, kissing is banned in England.
The first African slaves arrive in Portugal.

June 24: King Henry VI of England founds Eton College.
May 29: Ottoman Army captures Constantinople, ending the Byzantine Empire.
February 23: Johannes Gutenberg prints the first Bible using a printing press.

May 22: First battle in the Wars of the Roses, which will last thirty years. Richard of York captures King Henry VI and St. Albans.
July 7: Twenty-five years after she was burned at the stake, Joan of Arc is acquited of heresy at her retrial.
March 1: The Unitas Fratrum is established in Kunvald, on the Bohemian-Moravian border. It becomes the second oldest Protestant denomination and is the forerunner of the Moravian Church.
July 10: Richard of York defeats Henry VI at Northampton during England's Wars of the Roses.
February 17: The House of York and the House of Lancaster again fight at St. Albans. Queen Margaret defeats the Earl of Warwick and frees King Henry VI.

March 29: Edward IV defeats Henry VI in the bloodiest battle of the Wars of the Roses.
June 17: Vlad the Impaler attempts to assassinate Mehmed II.
October 18: Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon wed.
October: Chen Zuyi and two other pirate leaders are executed after being captured by Admiral Zheng He in a battle in which more than 5,000 pirates perished.
May 4: At the Battle of Tewkesbury, the last battle in the Wars of the Roses, the House of York soundly defeats the House of Lancaster. Edward IV is restored to the throne.
February 20: Norway cedes the Orkney and Shetland Islands to Scotland as part of a dowry payment.
The first edition of Ptolemy’s Geography is published.
November 18: William Caxton publishes Dictes and Soyenges of the Philosophers, becoming the first dated book in English to be printed.

Ferdinand and Isabella institute the Inquisition in Spain. It isn't officially abolished until the 19th century.

February 18: George, Duke of Clarence and the king of England's brother, is quietly executed in the Tower of London after his conviction for treason. He is reputed to have been drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine.


April 9: Edward V succeeds his father to the English throne at the age of twelve. He is never crowned king and disappears. It is assumed that he and his younger brother Richard are murdered while imprisoned in the Tower of London.

July 6:
Richard Duke of Gloucester is crowned Richard III of England.

August 22: Richard III of England is slain at the Battle of Bosworth Field, bringing an end to the Wars of the Roses. He is the last English monarch to succumb in battle.

October 30: Henry Tudor is crowned Henry VII of England, founding the Tudor dynasty and ending the Wars of the Roses.
January 15: Bartolomeu Dias, the first known European to sail around the Cape of Good Hope, returns to Portugal.

June 11: King James III of Scotland dies during the Battle of Sauchieburn.

Henry VII and Ferdinand of Aragon sign a treaty that revokes all letters of reprisal and details the steps necessary for either monarch to take prior to the issuance of future letters of marque and reprisal.

May 1: Christopher Columbus appears before Queen Isabel of Spain and proposes to search for a western route to India.

  • Spain expels the Jews from its country.
  • The Moors are expelled from Spain.
January 2: The Emir of Granada, Muhammad XII, surrenders to Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabel I of Castile, thus ending centuries of Muslim rule in the Iberian peninsula.

August 3: Christopher Columbus, leading an expedition in behalf of Spain, sets sail on his first transatlantic voyage. He and his men are aboard the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María.

12: Christopher Columbus reaches San Salvador (Bahamas).
24: 24 Jews are burned at the stake in Mecklenburg, Germany.
December 25: The Santa Maria runs aground and sinks on the north coast of Hispaniola. Columbus sets sail for Spain, while the crew founds a colony.

Christopher Columbus discovers Tortuga.

May 4: Pope Alexander VI divides the New World between Spain and Portugal.

September 24:
With 17 ships, Christopher Columbus sails on his second expedition to the New World.

June 7: Treaty of Tordesillas confirms Pope Alexander VI’s division of the New World between Spain and Portugal.
June 1: Scotch Whisky appears in archival records for the first time when the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland list Friar John Corn as a distiller of the product.

August 22: At the Battle of Bosworth Field, Henry Tudor's army defeats King Richard III's in what is the last battle of the Wars of the Roses. Richard is slain, becoming the last English monarch to die in battle.
January 3: Leonardo da Vinci tests his flying machine, but is unsuccessful.

March 12: Jews expelled from Syria.

  • Perkin Warbeck, a Flemish pretender to the English throne, invades England. He claims to be Edward IV's son.
May 10: Amerigo Vespucci sets sail on his first voyage to the New World.

June 24:
John Cabot lands at Newfoundland, becoming the first European to set foot in North America since the Vikings.

July 8: Vasco da Gama sails from Lisbon, Portugal with four ships bound for India.

November 22: Vasco da Gama of Portugal rounds the Cape of Good Hope on the first voyage from Portugal to India.

  • Vasco da Gama arrives at Calicut, India.
  • Santo Domingo is founded on the southern coast of Hispaniola, and becomes the first fortified Spanish settlement in the Americas.
March 2: Vasco da Gama's fleet visits Mozambique.

June 26: The Chinese invent the toothbrush, which has bristles made from a boar.
September 22: Switzerland becomes an independent state.

November 23: Perkin Warbeck, who claims to be the lost son of Edward IV and a pretender to the English throne, is hanged after a supposed attempt to escape from the Tower of London.

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16th Century


March 9: Pedro Álvares Cabral leaves Lisbon, Portugal with 13 ships. After they arrive in the West Indies, he claims Brazil for Portugal.

July 15: At the wedding of Astoree Baglione and Lavinia Colonna in Perugea, Italy, the Baglione family is massacred.

September 13: Pedro Alvares Cabral arrives in Calicut, India.


First African slaves arrive in Americas.


September 13: Michelangelo begins work on the statue of David.


Aruj (Barbarossa) and Hizir, his brother, capture the papal galley of Julius II.

September 8: Unveiling of Michelangelo's David in Florence's Piazza della Signoria.


The Barbarossa brothers establish a privateering base at Djerba.

January 22: 150 Swiss Guards arrive at the Vatican. They make up the first contingent to guard the Pope and Vatican City.

Spanish settle Puerto Rico.


Spanish settle Jamaica.

21: Henry VIII ascends the English throne.
27: Pope Julius II excommunicates Venice.
11: Henry VIII of England weds his first wife, Katherine of Aragon.
24: Henry VIII is crowned king of England.
Nombre de Dios founded and fortified on the isthmus of Panama.
Portuguese conquer Malacca.

The Royal Navy introduces its first double-decker warships.

November 1: The general public is permitted to view Michelangelo's fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel for the first time.

April 2: Ponce de León arrives in Florida and claims it for Spain.

September 25: Balboa " discovers" the Pacific Ocean, while standing on the Isthmus of Panama. It is the first time that a European sees the Pacific.
January 14: Pope Leo X issues a papal bull against slavery.

May 8: Hernando de Soto discovers the Mississippi River.
Leonardo da Vinci designs a submarine.

  • Aruj “Barbarossa” enters Algiers. The Bey is slain and Aruj claims the throne.
  • Indigo dye is brought from the New World to Europe for the first time.
April 10: First Jewish ghetto is established after Venice requires all Jews to live in the same area.
  • Fernao Peres de Andrade leads Portugal's earliest expedition to South China.
April 13: The Ottoman army occupies Cairo, Egypt.

October 31:
Martin Luther nails his Ninety-five Theses on the cathedral door in Wittenberg, Germany. The manifesto turns a protest about indulgences into the Protestant Reformation.
Aruj “Barbarossa” dies during battle against Spanish in Algiers.
Spanish found Veracruz.

February 18:
Hernán Cortés departs Cuba for the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. He sails with eleven ships and 500 men.

September 20:
Ferdinand Magellan sets sail on his voyage around the world. It is a journey from which he will not return, although one of his ships and some of his men complete the circumnavigation.

November 8: First meeting between Moctezuma II, ruler of the Aztecs, and the Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés takes place in Tenochtitlan, Mexico.

  • Spain invades Tripoli.
  • Turgut Rais joins Kheir ed-Dein's fleet in Algiers.
  • Chocolate from Mexico first appears in Spain.
June 7: The first day of meetings between King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France in Balinghem, France. The occasion becomes known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold.

July 10: Charles V of France and Henry VIII of England sign the Treaty of Calais.

October 21:
Ferdinand Magellan and his fleet of three Spanish ships enter a strait that allows them to sail between the tip of South America and Tierra del Fuego, an island. This allows them to become the first Europeans to sail into the Pacific Ocean. The strait is later named after Magellan.
January 3: Pope Leo X excommunicates Martin Luther because he refuses to recant sections of his 95 Theses.

March 17: Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese navigator, reaches the Philippines.

April 27: Ferdinand Magellan is killed in a skirmish with natives on Mactan Island in the Philippines. Wounded by a poisoned arrow, his comrades left him to die as they retreated.

May 25: Edict of Worms outlaws Martin Luther and his followers.

August 13:
Hernàn Cortés, the Spanish conquistatod, captures the Aztec emperor in Tenochtitlán, bringing an end to the Aztec Empire.

The Order of Saint John is expelled from Rhodes.
September 6: The survivors of Ferdinand Magellan's expedition return to Spain aboard the Vitoria, becoming the first to circumnavigate the globe. Magellan dies during the voyage, so he never completes the journey.
  • The Portuguese lose trading concessions with China because of the Portuguese Ambassador practices piracy.
  • Hizir Barbarossa expels the Christians from Rhodes, and the sultan of the Ottoman Empire names Hizir “Kheir-ed-Din” (Gift of Allah or Goodness of the Faith).
  • The Council of the Indies is established to oversee Spain’s territories in the New World.
May: Jean Fleury (also Florin), a French privateer, and his men capture three Spanish ships loaded with part of Moctezuma's treasure from the New World. This is the first confirmation of the rumors of the vast wealth to be found in Spain’s colonies.

Henry VIII of England petitions the pope to annul his marriage to Katherine of Aragon.
  • Armies of the Ottoman Empire invade Hungary.
  • Francis I signs the Treaty of Madrid, thus renouncing France’s claims to Italy, Burgundy, and Flanders.
  • Spain institutes the flota system to transport treasures from the New World home.
August 29: Suleiman the Magnificent, leading the Ottoman army, conquers the Hungarian Empire at the Battle of Mohác.
  • Bartolomé de Las Casas begins writing History of the Indies.
  • The Spanish capture Jean Fleury after a long sea battle. He is executed.
May 6: Imperial troops from Spain and Germany sack Rome. This brings an end to the Renaissance.
September 28: Hurricane strikes the Spanish fleet, which sinks. Around 380 die.
  • Francisco Pizarro ransoms King Atahualpa for Incan gold.
  • Treaty of Saragossa divides Indian and Pacific Oceans between Spain and Portugal.
September 22: Cardinal Thomas Wolsey is forced out as Lord Chancellor of England.
  • The Order of Saint John arrives in Malta.
  • Kheir ed-din Barbarossa captures Algiers and establishes his base of operations there.
  • Spanish treasure fleet begins trade voyages between New World and Spain.
March 7: The pope denies Henry VIII of England the divorce that he wants to set aside his wife, Katherine of Aragon, to marry Anne Boleyn.
March 8: Henry VIII of England is declared the supreme head of the Church of England.
November 16: Francisco Pizarro routs the Incas and captures  their emperor, Atahulpa, in surprise ambush at Cajamarca in the Peruvian Andes. One year later, he kills Atahualpa after he pays a ransom for his release.
Kheir ed-Din Barbarossa becomes the admiral of the Ottoman navy.

January 25: In a secret ceremony, Henry VIII weds Anne Boleyn.

June 1:
Anny Boleyn is crowned Queen of England.

July 11: Pope Clement VII excommunicates King Henry VIII.

December 4: At the age of three, the boy who will become known as Ivan the Terrible is proclaimed grand prince of Moscow after his father dies. His mother rules in Ivan's name for five years.
The alliance between France and the Ottoman Empire is formed and will last for 25 years.

April 17: Sir Thomas More is imprisoned in the Tower of London.

May 10: Jacques Cartier reaches Newfoundland.

June 9: Jacques Cartier sails into the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River for the first time. Twenty days later he discovers Prince Edward Island.
  • Spain captures Tunis.
  • The Viceroyalty of New Spain is created with headquarters in Mexico City.
  • After a group of pirates, led by a man named Broode, are captured, they are hanged, drawn, and quartered in England.
May 4: Five Carthusian monks form London's Charterhouse are hanged, drawn, and quartered. They refused to acknowledge King Henry VIII as head of the Church of England.

1: Sir Thomas More's trial on charges of treason begins in England.
6: Sir Thomas More is beheaded for refusing to recognize King Henry VIII as head of the Church of England.
October 4: Miles Coverdale's translation of the Bible is printed. It is the first complete Bible in English, but where it is printed is contested. That occurs in either Zurich, Switzerland or Cologne, Germany.
  • Giovanni Dionigi, an Italian fisherman, is captured by Barbary corsairs. He eventually converts to Islam and becomes Uluj Ali.
  • The English Parliament passes the Offenses of the Sea Act, new legislation dealing with piracy that strengthen and clarify existing law.
  • Huguenot corsairs plunder Havana.
January 15: Henry VIII declares that he is the head of the Church of England.

2: Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife, is arrested and escorted to the Tower of London.
15: Anne Boleyn and her brother are accused of adultery and incest.
19: Anne Boleyn is beheaded.
Nombre de Dios is sacked.
  • French corsairs sack Havana.
September 28: Kheir ed-Din Barbarossa destroys thirteen galleys and captures an additional thirty-eight from the Christian Holy League, under the leadership of Andrea Doria, at Prevesa.

December 17: Pope Paul II excommunicates Henry VIII of England.
June 3: Hernando de Soto claims Florida for Spain.
  • Spain forbids ships of other nations from trading with its Caribbean settlements.
  • French corsairs attack San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • Turgut Rais establishes a corsair base at Djerba, from which he launches a major raid on Malta.
10: Thomas Cromwell is arrested in Westminster.
24: Henry VIII orders his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, to leave the English court.
  • A Genoese squadron captures Turgut Rais. For the next three years, the Barbary corsair works as a galley slave until Kheir ed-Din ransoms him.
  • French corsairs loot the pearl fields of Margarita.
  • Havana is attacked and looted for the second time in six years.
May 6: King Henry VIII orders all English churches have an English Bible in them.

August 18: Portuguese ship drifts ashore in Japan.

February 13: Catherine Howard, King Henry VIII's fifth wife, is beheaded after being found guilty of adultery.

September 28: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Spanish explorer, sails into San Diego Bay.

December 8:
Mary Stuart becomes Queen of Scots at the age of 6 days.
The Portuguese introduce firearms to Japan.

July 12: Katherine Parr weds Henry VIII, becoming his sixth wife.
  • The Viceroyalty of Peru is established.
  • French corsairs attack Santa Marta on the coast of Venezuela.
  • Kheir ed-Din Barabarossa pays Genoa the ransom for Turgut Reis.
Kheir ed-Din Barbarossa retires to Istanbul, where he dictates his memoirs.

July 19:
Henry VIII’s greatest warship, the Mary Rose, sinks during the Battle of the Solent. She won't be raised until 1982 and she opens to the public thirty-one years later.
  • Kheir ed-Din “Barbarossa” dies.
  • Barbary corsairs capture an Albanian boy, who becomes Murat Rais.
  • Zhu Wan, a Chinese general, begins naval operations against the wako off the Shejiang coast.
Henry VIII of England dies.
Kheir ed-Din Barbarossa dies.

January 16: Ivan the Terrible is crowned tsar of Russia.

June 21: Fire sweeps through Moscow. Between two and three thousand people die.
Xu Dong executed.
Ming forces, under the leadership of Zhu Wan, destroy the smuggling center on Shangyu.

January 16: Ivan the Terrible (Ivan IV) crowns himself the first tsar of Moscow.

English law extends the death penalty to anyone caught and convicted of aiding and abetting pirates.

June 9: The Church of England adopts the Book of Common Prayer.

August 14: Dragut Reis, at the head of the Ottoman fleet, recaptures Tripoli from the Knights of St. John.
  • Francisco López de Gomara’s General History of the Indies is published.
  • Turgat Rais and his corsairs defeat Admiral Andrea Doria of Italy.

Jambe de Bois (Pegleg), alias François le Clerc, attacks Puerto Rico and Hispaniola.

10: Lady Jane Grey is proclaimed queen of England. She reigns for nine days.
19: Lady Jane Grey's nine-day reign of England, following the death of Edward VI of England, ends when his half-sister, Mary -- later known as Bloody Mary -- becomes queen. She eventually orders Lady Jane Grey's execution in 1554.
August 29: Pizarro orders his men to execute Atahuallpa, the last Inca emperor. He dies by strangulation. His death ends 300 years of Inca civilization.

October 1: Mary I becomes the first queen to rule England in her own right. She will later earn the moniker "Bloody Mary" for her persecution of Protestants during her failed attempt to restore the country to Roman Catholicism.

  • Yuekong, a monk, leads 30 Shaolin temple monks in battle against Japanese pirates. He dies during the fight.
  • François le Clerc, also known as Jambe de Bois or Pegleg, sacks Santiago de Cuba.
  • Phillip II of Spain marries Mary I of England
February 12: Lady Jane Grey, who was Queen of England for nine days, is executed for treason. She is sixteen years old.

April 4: Ignatius of Loyola becomes the first superior-general of the Jesuits.
  • Martin Frobisher is imprisoned in Sao Jorge for piracy.
  • Olaf the Great publishes an account of the female pirate Alfhild in Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus.
July: Jacques de Sores and his fleet of three privateers capture Havanna. They burn the city.
  • Grancois le Clerc, aka Jambe de Bois or Pie de Palo or Pegleg, attacks Havana.
  • Governor Hu Dongxian of Zhejiang convinces wako leader Xu Hai to betray his fellow pirates only to be beheaded by the governor.
  • During one raid in Zhejiang, pirates gather more than 20,000 people.
January 24: An earthquake hits Shensi province in China. 830,000 people die.
March 5: Francisco Fernandes, a Spanish physician, introduces Europe to smoking tobacco.

April: Mary Queen of Scots marries the French Dauphin, Francis.

November 17:
Elizabeth I becomes Queen of England upon the death of her half-sister, Mary I.
Peace declared between France and Spain, but the treaty doesn’t extend to the Caribbean. “West of the prime meridian…violence by either party to the other side shall not be regarded as a contravention of the treaties.”

January 15: Crowning of Elizabeth I as Queen of England in Westminster Abbey.

April: Yu Dayou of Korea is arrested for failing to pursue pirates, even though it was his subordinate who permitted their escape.

September 19: Three Spanish ships sink off the coast of Tampa, Florida during a storm. About 600 people die.

  • Martin Cortés’s The Arte of Navigation is published.
  • Turgut Reis defeats the Spanish squadron near the Lipari Islands.
  • Pirates attack Campeche, surprising the residents who are sleeping.
August 19: Following the death of her husband, Mary Queen of Scots returns from France to rule Scotland.
  • The French Wars of Religion begin. They do not end until 1598.
  • John Hawkins makes his first slave trading expedition to the New World.
1: Catholics massacre more than 1,000 Huguenots in Vassy, France. This marks the start of the French Wars of Religion.
9: Naples forbids kissing in public. Violaters can be punished with death.
French Huguenots settle on land near present-day Jacksonville, Florida.
  • During the siege of Malta, Turgut Reis is killed by shrapnel.
  • Murat Reis commands a corsair galley based in Tunis.
  • Mary, Queen of Scots, weds Lord Henry Darnley.
  • Spain attacks the French colony at St. Augustine, Florida and massacres the colonists. Spain then establishes their own colony there.
September 8: Spaniards establish the first permanent European settlement in what will become the United States at St. Augustine, Florida.
The Dutch rise up against Spain.
  • The Ming Dynasty lifts its prohibition of trading overseas.
  • Theobald O’Malley, also known as Toby of the Ships (Tibbot-ne-Long), born.
  • Mary Queen of Scots marries James, 4th Earl of Bothwell. Three months later he becomes the prime suspect in the death of her previous husband, Lord Darnley.
June 16: Mary, Queen of Scots is imprisoned in Lochleven Castle in Scotland.

July 24: Mary, Queen of Scots is forced to abdicate. Her son, who is one year old, becomes King James VI of Scotland. He is crowned at Stirling Castle.
John Hawkins visits the Spanish Caribbean to trade in slaves.

16: Mary, Queen of Scots, flees to England.
19: Elizabeth I of England arrests her cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots.
23: The Netherlands declares its independence from Spain.
October 5: Mary, Queen of Scots, is tried in England for treason against Queen Elizabeth.
  • Uluj Ali captures a squadron of vessels belonging to the Knights of Malta.
  • Topsail added above mainsail of ship and spritsail hung under bowsprit.
  • Lady Mary Killigrew organizes piracy off the Cornish coast.

January 23: The Earl of Moray, who serves as Scotland's regent, is assassinated. Civil war results.

February 25: Pope Pius V excommunicates Queen Elizabeth for heresy.

The first Manila galleon departs the Philippines for Acapulco.

October 7: Battle of Lepanto in which Papal and Spanish forces crush the Turkish navy.

  • Spanish ambassadors condemn Francis Drake’s attacks as acts of piracy.
  • Dutch sea beggars capture Brill and turn it into a base from which they attack the coastal shipping of Spain.
  • July 28: Francis Drake attacks Nombre de Dios. He is wounded in the attempt.

    August 24:
    Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in Paris. King Charles IX's assassination order results in the massacre of tens of thousands of Huguenots throughout France.
    March: Francis Drake attempts to attack the mule train loaded with silver, but the ambush is detected and the English return to their ships.

    April: Drake makes a second attempt at the mule train and captures it. He is pursued and forced to abandon his plunder, which the Spaniards eventually recover.

    July 3:
    Royal regulations involving the laying out of new towns in the Spanish Main are issued.

    August 7: Drake's fleet returns to Plymouth following his raids to capture Spanish treasure.

    9: At the Battle of Flodden Field, the English defeat King James IV of Scotland.
    10: Execution of German pirate Henzlein and thirty-two of his crew.

    October 11: Dutch rebels defeat the Spanish navy in the Battle of South Seas.
    • The English lay siege to Granauile O’Malley’s Rockfleet Castle.
    • Murat Rais recaptures Tunis from Spain. The bey of Algiers proclaims him “Captain of the Sea.”
    • Lin Feng, commanding more than 30 junks, pillages towns in Phillipines.
    • Murat nominated “Captain of the Sea” by bey of Algiers, but Suleiman the Magnificent doesn’t ratify this appointment until twenty years later.
    November 22: The Juan Fernandez Islands off Chile are discovered.
    Barbary corsairs capture Miguel de Cervantes and his brother, Rodrigo. They spend five years as slaves before being ransomed.
    June 7: Martin Frobisher, one of Elizabeth I's Sea Dogs and a navigator, departs England in search of a Northwest Passage to the Pacific.
    • The English capture Granuaile O’Malley and imprison her in Dublin Castle.
    • Francis Drake begins circumnavigation of the world.
    November: Elizabeth I's council orders that whenever supporters of pirates are fined that those monies be used to compensate victims of piracy.

    Gerardus Mercator publishes his atlas, a word he coined. Subsequent parts appear until 1595, when he dies.
    Murat Reis captures Spanish viceroy of Sicily.

    March: Granuaile imprisoned in Limerick gaol.

    November 7: Granuaile transferred to prison in Dublin Castle, but is later released.

    January 25: Dutch provinces of Holland, Zeeland, Gelderland, Friesland, and Utrecht, along with towns of Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp, and Ypres, form Union of Utrecht. They supported one another and the union maintains ancient rights and privileges, including religion freedom. The signing of the Treaty of Utrecht marks the start of the Dutch Republic.

    March 1: John Drake is the first to spot the Spanish treasure ship Cacafuego (aka Nuestra Señora del la Concepción), which carries a cargo worth about 360,000 pesos. Francis Drake's capture of her treasure equals $72,000,000 today.

    June 17: Francis Drake becomes the first Englishman to land on the coast of California. He claims the land for Elizabeth I and calls it Nova Albion.

    July 23: Francis Drake begins his journey across the Pacific Ocean.

    September 30: Francis Drake, aboard the Golden Hind, lands in Micronesia.

    • English innkeeper, William Bourne writes the first published description of a submarine.
    • The War of the Portuguese Succession opens after Philip of Spain also becomes king of Portugal. France, England, and Portuguese loyalists fight Spain and those in Portugal loyal to Philip. The war ends in 1583.
    September 26: Local fishermen spot Drake’s ship, the Golden Hind, in the Channel as she returns home after sailing around the world after nearly three years at sea. Her cargo hold contains silver, gold, jewels, and cloves valued at about £600,000.
    James Swift, the English Admiralty's marshal, compiles a detailed report on piracy.
    Lady Elizabeth Killigrew gets involved in piracy off the Cornish coast.
    January 16: Laws against Catholicism are passed by the English parliament.

    April 4:
    Elizabeth I knights Francis Drake upon his return to Deptford aboard his ship, Golden Hind.

    November 16: Tsar Ivan the Terrible beats his son, Ivan Ivanovich, with a scepter during an argument. Three days later his heir to the throne dies.

    Lady Killigrew and her servants plunder the Marie de San Sebastien’s cargo.

    October 4: Pope Gregory XIII introduces the Gregorian calendar. All Catholic countries advance ten days, but England refuses to adopt the change. In the end, it will take several centuries before most countries adopt this calendar.

    Balthasar Gerard of France assassinates William of Orange (also known as William the Silent).

    • English government decrees that all prizes must pass through the Admiralty Court in London.
    • The Anglo-Spanish War begins. France, England, Portuguese loyalists battle Spain, Portugal, and the French Catholic League. The war lasts until 1604.
    • On his way home
    December 31: Francis Drake and his men take Santo Domingo on Hispaniola.
    • Sir Richard Bingham, Governor of Connaught, Ireland, captures Granuaile O’Malley.
    • Uluj Ali dies.
    • Murat Rais sacks Lanzarote in the Canary Islands and holds the inhabitants for ransom.

    January 1: Francis Drake raids Santo Domingo.

    March: Drake receives a ransom of 113,000 gold ducats after 248 are torched in Cartagena.

    June 18: Sir Francis Drake visits Raleigh’s colony in Virginia and returns them to England five weeks later.

    July 27: Walter Raleigh brings tobacco from Virginia to England.

    May 27: Francis Drake attacks Saint Augustine, Florida, becoming the first to attack the Spanish colony.

    • Elizabeth I pardons Granuaile and her family.
    • Thomas Cavendish captures a 700-ton Manila galleon.
    February 8: Mary, Queen of Scots, is beheaded at Fothering Castle in England. Her death warrant is signed by her cousin, Elizabeth I.

    April 29: Sir Francis Drake sails into Cadiz, Spain and sinks the Spanish fleet.


    18: Virginia Dare is the first child of Europeans born in North America.
    Governor White sails for England. He is the last to see the colonists of Roanoke alive.
    Mariner’s Mirror, the first English sea atlas, is published.
    May 19: Spain's Invincible Armada sets sail.

    19: Captain Thomas Fleming, wanted for piracy, is the first to spot the Spanish Armada and sails to warn the English fleet.
    : Spain's Armada is sighted off Lizard Point in Cornwall, England. After 8 hours of fighting, the armada is defeated.
    Volume one of Richard Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations appears in print. The two other volumes are published in 1599 and 1600.
    August 1: Friar Jacques Clément stabs King Henry III of France. The monarch succumbs the next day.
    April: Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, dies.

    August 18: Governor John White returns to Roanoke Island (North Carolina) after a three-year absence, but all he finds are the remains of the fort and “Croatoan” and “Cro” etched into two trees. No trace of the colonists is ever found, and Roanoke will eventually become known as “The Lost Colony.”

    September 27: Twelve days after being elect pope, Urban VII dies. His papal reign is the shortest in history.

    Japan’s Separation Edict separates the samurai class from the rest of society.
    Sir Richard Bingham seizes all of Granuaile O’Malley’s ships anchored in Clew Bay.

    May 29: Admiral Yi Sun Shin and the Korean navy repel a Japanese fleet in the Battle of Sacheon. It is the first time that a Korean Turtle ship is used.
    June: Granuaile opens correspondence with Elizabeth I, Queen of England.

    July: Granuaile meets with Queen Elizabeth in private.

    Uluj Ali becomes admiral of the Ottoman Empire’s navy.
    • Sir John Hawkins dies from fever off the coast of Puerto Rico.
    • John Davis invents the backstaff.
    January 28: Sir Francis Drake dies from fever and "the bludie flix" (dysentery). They bury him at sea in a lead-lined coffin off of Nombre de Dios.

    August 20: First ships of the VOC (Dutch East India Company) return from the Far East.
    • The Royal Navy authorizes the use of hammocks aboard its vessels.
    February 5: The new Japanese government sees Christians as a threat to society and kill a group of them.

    14: A fleet of vessels, under the command of Cornelius de Houtmans, becomes the first Dutch ships to visit Java.
    April 13: French Huguenots receive political rights with the signing of the Edit of Nantes, ending the French Wars of Religion.

    August 4: The office of the Hanse in London closes.

    September 22:
    Ben John, playwright and poet, is indicted on charges of manslaughter after a duel.
    • Richard Hakluyt publishes the first authentic map of North America.
    • Copper coins are introduced for the first time.
    Return to timeline menu.

    17th Century


    • Eighty-nine cases of men arrested as pirates are heard in England.
    • Jan Janszoon of Haarlem (Netherlands) begins privateering.
    January 1: Scotland changes the beginning of the year from March 25th to January 1st.
    14: Privateer Olivier van Noort attacks the Spanish galleon San Diego in the Philippines. The battle lasts six hours, before the galleon sinks. The following year, in August, Van Noort would return to the Netherlands, becoming the first Dutchman to sail around the world.
    31: The English East India Company receives a charter from Elizabeth I to be "The Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies."
    January 17: William Parker and his fellow pirates sack Portobello.

    March 17: First St. Patrick's Day parade
    Around this time buccaneers launch first forays against Spain in the Caribbean.
    March 20: The Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC or Dutch East India Company) is founded. Its headquarters are established in Batavia in Java.
    • The Council of the Indies commands Governor Antonio Osorio of Hispaniola to evacuate isolated settlements of Banda del Norte to curb smuggling.
    • James I of England knights Tibbot-ne-Long, Granuaile’s son.
    • Granuaile dies (circa 1603).
    March 24: Elizabeth I of England dies. James VI of Scotland, the son of Mary Queen of Scots, becomes James I of England. Tokugawa Ieysu becomes Shogun of Japan. The Tokugawa Shogunate will rule the country until 1867.

    April 5: James I of England (James VI of Scotland) leaves Edinburgh for London where he will rule both countries.


    • The signing of the Treaty of London ends hostilities between England and Spain.
    • James VI enacts “A Proclamation to represse all Piracies and Depredations upon the Sea,” which revoked all letters of marque, and “A Proclamation for revocation of Mariners from forreine Services.”
    • John Ward uses Sale on the Barbary Coast for his base of operations.
    John Ward arrives in Tunis.

    June 10: Dimitri I, an imposter, is crowned Tsar of Russia.

    November 5:
    Robert Catesby and other Catholic Englishmen attempt to blow up Parliament and kill King James I. One of the conspirators is Guy Fawkes, and the event becomes known as the Gunpowder Plot.

    December: John Davis becomes the first Englishman to be killed by the Japanese after his ship fights with wako.

    • William Shakespeare writes Macbeth.
    • John Ward, an English pirate, arrives in Tunis. He converts to Islam, takes the name Yusuf Reis, and becomes a powerful Barbary corsair.
    January 31: Guy Fawkes, one of the conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot, is executed in London.
    May 13: Colony of Jamestown is founded. It is the first successful English colony in North America. Unbeknownst to the colonists, they have landed during the worst drought in 800 years.
    • Sir Henry Mainwaring purchases a small chaser and becomes a pirate.
    • Simon Danseker ambushes a Spanish grain convoy off the coast of Valencia, capturing the sons of two Viceroys.
    • Sir Thomas Verney shuns his inheritance, leaves England, and turns Barbary corsair.
    July 3: Samuel de Champlain founds the city of Quebec.

    August 24: England's first convoy to India arrives in Surat.
    • England establishes a colony on Bermuda.
    • Peter Easton (also spelled Eaton) arrives in Grace Harbor, Newfoundland with a fleet of five pirate ships.Peter Easton (also spelled Eaton) arrives in Grace Harbor, Newfoundland with a fleet of five pirate ships.
    • A True and Certaine Report of the Beginning, Proceedings, Overthrowes, and now Present Estate of Captaine Ward and Dantseker is published in London. It concerns the renegadoes John Ward and Simon Simonson, aka Danseker.
    • The Dutch VOC establishes an operation at Batavia to trade with Persia, India, China, and Japan.
    • Twelve Years' Truce begins between Dutch and Spain. It lasts until 1621.
    • Traveling under a safe conduct pass, the Barbary Corsair Danseker visits King Henry IV of France.
    • Hugo Grotius, a Dutch jurist, published the Mare Liberum, which pleads for freedom of navigation in all seas and oceans.

    January 8: James I of England announces a general “Proclamation against Pirats.”

    March 25: Henry Hudson, working for the VOC (Dutch East India Company), sets off on a voyage to find a passage to India. He will instead find Hudson Bay in the New World.

    September 22: Philip III issues a royal decree that all Moriscos, Christians of Moorish ancestry, are to be deported from Spain.


    Andrew Barker, a sailor captured by John Ward and held for ransom in Tunis, publishes A True and Certaine Report of the Beginning, Proceedings, Overthrowes, and now present Estate of Captaine Ward.

    12: "Three Blind Mice," a children's rhyme, is published in London.

    December 29: 18 pirates hanged at Execution Dock, Wapping.


    May 14: Henry IV of France is assassinated. Nine-year-old Louis XIII ascends the throne.
    • Peter Eston arrives off the coast of Cork, Ireland and seeks a pardon for his piracies.
    • Simon Danser, a former renegado, visits Algiers, where he is executed.
    • Publication of the King James Bible.
    May 2: First publication of the King James version of the Bible.

    June 22: A mutiny takes place aboard Discovery and Henry Hudson, his son, and seven others are set adrift in the Hudson Bay. They are never seen again.

    November 1: William Shakespeare's The Tempest is reportedly performed for the first time.

    The English East India Company introduces cottons to London.
    February 21: Michael Romanov is elected tsar. He establishes the House of Romanov, which rules Russia for more than 300 years.

    June 29: London's Globe Theatre burns down during a performance of William Shakespeare's Henry VIII. The thatch accidentally catches fire when the firing of a cannon marks the entry of the king onstage. Within the hour, the theatre is destroyed.

    July 21: Michael Romanov is crowned tsar of Russia. He founds the Romanov dynasty.
    James I of England bans privateering.

    April 5: Pochahontas, a Powhatan, marries John Rolfe, a Virginia planter and colonial official.

    June 4: Henry Mainwaring arrives in Newfoundland where he seizes prizes.

    • Sir Francis Verney, who spent two years on Sicilian galleys soon after he turned Turk and became a Barbary corsair, dies.
    • At Louis XIII's behest, former corsair Simon Danseker travels to Tunis to negotiate with Yusuf Dey for the release of French captives.
    • English taverns begin using coin-in-the-slot vending machines for dispensing loose tobacco.
    • Former Barbary Corsair Danseker (Simon Simonson) is beheaded in Tunis.
    • William Cornelius Shouten Van Hoorn names Cape Horn.
    May 3: Civil war in France ends with the signing of the Treaty of Loudun.

    June 9: Sir Henry Mainwaring receives a pardon for his acts of piracy. He later writes a treatise on piracy.

    March 21: Pocahontas dies at Gravesend, England.

    August 23: The world'sfirst one-way streets open in London.
    • Thirty Years’ War begins.
    • Sir Henry Mainwaring presents his Discourse of the Beginnings, Practices, and Suppression of Pirates to King James I.
    • Jan Janszoon captured by Algerine corsairs. He converts to Islam and continues pirating as Murat Reis.
    October 29: Sir Walter Raleigh is beheaded for attacking Spanish settlements during an expedition to search for the fabled El Dorado.


    • The Dutch East India Company founds Batavia on Java.
    • Captain Daniel Elfrith of the Treasurer sails from Jamestown with a letter of marque to plunder Spanish ships in the Caribbean.
    May 18: Hugo Grotius is sentence to life imprisonment in Loevesteing Castle in the Netherlands.
    Suleiman, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, dies.
    Jan Janszoon of Haarlem converts to Islam and assumes the name of Murad.

    May 17: The first merry-go-round appears at a fair in Philippapolis, Turkey.

    August 15: Mayflower and Speedwell set sail from Southampton, England with 102 Pilgrims, but must return to port.

    September 16: The Mayflower departs Plymouth, England for the New World with 102 Pilgrims and 30 crewmen.

    November 21: Forty-one male Pilgrims sign the Mayflower Compact aboard the Mayflower at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

    December 21:
    Puritans arrive in Massachusetts Bay and establish a new colony.

    The Dutch establish a colony on St. Croix.

    March 22: Hugo Grotius, a Dutch jurist, escapes from Loewestein Castle in the Netherlands by hiding in a book chest.

    April 5: The Mayflower sets sail from Plymouth, Massachusetts to return to England.
    June 3:
    The Dutch West India Company receives its charter, granting it a monopoly for trade and establishing colonies in America, the Caribbean, and West Africa.

    September 2
    1: Sir William Alexander receives a royal charter to colonize Nova Scotia from King James I of England.
    • The English settle St. Kitts.
    • John War dies of the plauge.
    • Much of the North Sea freezes.
    March 22: Powhatans massacre European settlers at Jamestown, Virginia. 347 people die.

    September 6:
    The Spanish silver fleet disappears off the Florida Keys. Thousands die.
    • John Ward, also known as Yusuf Reis, dies of plague in Tunis.
    • Sir Henry Mainwaring is elected to Parliament.
    • Dutch colonize the island of Formosa.
    • Sir Henry Mainwaring writes a report on the state of maritime piracy under the Stuart monarchy.
    • Yen Shih-chi, also known as Pedro China, and his pirates set up a base on Taiwan called Beikang (North Port).
    • Pieter Schouten and his Sea Beggars aboard three ships plunder Spanish colonies on the Yucatan.
    March 10: England declares war on Spain.

    May 10: Jacob Willekens and Piet Heyn, admirals of the Dutch Republic, conquer Salvador da Bahia in Brazil.

    August 13: Louis XIII of France appoints Cardinal Richelieu as his Chief Minister.

    September 12: First submarine tested in the Thames.
    Charles I becomes King of England. He also decrees that chaplains must serve aboard all ships of the English navy.
    Accused of murder, Cheng becomes a pirate. His reign lasts for twenty years.
    6: Peter Minuit, a Dutch colonist, purchases Manhattan from Native Americans for good worth sixty guilders.
    30: The Wanggonchang Gunpowder Factory in Beijing, China explodes. Part of the city is destroyed and 20,000 people die.
    November 18: Consecration of Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. It is the second largest building in the Christian world.
    • Tibbot-ne-Long, Granuaile’s son, created first Viscount of Mayo.
    • A Flemish man converts to Islam and becomes Murat Rais the younger. He raids the Atlantic coasts of Portugal, Spain, and France.
    • Murat Reis attacks Reykjavik, Iceland.
    March 3: Piet Heyn sails with 3,300 privateers aboard thirty-six vessels. They capture 22 Portuguese ships in the Bay of Salvador in Brazil.
    • Zheng Zhilong (Nicholas Iquan) surrenders to Ming government in China and receives admiral’s commission.
    March 1: All counties in England are required to pay a ship tax by this date, even if they do not have a seaport. Charles I of England issued the writ in February.

    August 10: Vasa, the crown jewel of the Swedish navy, sinks in Stockholm on her maiden voyage. Thirty people die.

    September 8: Piet Heyn, leading a fleet of Dutch West India Company ships, captures the West Indies treasure fleet inthe Bay of Matanzas, Cuba and Spain defaults on her loans. Only successful capture of entire fleet.
    Captain John Smith publishes The Bad Life, Qualities and Conditions of Pyrats, a treatise on the transition of piracy after James I ascends the English throne.
    March 2: Charles I of England dissolves Parliament. Nine members are imprisoned.
    February 22: Native Americans introduce popcorn to Pilgrims at their thanksgiving meal.

    June 25: Governor Winthrop introduces the fork to American dining.

    December 12:
    The Dutch establish a whaling colony just inside Delaware Bay and call it Zwaanendael (Valley of the Swans).

    • Spain attacks buccaneers on Tortuga.
    • Dixie (also spelled Dixey) Bull becomes the first recorded pirate to attack ships in New England waters.
    March: Zheng Zhilong destroys Hung Pin, also known as Toutsailacq, and his band of pirates.

    17: Mumtay Mahal dies during childbirth. overcome with grief, her husband, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan I, spends more than twenty years building her tomb, the Taj Mahal.
    20: Murat Reis (formerly Jan Janszoon) attacks Baltimore, Ireland. Nearly one hundred residents become Barbary slaves. Only two will eventually return home.
    December 16: Mount Vesuvius erupts, killing more than 3,000 people.
    December: David Pietersz De Vries arrives at Zwaanendael to find the colony destroyed.
    10: Bananas are offered for sale for the first time in London.
    12: Galileo Galilei is accused of heresy.
    June 22: Galileo Galilei is forced to recant that the Earth orbits the Sun by the Vatican. The Vatican does not admit that it was wrong until 31 October 1992.

    October 22: The Chinese Ming navy defeats the Dutch East India Company at the Battle of Liaoluo Bay.

    3: The first tavern opens in Boston, Massachusetts.
    25: Catholic colony of Maryland founded.
    October 20: Charles I disbands new Ship Money tax.
    Pierre le Grands and 28 buccaneers capture a flagship of a Spanish treasure fleet.

    May 23: In a battle at sea, Zheng Zhilong defeats pirate chieftain Jang Lauw and his 600 to 700 followers. This permits Zheng Zhilong to become master of the China seas.

    August 15: First recorded North American hurricane hits the Plymouth Colony.

    October 9: Roger Williams, a religious dissident, is banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He goes on to found Rhode Island.


    Roger Williams founds Providence Plantations in what will become Rhode Island.

    October 28: Harvard University is founded. It will become the oldest institute of higher learning in the United States.

    • Twenty-seven Icelanders return home after enduring a decade of slavery following their capture by Murat Reis when he attacked their homeland.
    • Sovereign of the Seas is launched. She is the largest and most powerful warship in the world, as well as the most expensive to build.
    May 13: Cardinal Richelieu of France invents the table knife. He supposedly had the blade tips rounded to prevent users from using the knives to pick their teeth.
    • Murat Reis dies.
    • After the Shimabara Rebellion, Japan institutes the Sakoku Edict, which closes the country so there is no contact with Catholic Europe.
    February 28: Presbyterians in Scotland sign the National Covenant in Edinburgh.

    March 22: Massachusetts Bay Colony expels Anne Hutchison, a religious dissident.
    • The French Lieutenant General of the Isles appoints Jean le Vasseur as Governor of Tortuga.
    • The English East India Company captures Gilles de Regimont, a French pirate, in the Red Sea.
    • In the nine months preceding January 1640, English losses to the Barbary pirates totaled around 70 ships and in excess of 1,200 sailors. These estimates nearly matched the losses during a nine-year period from 1629 through 1638.
    • Rum is distilled from molasses.
    • Age of Buccaneers begins.
    • Pierre le Grands arrives in Tortuga and uses it to carry out small-scale attacks on Spanish shipping in the Windward Passage. Jean le Vasseur becomes the new governor and begins improving the island's defenses. Within ten years, Tortuga is a bustling haven for the buccaneers.
    August 28: At the Battle of Newburn, Scottish Covenanters defeat Charles I's army.
    • The Dutch seize Malacca from the Portuguese.
    • The Ming emperor appoints Zheng Zhilong (Nicholas Iquan), a pirate and merchant, as Admiral of Coastal Waters. His task is to suppress the pirates.

    May 26: Spain captures Pimienta.

    October 23: Irish Rebellion begins with a Catholic uprising in Ulster.

    • Jean le Vasseur assumes his position as Governor of Tortuga.
    • Act for the Relief of the Captives taken by Turkish Moorish and other Pirates becomes law in England.
    • Dutch defeat Spanish forces on Taiwan, allowing the Dutch to gain control of the island.
    March 12: Abel Tasman becomes the first European to sight New Zealand.

    June 14: Massachusetts passes the first American law making education compulsory.

    August 22:
    First Civil War in England begins when King Charles I raises his standard at Nottingham.

    November 23: Abel Janszoon Tasman, a Dutch explorer, discovers an island that is named for him, Tasmania.
    May 14: Louis XIV, later known as the Sun King, becomes King of France at the age of four.

    March 19: To demonstrate their loyalty to the Chinese emperor, 200 members of the royal family and court commit suicide.
    June 14: The Battle of Naseby. Oliver Cromwell's "New Model Army" defeats the royalists under the command of Prince Rupert.
    • Zheng Zhilong makes a deal with the Manchu rulers in Beijing that gives him an imperial title and other rewards. He is later arrested.
    • Edmund Cason sails home from Algiers with 245 captives whose release he had secured.
    February 28: Trial of Roger Scott for sleeping in church in Massachusetts.

    May 5: Charles I of England surrenders to the Scots.
    Koxinga refuses to subit to the Manchus and establishes a Ming rebel base at Xiamen. He attacks Manchu ships and garrisons.

    January 30: Scottish Presbyterians, who captured King Charles I of England, sell him to the English Parliament for about one million pounds.

    May 26: Alse Young is the first person executed as a witch in the American colonies. She is hanged in Hartford, Connecticut.

    June 4: Charles I of the United Kingdom is taken prisoner during England's Second Civil War.
    • Treaty of Munster gives Dutch commercial trading right in the West Indies, so they officially withdraw from privateering.
    • Thomas Gage publishes A New Survey of the West-India’s.
    • The Taj Mahal is completed in Angra, India.
    January: Spain signs the Treaty of Westphalia with the provinces and towns of the Union of Utrecht, which acknowledges their independence as the United Provinces. It ends the Dutch fight for independence and acknowledges their right to sail to destinations where they have a presence already.

    October 24: The Thirty Years' War ends with the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia.

    November 30: King Charles I is captured by the Parlimentary army.

    6: In a vote taken by the Rump Parliament, Charles I will stand trial for treason.
    Charles I of England is beheaded. The English Civil War comes to an end.
    April 21: Maryland passes the Toleration Act. It guarantees freedom of worship for all Christians, regardless of denomination, but anyone who rejects Jesus's divinity will suffer death.

    1: Tsar Alexis orders all English merchants out of Moscow.

    September 11:
    Oliver Cromwell kills 3,000 royalists during the Massacre of Drogheda, Ireland.
    Koxinga assumes control of his father's trading empire and concentrates on building up its piratical and smuggling operations.
    January 1: Charles Stuart is crowned King of Scots, becoming Charles II. Samuel Pepys begins his diary.

    October 9:
    England passes first Trade and Navigation Act that impacts America.
    • To enforce discipline, the English Parliment passes the Articles of War.
    • First mint in English America established in Boston, Massachusetts.
    • First Anglo-Dutch war begins after a dispute between the Dutch fleet, under Cornelius Tromp, and an English Commonwealth squadron, commanded by R. Blake, occurs in the Straits of Dover in May.
    • The English Parliament passes the first Navigation Act (three others follow). Its purpose is to restrict trade among the colonies in North America and create an English monopoly.
    April 6: The VOC (Dutch East India Company) established Cape Colony, the first European settlement in south Africa.
    Jean le Vasseur is murdered by discontent buccaneers.

    December 16:
    Oliver Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

    • Oliver Cromwell sends fleet with army of 7,000 to Caribbean to capture Hispaniola.
    • The Anglo-Spanish War begins.
    • The English attempt to establish a settlement at St. Augustine's Bay, Madagascar, but a poor harvest and poor relations with the Malagasy cause it to fail.
    • First Anglo-Dutch War ends with the signing of the Treaty of Westminster.
    June 7: Louis XIV's coronation as King of France.
    April 4: The English fleet defeats the Barbary Corsairs at the Battle of Postage Farina, Tunis.

    May 10: English expeditionary force under General Venables and Admiral Penn capture Jamaica from Spanish.
    Tortuga becomes haven for buccaneers.
    Worship becomes mandatory aboard all ships of the English navy.

    Christopher Myngs arrives in Port Royal.

    July 11: Ann Austin and Mary Fisher, members of the Society of Friends, land in Boston. They are the first Quakers to arrive in America and the Puritan government promptly arrests them. They spend five years in jail before being deported back to Barbados.

    September 22:
    A female jury hears the case of Judith Catchpole, who is accused o killing her child, in Maryland. They acquit her.

    • Governor d’Oyley adopts policy that encourages buccaneers to use Port Royal as a base in exchange for protection against the Spanish.
    • The Anglo-Spanish War ends.
    • Zheng Cheng-Gong (Koxinga) leads a pirate fleet up the Yangtze River to attack Nanking.
    • Oliver Cromwell dies.
    Christopher Myngs leads expedition of privateers that attacks Campeche, Coro, Cumana, and Puerto Cabello.
    • Christopher Myngs is arrested on charges of embezzlement and sent back to England.
    8: The English Parliament recognizes Charles II as the rightful King of England. Beginning of the Restoration.
    23: Charles II returns from exile to England.
    September 6: Unable to defend the colony, Petrus Stuyvesant, Governor of New Netherland (New Amsterdam), hands over the Dutch colony to the English.

    October 17: The men who signed Charles I's death warrant are hanged, drawn, and quartered. Another is hanged.
    • Qing emperor executes Zheng Zhilong (Nicholas Iquan).
    • King Philip IV of Spain’s army invades Portugal.
    • Zheng Cheng-Gong (Koxinga) lands on Formosa and lays siege to the Dutch Fort Zeelandia.
    July: The Council of Jamaica grants licenses to more than forty new taverns, grog shops, and punch houses.
    • English pirates sack Santiago de Cuba over a two-week period.
    • Privateer fleet under command of Christopher Myngs of the Royal Navy destroys Santiago de Cuba.
    • (circa) Port Royal becomes a thriving pirate haven.
    • Bartolomeo el Portugues captures a Spanish ship off Cuba and then is captured by the Spanish. He is taken to Campeche, but manages to escape before his execution. After several other failures, he is deemed unlucky and ends his days begging on the streets of Port Royal.
    • Ming dynasty collapses in China.

    February 1: The Dutch surrender Formosa to Zheng Chenggong (Koxinga).

    March 18: Paris opens the first public bus service. The Carosse a Cinqu Sous operates until 1675.

    • The English King's edict to Governor Sir Thomas Modyford of Jamaica forbids buccaneers from further acts of violence against Spain.
    • Navigation Act of 1663 requires that all shipping to and from English colonies must pass through England first.
    • Zhou Yu and Li Rong lead pirate uprising in Canton, China.
    May 7: The Theatre Royal opens in Drury Lane, London.
    • Zhou Yu and Li Rong lead pirate uprising in Canton, China.
    • France’s West India Company assumes administrative control of Tortuga.
    • English capture fort of Carolusburg on Gold Coast of West Africa prior to outbreak of Second Anglo-Dutch War. Fort renamed Cape Coast Castle.
    March 24: Roger Williams receives a charter to colonize Rhode Island.

    June 11:
    Sir Thomas Modyford arrives in Jamaica to assume governorship.

    September 8: New Amsterdam becomes New York, following the Dutch surrender to the English.

    October 28:
    The Maritime Regiment of Foot is founded. It later becomes the Royal Marines.

    Second Anglo-Dutch War begins.
    June 7: The Great Plague breaks out in London. Red crosses appear on houses where there are victims of the bubonic plague, and the residences are locked for forty days or until those inside die. Nearly 70,000 people will succumb in London alone. Spreads to other parts of the country the following year.
    • L’Olonnais captures Maracaibo.
    • Alexandre Exquemelin arrives in the Caribbean as an indentured servant.
    • Roche Braziliano captures a Spanish prize off Vera Cruz
    • London Gazette begins publication. It remains in print today.
    • Edward Mansvelt, aka Mansfield, elected “admiral” by his men.
    • France and Denmark declare war on England. Frances does so because of its treaty with Dutch, while the English raid on Bergen precipitates Dannish involvement.
    March 4: Jamaica's Governor Sir Thomas Modyford declares war on Spain and issues letters of marques to privateers.

    May 26: Privateer Captain Edward Mansfield recaptures the island of Pimienta.

    June 1-4 (Old Style 11-14): Four Days Battle, one of the longest, largest, and bloodiest naval engagements in history, takes place during the Second Anglo-Dutch War.


    4: A hurricane strikes the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Saint Christopher. Thousands die.
    A Dutch sharpshooter kills Christopher Myngs, an English naval commander and buccaneer, at the Battle of North Foreland.
    9: Rear Admiral Robert Holmes raids the Dutch island of Trschelling, destroying 150 merchant ships and pillaging the town. This becomes known as "Holmes's Bonfire."

    September 2: Great Fire of London sweeps through 436 acres and destroys more than 13,000 houses as well as St. Paul's Cathedral. After four days of burning, 80% of the city is destroyed. It started at 2 o'clock in the morning in the house of the king's baker on Pudding Lane.

    • Spanish capture Edward Mansfield and take him to Havana and execute him.
    • Roche Braziliano and his men are captured near Campeche, but escape and return to Jamaica.
    • Governor d'Ogeron of Tortuga gives L'Olonnais a letter of marque. In the fall, he sacks Maracaibo and Gibraltar.
    • War breaks out between Spain and France.
    • The Dutch capture HMS Royal Charles, an 86-gun ship named for King Charles, in the Medway during the Second Anglo-Dutch War. They towed it back to Holland.
    • Second Anglo-Dutch War ends.
    May 24: Louis XIV of France invades the Spanish Netherlands.

    June 15: First documented blood transfusion is performed by Dr. Jean-Baptiste Denys when he transfuses a small dose of sheep's blood into a fifteen-year-old boy. The boy survives.

    August 27: A 12-foot tidal wave strikes Jamestown, Virginia.

    • Modyford commissions Henry Morgan as admiral to defend Jamaica against a Spanish invasion.
    • Henry Morgan captures Maracaibo.
    • L'Olonnais captures an empty Honduran treasure galleon. Many of his men desert him, so he and 400 remaining pirates head to the Mosquito Coast, where they are shipwrecked. Eventually the build a boat and sail to the Gulf of Darien, where Dariens slaughter L'Olonnais.
    • Isaac Newton builds the first reflecting telescope.
    • Louis XIV bows to diplomatic pressure and makes peace with Spain with signing of Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.
    March 25: First horse race in America

    May 29: Robert Searles, also known as John Davis, captures St. Augustine.

    July 11-12:
    Henry Morgan raids Porto Bello, nets 240,000 pesos to be shared amongst 500 men. This rain becomes a classic example of how the buccaneers conduct raids.
    • Last meeting of the Hanseatic League.
    • Charles Town, which became the the capital of the Province of Carolina in 1717, is founded.
    January: Henry Morgan’s flagship, Oxford, is destroyed when the ship’s powder magazine explodes.

    February 1: Louis XIV of France places limits on religious freedom.

    March: Henry Morgan attacks Maracaibo and Gibraltar.

    April 9: Council of War of the Indies, Madrid, declares that Jamaica must be retaken.

    May 27: Morgan’s buccaneers return to Port Royal, with the equivalent of $14,000,000 in plunder.

    June 24: Peace between England and Spain proclaimed in streets of Port Royal.

    December: Bartholomew Sharp, William Dampier, and other pirates attack Porto Bello. They garner more than 36,000 pieces of eight.

    The English East India Company is granted the rights to create money, command troops, build fortresses, form alliances, and exercise civil and criminal jurisdiction over its areas by King Charles II. This creates conflict between the Company and the Mughal Empire.

    January 3: Portuguese Manoel Rivero Pardal receives privateering commission from Governor of Cartagena. He
    attacks the Cayman Islands and captures an English privateer.

    July: England and Spain sign Treaty of Madrid. Spanish no longer object to English colonies in the Caribbean, especially Jamaica, which the English have occupied since 1655. The treaty also forbids all raiding and expunges and buries all hostilities  between Spain and England.

    October: Royal orders arrive in Cartagena authorizing the issuance of privateers against the English.

    December 27: Henry Morgan arrives on the east side of the isthmus of Panama with 1,200 men. Their intent is to cross the isthmus and attack the Spanish city of Panama.

    • Mary Carleton, the most famous of Port Royal’s prostitutes, arrives in Jamaica.
    • Treaty of Madrid, declaring peace between Spain and England, is published in Jamaica.
    • Sir Thomas Lynch, Governor of Jamaica, threatens legal action against buccaneers who continue to attack Spanish colonies and ships.
  • 15: Sir Thomas Lynch receives commission as Lieutenant-Governor of Jamaica.
  • 18: Henry Morgan sacks Panama.
  • February 24: Morgan and the privateers leave Panama after four-week occupation.
    14: Cossacks capture Stenka Razin.
    29: King Louis XIV of France invades the Netherlands, uniting the Dutch, England, Spain, and Germany against him. Charles II of England had declared war on the Dutch Republic on 18 March, while Louis XIV did so on 6 April.
    July 1: Sir Thomas Lynch arrives in Jamaica.

    August: Sir Thomas Lynch arrests Governor Modyford and sends him to England.

    March: Third Anglo-Dutch War begins. Louis XIV of France also declares war on the United Provinces.

    April 4: Henry Morgan is arrested in Jamaica and sent to London to answer charges of piracy.
    • Massachusetts enacts severe law against piracy.
    January 1: Regular delivery of mail begins between New York and Boston.

    20: The first recorded auction of wine occurs in London, England.
    21: Michiel A. de Ruyter becomes Lieutenant-Admiral-General of the Dutch fleet.
    May 17: Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet, a fur trader, begin their exploration of the Mississippi River.
    • Captain George Cusack imprisoned in Marshalsea prison prior to his trial on charges of piracy.
    • Tortuga no longer a main pirate port.
    March 5: Third Anglo-Dutch War ends with the ratifying of the Treaty of Westminster.
    Henry Morgan returns to Jamaica with knighthood and commission as Lieutenant-Governor.


    22: Charles II establishes the Royal Greenwich Observatory in England.
    King Philip's War in North America begins when Native Peoples massacre colonists at Swansea, Plymouth colony.


    The Duke of York, who eventually succeeds his brother Charles II as King of England, openly converts to Catholicism.

    April 22: Dutch Admiral Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter dies from wounds sustained during the Battle of Etna against the French. His state funeral takes place on March 18 the following year.

    November 30: Roman Catholics are forbidden to serve in England's Parliament.

    • Act of Privateers makes it a capital crime for Englishmen to serve under foreign princes. Also offered pardons to those who surrendered within a year.
    • John Coxon and others plunder Santa Marta and kidnap the city's high-ranking clergymen.
    September 21: John and Nicolaas van der Heyden receive a patent for the fire extinguisher.
    • Coxton and La Sonda attack Portobello.
    • Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin’s De Americaensche Zee-Rovers is published in Amsterdam.
    May 11: The French fleet, under the command of Admiral Jacques d'Estrées, runs aground on at Curaçao.

    June: Michel de Grammont, “Le Chevalier,” captures San Carlos fortification guarding the entrance of the Lake of Maracaibo.

    August 3: Robert LaSalle and his men build the first ship in America and call her Griffin.

    September: Michel de Grammont, “Le Chevalier,” captures Trujillo.
    April: William Dampier arrives in Port Royal, Jamaica. he eventually joins a group of buccaneers under the leadership of Bartholomew Sharp.

    June 22: The Duke of Monmouth defeats Scottish Covenanters at Bothwell Bridge.

    July 12: Charles II of England ratifies the Habeas Corpus Act, which allows prisoners the right to be examined by a court.

    December: Buccaneers – including William Dampier, Bartholomew Sharp, Basil Ringrose, John Coxon, and Richard Sawkins – attack Porto Bello, netting 36,000 pieces of eight.
    The dodo becomes extinct.

    July 8: First confirmed tornado in America. It kills a servant in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    Jamaica passes an anti-piracy law. Port Royal ceases to be a pirate haven and the authorities execute pirates.

    January 6: First record of a boxing match. The butcher and butler of the Duke of Albemarle square off against each other.

    April 17: William Dampier, Lionel Wafer, and 42 other privateers depart Captain Sharp’s crew and begin their trek across the Isthmus of Darien.

    July: Bartholomew Sharpe captures El Santo Rosario off Cape Pasado, Ecuador and seizes silver and gems, as well as the more precious derrotero, a book of secret Spanish maps of the west coast of South America.

    Winter: 400 French and English buccaneers set up a base on Anclote Key.

    On his return to Barbados, Bartholomew Sharp is arrested for piracy and sent to London for trial, but escapes prosecution because of the Spanish charts he plundered.

    April 9: René-Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle, claims the Mississippi River and surrounding land for France. He names it Louisiana, in honor of the king.

    May 6: King Louis XIV of France moves his court from Paris to Versailles.

    July: Laurens de Graaf captures 30-gun Francesca off Puerto Rico that carries the annual wages for soldiers in Havanna. 100 men share 120,000 pesos.

    October 27: William Penn founds Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    Manchus conquer Taiwan.

    May: Michael de Grammont, Nicholas van Hoorn, and Laurens de Graaf join forces (13 ships and 1,300 men) to attack Vera Cruz. Each pirate's share totals 800 pieces of eight (roughly £21,000 or $28,000 in 2019)

    June 6: The Ashmolean opens in Oxford, England. It is the first university museum in the world and is named for an archaeologist who donated his collection of curiosities to Oxford University. Sir Christopher Wren designed and built the the museum to display the collection.

    September 24: Louis XIV of France expels all Jews from its American lands.


    • Sir Henry Morgan removed from the Council of Jamaica and public service after a dispute with Governor Lynch.
    6: The first Mennonites arrive in America and establish a settlement in Germantown, Pennsylvania
    • Basil Ringrose returns to the West Indies and resumes his career of piracy under Charles Swan.
    • Massachusetts enacts another severe law against piracy.
    • Alexandre Exquemelin's The Buccaneers of America is published in London.
    • Sir Henry Morgan settles libel suit pertaining to the English translation of The Buccaneers of America.
    • France and Spain sign the Treaty of Ratisborn (Regensburg), which ends the issuing of letters of marque at a whim.
    • Louis XIV of France appoints buccaneer Bertrand d'Ogeron Royal Governor of Tortuga and Saint Dominigue.
    • Michel de Grammont and Laurens de Graaf join forces again to attack New Spain
    • James II becomes king of England.
    • Duke of Monmouth is defeated at the Battle of Sedgemoor.
    • Judge Jeffries sentences hundreds of rebels to be hanged or transported as slaves, including Henry Pitman.
    6: De Graaf attacks Vera Cruz and holds town for 3 months, but most of valuables secreted away by Spaniards.

    September: Michel de Grammont, “Le Chevalier,” and Laurens de Graaf join forces and attack Campeche, Mexico.

    October 18: Louis XIV revokes the Edict of Nantes, which cancelled the rights of French Protestants.

    • Basil Ringrose killed in attack on Santiago.
    • William Dampier sails across the Pacific Ocean from coastal Mexico to the East Indies.
    August: Hurricane scatters Michel de Grammont’s fleet; he’s presumed lost at sea.
    • King James I issues a pardon to pirates.
    • Isaac Newton publishes Philosophia Naturalis Principia Mathematica.
    • William Phips' divers locate the wreck of the Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, a ship carrying at least 100 tons of silver, that sank in 1641.
    March 19: While seeking the mouth of the Mississippi River, Robert Cavalier de La Salle is murdered by his men.

    July 5: Isaac Newton's Principia is published. The book outlines his laws of motion and universal gravitation.
    • Robert Searles attacks St. Augustine and frees imprisoned surgeon John Woodward.
    • The War of the League of Augsburg (also known as the War of the Grand Alliance or the Nine Years' War) begins. France and English Jacobites are at war against England, the Dutch Republic, the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, the Duchy of Savoy, Sweden, and Scotland. It lasts until 1697. In the North American colonies, the war is known as King William's War.

    January: King James II issues an edict entitled “A Royal Proclamation for the more effectual reducing and suppressing of Pirates and Privateers in America.”

    June 22: Lionel Wafer, Edward Davis, and John Hinson arrested in Hampton, Virginia. They have with them three chests containing pieces of eight and silver plate.
    August 25:
    Sir Henry Morgan dies. He is given state funeral with a series of 21-gun salutes.

    December 23: James II of England, the last Roman Catholic monarch, flees to France.
    • Combined fleet of French naval vessels and buccaneers attack Cartagena.
    • The War of the Grand Alliance begins.
    • Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb's fleet attacks the English East India Company's factory in Bombay.
    February 13: The English Parliament proclaims William and Mary king and queen of England and they rule the kingdom together until her death in 1694. Mary is the daughter of King James I and VI and a Protestant. William of Orange is her husband.

    March: Henry Every appears in the historical record as a midshipman aboard HMS Rupert.

    April 11: William and Mary are crowned King and Queen of England by the Bishop of London.

    May: William III and Mary II of England declare war on France.

    July 27: Jacobite Highlanders, led by Viscount Dundee, defeat General Mackay's Royalist troops at the Battle of Killiecrankie in Scotland.

    • Lionel Wafer's New Voyage and Description of the Isthmus of Panama is published.
    • Age of buccaneers ends. Golden age of piracy begins.
    • Crew of Goodspeed brought to trial after being charged with piracy and murder. The court finds fourteen guilty and sentences them to hang, but none are after leading citizens counseled the governor to be lenient. Thirteen were freed, and the last, Thomas Pound, while on the scaffold, was given a reprieve and sent to London, where the charges were dropped.
    • The English East India Company's Bombay factory surrenders to Emperor Aurangzeb's fleet after a year of resistance.
    2: Robert Culliford steals the Blessed William from William Kidd and goes on the account.
    3: Massachusetts issues the first paper money in the American colonies.


    1: King William III of England defeats James II, who fled England, at the Battle of the Boyne in James's attempt to regain the throne.
    17: Adam Baldridge arrives at Island of St. Marie in Madagascar. He builds a fort and begins trading with the pirates.

    September: William Dampier returns home to England after absence of 12 years and an unplanned trip around the world.

    October 23: Smoking is banned in Haarlem, Netherlands and the public revolts.

    • Adam Baldridge builds his mansion on Ile Sainte Marie and begins trading with the pirates.
    • William Dampier returns to England after an absence of twelve years. His return marks his first circumnavigation of the world.
    • French coin minted depicts achievements of buccaneer's William Dampier's circumnavigation of the globe. One such coin is found among those recovered from the Whydah.
    • Dutch pirates capture a wealthy Indian merchant ship that belongs to a powerful Surat merchant. The governor of Surat assumes the pirates are English and the Emperor forces the English East India Company to reimburse the merchant. Until they do, the English are confined to their factory and are not permitted to trade.
    January: Adam Baldridge arrives on St. Mary’s Island in Madagascar.

    May: William Kidd marries Sarah Bradley Cox Oort in New York City.

    August 16: Yorktown, Virginia founded
    The exiled James II issues privateering commissions against British shipping.

    13: In the midst of winter, Hanoverian troops, who accepted the hospitality of the MacDonalds of Glencoe and are commanded by a Campbell, slaughter about 38 clan members. The reason for doing so is because the Donald (Alexander MacDonald) was late in pledging allegiance to King William III and an example of failing to arrive promptly was made.
    29: Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba, a slave from the West Indies, are the first people accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts.
    7: Earthquake, followed by a tidal wave, strikes Jamaica and part of Port Royal, Jamaica slides into the sea. More than 2,000 people die.
    13: The first victim of the Salem witch trials is hanged. Her name is Bridget Bishop after being found guilty of "certaine Detestable Arts called Witchcraft and Sorceries." Trials continue through September, and a total of nineteen are convicted and hanged for witchcraft.
    24: Founding of Kingston, Jamaica

    July: In reaction to James’ privateering commissions, the Privy Council proposes to treat captured rebel seamen as criminals.

    August: Benjamin Fletcher becomes Governor of New York, and is later names Governor of Pennsylvania as well.

    September: An Act for the Restraining and Punishing of Privateers and Pirates is passed.

    22: Eight people, convicted of witchcraft, are hanged in Salem, Massachusetts. They are the last "witches" to be executed in the United States (American colonies at the time).
    • Nicholas Trott becomes Governor of the Bahamas.
    • King William III opts to break with tradition and decides to try crews of rebel men-of-war not as prisoners of war, but as pirates and traitors.
    January 11: Eruption of Mount Etna in Sicily. Around 60,000 people die.

    February 8: After years of wrangling, £300 from Lionel Wafer, John Hinson, and Edward Davis -- along with more than £700 confiscated by the monarchy from other pirates -- is used to found the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

    April: Thomas Tew and the Amity arrive in Rhode Island after capturing a ship in the Red Sea that garnered each pirate £1,200.

    Thomas Tew captures a warship laden with treasure, belonging to the Indian Mughal Alamgir I. The pirates' take is estimated exceeds £100,000, which is the amount of gold and silver captured. The plunder also includes gems, ivory, spices, and silk.

    8: New York City authorizes the first police uniforms in the American colonies.

    October 19: Thomas Tew arrives at Madagascar aboard Amity.

    December 23: Thomas Tew departs from Island of St. Marie for America.

    William Kidd and Robert Livingston put forth a privateering venture to the Earl of Bellomont. The purpose is to hunt pirates and acquire their plunder.
    February: The English try twelve privateers, sailing under commissions of the exiled King James II, for piracy and treason.

    April: Thomas Tew returns to Newport, Rhode Island.

    May 7: Henry Every leads a mutiny, seizes the Charles II, and becomes a pirate.

    June-July: Major French invasion of Jamaica repulsed.

    November: Governor Benjamin Fletcher of New York sells Thomas Tew a privateer’s commission for £300, and he returns to Madagascar.

    December 28: Queen Mary II dies of smallpox in London at the age of 32. Her death signifies the last Stuart to reign in the UK. Her successor, George I, establishes the House of Hanover.

    • Heyday of Madagascar as a pirate haven. It will continue to be so for four years.
    • Adventure Galley built.
    • René Duguay-Trouin meets King Louis XIV of France after capturing three English East Indiamen.
    • Henry Every and his men capture the Ganj-i-sawai, gaining riches estimated to net them between £200,000 and £600,000. The violence during the attack spurs riots in Surat and representatives of the English East India Company are arrested and the factory is closed.
    January 26: William Kidd granted royal commission to hunt pirates.

    March: Admiral Bernard Jean-Louis de Saint Jean, the Baron of Pointis, arrives at Petit Goâve to assume command of a combined force of French naval personnel and buccaneers to attack Cartagena.


    English attack de Graaf’s base at Port-de-Paix, ransack the town, and take his wife and daughters hostage.

    2: The French navy and Caribbean buccaneers capture Cartagena.
    30: After the French garrison withdraws, the buccaneers pillage Cartagena. Each man received 1,000 pieces of eight.
    • Thomas Tew encounters Henry Every in the Red Sea.
    • Thomas Tew is killed during a battle at sea with the Fateh Mohammed. His men are imprisoned, but Henry Every attacks the ship and rescues them. He then pursues the Ganj-i-sawai, a prize that nets each member of his crew £1,000.
    August 19: The governor of Maryland appoints the colony’s first wreckmaster for Somerset County.

    November: Six members of Henry Every's crew stand trial for piracy and are acquitted, much to the chagrin of the English government and India. At their second trial, the six men are convicted, after which they are hanged.

    September 11: Governor Benjamin Fletcher of New York is recalled to England on charges of tampering with elections and financial misdeeds. Eventually, his associations with men such as Thomas Tew would led to additional charges of collusion with pirates.


    William Kidd receives a letter of marque to attack the French.

    11: Amity arrives in Madagascar after death of Thomas Tew.
    31: England imposes a window tax. Many shopkeepers brick up their windows, rather than pay the tax.

    • Robert Culliford sails from Madagascar to plunder ships in the Indian Ocean.
    • Nicholas Trott replaced as Governor of the Bahamas because of his dealings with pirates.

    • Act for the Prevention of Frauds, also known as the Jamaica Act, passed. Overturns a previous royal statute that insisted that pirates be tried in England. Henceforth vice-admiralty courts were to be established in America to try piracy cases.
    January 26: William Kidd receives a letter of marque to hunt pirates.

    April: Henry Every arrives at New Providence, Bahamas aboard Fancy. While his crew disperses, he disappears.

    July 17: Henry Every and his men are labeled "pirates" by the English.

    August 10: A proclamation for the arrest of Henry Every is issued by the Lords Justices.

    September 6: William Kidd and the Adventure Galley set sail for the Indian Ocean.

    19: Six members of Henry Every's crew are indicted on charges of piracy. One of the witnesses for the defence during the trial was William Dampier. They are exonerated, but later retried on charges of mutiny and theft of the Charles II and found guilty.

    6: The captured members of Every's crew are once again brought into court and charged with piracy.

    26: Edward Forsyth, William Mays, William Bishop, James Lewis, and John Sparks – crewmembers of Henry Every – are hanged at Execution Dock having been convicted of mutiny.
    • William Dampier's A New Voyage Aoround the World is published.
    • Saint Domingue buccaneers raid Cartagena.
    • Under the Treaty of Ryswick, Spain cedes the western third of Hispaniola to France.
    • First references to a black flag recorded in reports of privateering actions.
    January 28: William Kidd, aboard the Adventure Galley, arrives in Madagascar.

    March 10: Tsar Peter the Great of Russia begins his tour of Western Europe.

    May 28: Joseph Dawson, convicted of piracy during the trial of the captured members of Every's crew, receives a pardon.

    30: Gunner William Moore accuses Captain William Kidd of bringing the men aboard Adventure Galley to ruin. Enraged, Kidd strikes Moore in the head with a bucket. Moore succumbs to his wound the next day.
    • William Kidd burns the Adventure Galley at Madagascar. Two months later, he sails for home aboard the Quedagh Merchant.
    • First proposal for radical solution to the problem of the pirates in Madagascar proposed to the Board of Trade by Adam Baldridge, a former pirate who traded with these pirates.
    • Robert Culliford surrenders. He is tried and convicted of piracy, but pardoned.
    4: Fire destroys much of the Palace of Whitehall, the monarchs' main residence, in London.
    30: William Kidd captures the Quedah Merchant. He renames her Adventure Prize
    April 2: Governor Fletcher is called home in disgrace. Richard Coote, First Lord Bellomont, becomes Governor of New York.

    Summer: Natives of St. Mary's and Madagascar riseup against the pirates, kill some of them, and destroy the community.


    2: Thoms Savery patents the first steam engine.
    14: The Darien Scheme begins with the sailing of five ships from Leith Scotland. Aboard are about 1,200 people who plan to set up a colony on the Isthmus of Panama.


    Robert Culliford captures the Great Mohammed, a treasure ship belonging to the Mughal.

    5: Tsar Peter the Great imposes a tax on beards.


    With a skeleton crew (following the mutiny of the rest), William Kidd sets sail for the West Indies aboard the Adventure Prize (formerly Quedagh Merchant).

    2: Scottish settlers establish the ill-fated "Darien Venture" colony in Panama.
    23: The English government declares William Kidd a pirate. The proclamation also makes it clear that he will not be pardoned and that steps should be taken to hunt him down.

    December 8: King William III issues a Proclamation of Clemency, also known as an Act of Grace, which pardons any English pirate who surrenders by July of 1699. Only two pirates are excluded from this blanket pardon: Henry Every and William Kidd.

    • The Piracy Act allows officials in all British ports to seize, prosecute, and execute pirates.
    • Isaac Newton becomes Master of the Royal Mint.
    • William Dampier sets out to explore Australia for the British Admiralty.
    • William Dampier’s Voyages and Descriptions is published.
    • William Mason retires from piracy, having amassed a fortune of more than £30,000.
    • Lewis Guittar, a French pirate in command of La Paix, and his men take seven prizes.
    • After William Kidd's departure from the West Indies to clear his name, the Adventure Galley (formerly the Quedagh Merchant) is burned and sinks off the coast of the Dominican Republic.

    January: William Mace, who had sailed with Thomas Tew, is elected captain of the pirate ship Charming May.


    William Kidd and his remaining men arrive in Anguilla, where he learns that he has been deemed a pirate.

    29: Last day for pirates who had preyed in the Indian Ocean to accept the King's pardon. The two men exempted from this pardon were Henry Every and William Kidd.


    3: William Kidd testifies before the council in Boston about his voyage that resulted in the capture of the Quedagh Merchant.
    6: Captain William Kidd is arrested at the home of Lord Bellomont in Boston.

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    18th Century


    • One pound of tea costs more than two weeks’ wages for labourer.
    • Felipe V, King Louis XIV’s grandson, becomes King of Spain.
    • Judge Samuel Sewall publishes The Selling of Joseph, a Memorial, which is the first pamphlet to condemn slavery in North America
    • Passage of the Act for the Effectual Suppression of Piracy. This law modifies the Offenses of the Sea Act passed during the reign of Henry VIII.
    Navy Captains Littleton and Passenger send over 100 pirates to London from Madagascar and Chesapeake Bay for trial. One of the prisoners is William Kidd.

    27: William Dampier, a former privateer and now an explorer, becomes the first Englishman to visit the Pacific island of New Britain.
    March: William Kidd arrives in London to be tried for piracy. He is imprisoned in Newgate.

    April 27: HMS Shoreham attacks La Paix, a pirate ship trapped in Lynnhaven Inlet under the command of Louis Guittar. During the battle, Shoreham expends 1,671 round shot and 27 barrels of gunpowder. When the barrage ended, forty pirates are dead and 120 become prisoners.

    July 8:
    First recorded reference to Jolly Roger when Emanuel Wynne, a French privateer turned pirate, flew one decorated with skull, crossed bones, and an hourglass.

    October 7: King Carlos II of Spain dies, naming Philippe, Duc d'Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV of France, as successor.

    November 24: Louis XIV of France proclaims that his grandson, Philip, is the Spanish king. The proclamation leads to what is known as the War of the Spanish Succession.
    • Dampier’s ship, HMS Roebuck, founders in storm off Ascension Island.
    • Admiralty Courts established in English colonies. This allows officials to try pirates there, rather than transporting their captives to London for trial.


    Lord Bellomont dies.

    27: William Kidd testifies before Parliament.

    5: Richard Coote, the Earl of Bellomont, succumbs to illness.
    8: William Kidd is tried. When the trial ends the next day, he is deemed guilty of murder and piracy.

    15: The War of the Spanish Succession begins.
    23: Captain William Kidd hangs twice at Execution Dock, London. His body is gibbeted and hung over the River Thames as a warning to other sailors.
    24 The transcript of Kidd's trial is published and sells out by the following day. A second printing occurs on the 26th.
    7: Austria, Holland, and English sign the Treaty of Grand Alliance
    16: Exiled James II dies, and Louis XIV of France acknowledges his son, James Stuart as King of England.
    28: Maryland legalizes divorce.
    • Fire destroys Port Royal.
    • Scheduled mail service between England and the West Indies begins.
    11: The first daily newspaper is published in England. It is the Daily Courant.
    18: King William of England dies. Sister-in-law Anne, the daughter of James II, ascends throne. She becomes the last Stuart monarch to reign.

    May 15: Grand Alliance declares war on France and her allies. The War of the Spanish Succession, also known as Queen Anne’s War, pits England, the Holy Roman Empire, Italy, Germany, Austria, and the Dutch Republic against France and Spain. Often considered the first world war in the modern era, it lasts until 1714 and after peace, it gives rise to a large upsurge in piracy.

    October 22: Spanish treasure fleet captured or sunk in Vigo Bay.
    French and Spanish forces destroy Nassau.

    May 27: Tsar Peter the Great founds Saint Peterburg, Russia. It is Russia's new capital.

    June: Portugal joins the Grand Alliance against the French.

    September 13: Archduke Charles of Austria, the Grand Alliance's claimant to the Spanish throne, is proclaimed King Carlos III.

    November 19: The political prisoner known merely as the man in the iron mask dies in the Bastille.

    December 7: Great Storm hits England. Thousands die and the Royal Navy loses 13 ships and about 1,500 men.

    • Alexander Selkirk is marooned on Juan Fernandez Island.
    • The Boston News-Letter becomes the first newspaper to print names of seamen departing on legitimate sailing ventures and who are later forced to join pirate crews during the voyage. This information is later used as evidence if the seaman is captured. Other colonial newspapers adopt this practice as well.
    • What remains of William Kidd's plunder is condemned by the Admiralty. A portion is set aside to build Greenwich Hospital.
    John Campbell, postmaster of Boston, begins publishing the Boston News-Letter, America's first newspaper. Over the years this newspaper carries many accounts of piracy. Its run lasts until 1776.
    May 24: Lieutenant Governor Thomas Povey issues general warrant for arrest of John Quelch.


    19: Trial against John Quelch for piracy, robbery, and murder opens in Boston.
    30: Quelch and those of his crew convicted hang for piracy. One of the men, Miller, had also been a member of Every's crew when they captured the Gang-i-Sawai.
    July: Thomas Green, commander of the English merchantman Worcester, arrested for piracy in the Indian Ocean. Although there is no solid evidence for the charges, Scotland convicts and executes him.
    August 4: After Spain surrenders, the British take control of Gibraltar during the War of the Spanish Succession.
    • Governor of Massachusetts charges Rhode Island with consorting with pirates.
    • John Quelch tried for piracy in Massachusetts.
    • The British East India Company institutes a convoy system.
    • First signs of pirates establishing their base, "the Pirate Republic," in the Bahamas. The island will be firmly in the hands of pirates within seven years.
    • William Dampier completes his second circumnavigation of the world.
    • Marquis of Carmarthen publishes Reasons for Reducing the Pirates at Madagascar.
    May 1: With the previous ratification of the Act of Union by the Scottish and English Parliaments, the two countries officially become one.
    • The English Prize Act withdraws the required 1/5 share of plunder due the treasury.
    • Accompanying Woodes Rogers, William Dampier sets off on his third circumnavigation of the world. This voyage lasts until 1711.
    August 1: Woodes Rogers’ expedition to capture a Manila galleon departs from Britain.
    The Life and Adnvetures of Captain John  Avery, a fictional account of Henry Every's exploits, is published.

    January: Alexander Selkirk is rescued by Woodes Rogers after spending four years and four months marooned on Juan Fernandez Islands.

    February 13: Alexander Selkirk departs Juan Fernandez Island with Woodes Rogers’ expedition.

    December: Woodes Rogers attacks the Nuestra Señora del la Encarnacion Diesngaño, a Manila treasure galleon with an estimated value of 1,600,000 pieces of eight.

    • Alexander Spotswood appointed Governor of Virginia.
    • William Dampier completes his third circumnavigation of the globe.
    April 10: First law regulating copyright is passed in Britain.
    October 14: Woodes Rogers’ expedition returns home after circumnavigating the world and capturing a Manila galleon.
    • Kanhoji Angria captures the East India Company’s Governor of Bombay’s private yacht.
    • Woodes Rogers publishes his account of his voyage around the world, which began in 1708 and ended in 1711.
    • A play, loosely based on a story about Henry Every, opens on Drury Lane, England.
    August 28: Powerful hurricane strikes Jamaica.

    October 3: An arrest warrant, signed by the Duke of Montrose, is issued for Rob Roy MacGregor.
    • The War of the Spanish Succession ends.
    • The British pass an act authorizing customs officers and justices of the peace to rescue distressed vessels.
    April 11: The Treaty of Utrecht ends the War of the Spanish Succession between England, France, Portugal, Prussia, and Savoy. Spain was to lose Portugal and her territories in the Netherlands. France continues to fight her other enemies until the following year.
    • Parliament offers £20,000 prize to anyone who can figure out how to calculate longitude.
    • France and Spain raid Bahamas. Nassau sacked three times.
    March: Woodes Rogers visits Madagascar.

    June: Benjamin Hornigold attacks Spanish shipping off Santo Domingo

    July 14: During the Battle of Aland, the Russian fleet overpowers the larger Swedish fleet.

    August 1: Queen Anne dies, and the
    German Elector of Hanover becomes King George I of the United Kingdom. This is the start of the House of Hanover.

    September 7: The Holy Roman Empire and France sign the Treaty of Baden, bringing the War of the Spanish Succession to an end.
    • Samuel Bellamy goes on the account.
    • Moroccan corsairs capture Thomas Pellow. He converts to Islam and becomes a corsair, but eventually renounces the Muslim faith and returns to England in 1738.

    July 30: Annual Plate Fleet encounters hurricane near Sebastian, Florida. Ten out of the eleven ships are lost. The lost treasure is valued at £1,572,000.

    September 1: After a seventy-two-year reign, King Louis XIV of France dies. His reign is the longest of any major European monarch.


    • 300 pirates attack the salvage camp, netting 60,000 pieces of eight.
    • Benjamin Hornigold arrives in New Providence. Before long, this Bahamian island is a pirate haven.
    13: The Battle of Sheriffmuir takes place during the Jacobite rebellion known as the 'Fifteen. The Earl of Mar leads the Jacobite army's advance, but the Hanoverian forces stop them, resulting in a battle with no clear winner.
    • Charles Vane becomes a pirate.
    • Benjamin Hornigold and his men capture a sloop. They decide to keep it, and Blackbeard becomes captain of his first pirate vessel.
    • Samuel Bellamy and Paulsgrave Williams depart for the Spanish fleet wreckage off the coast of Florida
    • The first lighthouse is erected at Cape Henlopen. It’s constructed of wood and burns whale oil.
    • Samuel Bellamy and Olivier le Vasseur, also known as La Buse (The Buzzard) team up.
    May: Benjamin Hornigold refuses to attack English ships and is deposed in favour of Samuel Bellamy.

    9: Samuel Bellamy captures the Bonetta. One of the passengers onboard is John King, who threatens to kill himself if his mother refuses to allow him to join the pirates. King becomes the youngest known pirate.
    26: For the first time in America, a lion is exhibited in Boston, Massachusetts.

    December: Samuel Bellamy captures the Sultana. He takes her as his new flagship and Paulsgrave Williams becomes captain of the Marianne.
    • Stede Bonnet becomes a pirate after purchasing a 10-gun sloop, which he names Revenge.
    • Olivier le Vasseur (La Buse) sails in consort with Christopher Moody.
    • Benjamin Hornigold is the ringleader of the pirates on New Providence.
    February: Samuel Bellamy captures the Whydah.

    Blackbeard parts company with Benjamin Hornigold.
    2: The first performance of a ballet occurs in England. The ballet is The Loves of Mars and Venus.

    April 26: Northeasterly gale drives Samuel Bellamy’s Whydah onto the shoals of Nantucket. About 146 pirates die, including Bellamy and John King, the youngest known pirate.

    May 16: Voltaire is imprisoned in the Bastile in Paris, France. A playwright and poet, he penned a satirical poem entitled "La Henriade," which infuriated the government. He was incarcerated for nearly a year.

    August 27: Puritan minister, Cotton Mather, delivers a sermon entitled Instructions to the Living, from the Conditions of the Dead two months before the survivors of Bellamy’s crew are tried for piracy.


    Stede Bonnet encounters a Spanish man-of-war, is badly wounded in the battle, but escapes.

    5: King George issues a proclamation "for Suppressing of Pyrates." He offers amnesty to any pirate who gives himself up before 5 September 1718.

    • Those pirates who survived the wrecking of Bellamy’s Whydah are tried in Boston.
    • Blackbeard encounters Stede Bonnet and commandeers his sloop. They sail in consort as far as New Jersey before returning to the Caribbean.


    • 15: Six members of Samuel Bellamy’s crew are hanged at Boston.
    • 17: Blackbeard captures the French slaver Concorde off St. Vincent and renames her Queen Anne’s Revenge.
    • 28: Blackbeard attacks Guadeloupe.
    • A copy of the King’s Grace arrives in New Providence. Two hundred nine pirates accept the King’s Grace, including Benjamin Hornigold and Henry Jennings.
    5: Blackbeard plunders Margaret and takes her captain, Henry Bostock, captive for eight hours. After his release, Bostock provides the first record of Blackbeard's appearance, which becomes the source of his name.
    • Twenty-two pirates tried at Bombay.
    • Edward England accepts a royal pardon from Woodes Rogers, but within a year, he returns to pirating.


    6: King George issues commission to Woodes Rogers to rid the Bahamas of pirates and names him Governor of the colony.
    17: An avalanche engulfs Leukerbad, Switzerland, destroying every building and killing fifty-three people.

    February: Benjamin Hornigold accepts the King’s pardon. He ventually becomes a pirate hunter.

    March: Blackbeard convinces Stede Bonnet to join him.

    April: Charles Vane in the sloop Ranger captures two ships off the Carolinas.


    • Blackbeard blockades Charles Town Harbor. He ransoms leading citizens for a chest of medicine.
    • Stede Bonnet sails to Bath Town to acquire a king’s pardon from Governor Eden.
    7: Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville founds the city of New Orleans.
    Blackbeard intentionally grounds the Queen Anne's Revenge in Beaufort Inlet.

    26: Tsarevich Alexei Petrovich of Russia, the son of Peter the Great, mysteriously dies after days of torture for plotting against his father.


    • Charles Vane voices opposition to Woodes Rogers coming to New Providence in the Bahamas as Governor.
    • Governor Eden of North Carolina pardons Blackbeard, who spends much of his time in Bath Town or at Ocracoke Island.
    • 10: Alexander Spotswood of Virginia issues proclamation requiring any former pirates coming to Virginia to turn in their weapons to a justice of the peace or military official. They were also not permitted to associate in groups larger than three.
    • 26: Governor Woodes Rogers arrives in New Providence to rid the colony of pirates.
    • Charles Vane and Christopher Condent flee New Providence, refusing to accept the King’s Grace.
    • Under the leadership of Charles Vane, pirates blockade the port of Charleston, South Carolina.
    • 30: King George’s proclamation that Jennings, Carnegie, Ashworth, Wills, and others are pirates arrives in the Caribbean.
    • Howel Davis leads mutiny aboard the Buck and goes on the account
    • 4: Last day for pirates to surrender and receive a full pardon for all crimes committed prior to 5 January 1718.
    • 27: Colonel William Rhett captures Stede Bonnet at Cape Fear.
    • Charles Vane visits Blackbeard at Ocracoke.
    • Governor Alexander Spotswood secretly meets with Captains Brand and Gordon to plan an attack to rid the Americas of Blackbeard.
    • 3: Stede Bonnet and the other captured pirates arrive in Charles Town, South Carolina.
    • 24: Stede Bonnet and David Heriot escape.
    • 28: Trials of pirates captured from Edward Thatch’s and Stede Bonnet’s crews begin at Charleston, South Carolina. Nicholas Trott presides over trial
    5: Colonel Rhett kills Heriot and recaptures Bonnet. They return to Charles Town the next day.
    7: Twenty-nine of Bonnet’s crew are convicted of piracy.
    8: Twenty-two pirates are hanged at White Point near Charleston, South Carolina. William Rhett recaptures Stede Bonnet.
    10: Stede Bonnet stands trial for piracy. After two days, he is convicted.
    12: Trials of pirates captured from Edward Thatch’s and Stede Bonnet’s crews end at Charleston, South Carolina. Stede Bonnet is found guilty of piracy.
    17: Lt. Maynard and his men set sail on their mission to capture Blackbeard.
    22: Blackbeard is killed in a battle with Lieutenant Maynard at Ocracoke, North Carolina.
    24: Virginia assembly passes the Act to Encourage the Apprehending and Destroying of Pirates. Pirates oust Charles Vane as captain after he refuses to attack a French warship, and Calico Jack Rackham is elected captain of the Ranger in his place.
    • Britain and France declare war on Spain in what becomes known as the War of the Quadruple Alliance.
    • Mass hanging of pirates in New Providence.
    • 10: Stede Bonnet is hanged for piracy at White Point near Charleston, South Carolina.
    • Benjamin Hornigold’s ship vanishes and entire crew is presumed lost.
    • Anne Bonny meets Calico Jack Rackham in New Providence.
    • Woodes Rogers, Governor of the Bahamas, uncovers a plot to kill him.
    • Howell Davis arrives in Cape Verde Islands, masquerading at pirate hunter.
    • 3: Lt. Maynard returns to Hampton Roads, Virginia with Blackbeard’s head hanging from the Adventure’s bowsprit.


    • The war between Britain and Spain ends.
    • A hurricane strikes the Bahamas Channel and the ship of Benjamin Hornigold and his crew founders. No one survives.
    • Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe is published. He based his story on the marooning of privateer Alexander Selkirk.
    12: The oldest life insurance company, still in existence, is founded in the Netherlands. The company is the Anderling van 1719 u. a.
    13: George Shelvocke, aboard the Speedwell, sets off on a three-year privateering adventure that takes him around the world. Commander of the expedition, aboard the Success, is Captain John Clipperton, who once sailed with William Dampier.
    17: Richard Worley is hanged for piracy.

    March 12: Fifteen members of Blackbeard’s crew stand trial in Williamsburg, Virginia. One is found not guilty. Of the others, all but one, Israel Hands, are executed for piracy.


    Christopher Condent uses St. Mary's Island, Madagascar for his base of operation.
    1: Thomas Cocklyn captures slave ship captained by William Snelgrave at mouth of Sierre Leone River.
    Daniel Defoe publishes Robinson Crusoe, which is based on Alexander Selkirk’s tale.

    May: Woodes Rogers grants Calico Jack Rackham a pardon.


    Davis is killed on Principe, off West Africa, and Roberts is elected to replace him as captain.

    6: Bartholomew Roberts becomes a pirate after Howel Davis captures the slaver he works on.
    10: Battle of Glen Shiel in Scotland during the Jacobite Rising of 1719.

    July: Bartholomew Roberts captures the Marquis del Campo and renames her Royal Rover.

    September 5: Last day for pirates to submit themselves to a representative of the British Crown to gain a pardon for all acts of piracy committed prior to 5 January 1718.


    • Bartholomew Roberts captures a Portuguese treasure galleon. While dividing her cargo, another sail is spotted and he gives chase. His deputy Walter Kennedy absconds with the treasure aboard the galleon.
    19: Charles Vane and crew shipwrecked on island during a storm. Afterwards, English ship happened by and captured them. He was taken to Jamaica and imprisoned for two years.
    • Calico Jack Rackham captures a Dutch ship. One of the crew, Mark Read (Mary Read), signs his articles of agreement.
    • Anne Bonny and Jack Rackham fall in love and seek an annulment of Anne’s marriage to James Bonny.
    • Christopher Condent captures an Arabian vessel near Bombay, India that nets the crew £150,000 in treasure.
    • Kanhoji Angria terrorizes East India Company ships in the Indian Ocean.
    • Bartholomew Roberts killed in battle with British Royal Navy.
    January 6: The inquiry into the South Sea Bubble publishes its findings.

    • The War of the Quadruple Alliance ends.
    • 24: A Spanish invasion fleet is sighted off Nassau, but the attack is thwarted.
    March 22: Charles Vane is convicted of piracy and is hanged at Gallows Point, Jamaica a week later. The War of the Quadruple Alliance ends.

    May 25: Le Grand St. Antoine arrives in Marseille. The ship brings the last major outbreak of the plague. About 100,000 people die.

    June 21: Bartholomew Roberts arrives in Trepassey, Newfoundland, where he captures one ship and destroys 22 others.


    • Bartholomew Roberts captures a French fishing vessel and renames her the first Royal Fortune.
    • Edward England attacks the East Indiaman Cassandra. Captain James McRae escapes and later describes the attack.
    Edward England captures the Cassandra.
    1: The stock price of the South Sea Company peaks at £1,000. In December, the price tanks at £124. This becomes known as the South Sea Bubble.

    22: Jack Rackham, Anne Bonny, Mary Read, and six others steal a sloop William and go on the account.

    October 22: Calico Jack Rackham, Mary Read, Anne Bonny, and others captured.


    • Bartholomew Roberts leaves the Caribbean to avoid pursuit and heads to the est coast of Africa.
    15: Captain Jonathan Barnet captures Calico Jack Rackham and his crew, including Anne Bonny and Mary Read.
    16: Calico Jack Rackham and the male members of his crew are tried and convicted of piracy at St. Jago de la Bega (Spanish Town), Jamaica.

    17: Calico Jack Rackham and his mates are hanged at Gallows Point.
    28: Anne Bonny and Mary Read are tried and convicted of piracy. Although sentenced to hang, they plead their bellies and their executions are stayed until after the births of their children. Mary eventually succumbs from gaol fever. Anne disappears from the historical record.
    • Robert Baldwin publishes The Tryals of Captain John Rackham and Other Pirates in Jamaica.
    • William Kennedy captured in London.
    • Fiery Dragon catches fire and sinks at Madagascar.
    • John Taylor joins forces with Olivier Levasseury, but eventually he decides to return and heads to home to Britain via the Pacific Ocean. When they make landfall in Panama, the treasure is divided and the crew disperses.
    • HMS Winchelsea captures and hangs 150 pirates off Guinea.
    • Edward Low leads a mutiny and seizes the merchant ship that was to carry logwood back to New England. He and his men turn pirate.
    • George Lowther leads a mutiny and goes on the account.
    • George Lowther and Edward Low meet in Cayman Islands and join together to hunt.
    • Woodes Rogers returns to England and is arrested for not paying his debts.
    • Pirates remove Edward England from the captaincy and maroon him with three others on Mauritius.
    • British warships destroy pirate havens at Madagascar, while the French destroy pirate bases in Maritius and La Réunion.
    Edward England and John Taylor fall out over England's leniency to his prisoners. England and three of his men are marooned on Mauritius.

    22: Charles Vane is tried for piracy in Jamaica.
    29: Charles Vane is hanged at Gallows Point, Port Royal.
    • Thomas Anstis and others of Bartholomew Roberts' men desert and strike out on their own as pirates.
    • Thomas Anstis captures John Phillips, a carpenter. He eventually becomes a pirate captain in his own right.
    28: Mary Read dies in prison, possibly from gaol fever. She is buried in St. Catherine's Cemetery in Jamaica.
    • Woodes Rogers leaves Nassau for England. One month later a new governor, George Phenney, is appointed.
    • Edward England and his men build a boat and sail to St. Mary's Island in Madagascar, where he dies several months later.
    25: John Copson becomes the first insurance agent in America.
    12: Bartholomew Roberts, aboard Royal Fortune, arrives off mouth of Senegal River in Africa.
    26: Dr. Zabdiel Boylston gives the first smallpox innoculation in America with the support of Puritan minister Cotton Mather.
    3: William Kennedy convicted of piracy and sentenced to hang.
    21: William Kennedy executed at Execution Dock, Wapping, as is Howell Davis.
    George Shelvocke, a privateer, arrives off the coast of California.

    8: Bartholomew Roberts acquires the Onslow and renames her Royal Fortune, the fourth and last of that name.

    • Shelvocke arrives off the coast of China.
    22: Charles Vane tried and convicted for piracy. He hangs one week later at Gallows Point, Port Royal. His body is hung in chains at Gun Cay as a warning to others.
    Joseph Mansfield tried for piracy.

    • 11: Bartholomew Roberts in Whydah, West Africa. He captures 11 slave ships.
    • 13: Bartholomew Roberts leaves Whydah one day before Captain Ogle arrives.
    February 10: Bartholomew Roberts killed during battle with the British Royal Navy.


    • 28: Survivors of Bartholomew Roberts’ crew are tried for piracy at Cape Coast Castle, Africa.
    • 31: First followers of Bartholomew Roberts’ convicted. 14 found guilty, 6 immediately hanged.
    5: Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen discovers Easter Island.
    6: Tsar Peter the Great of Russia ends the tax imposed on men wearing beards.
    20: Final pirate trial for followers of Bartholomew Roberts tried at Cape Coast Castle. Fifty-four of Bartholomew Roberts’ men are sentenced to hang, while thirty-seven others are sentenced to work as indentured servants. Seventy-four others are acquitted. Fifty-two black pirates are sold into slavery.


    • 6: Pirate surgeon George Wilson dies.
    • 28: George Lowther and Edward Low part company.
    July: Edward Low plunders thirteen vessels near Marblehead.


    • 1: George Shelvocke returns from his round-the-world, privateering adventure.
    • 28: Hurricane strikes Port Royal five days after 19 pirates arrive. More than 40 ships sink in harbour. One third of town destroyed.
    • Rhode Island tries 36 pirates and finds 28 of them guilty.
    April: Captain Fenn and other pirates captured at Tobago.

    June: Pirates kill their captain, Thomas Anstis, then surrender to Dutch authorites in Curaço. The mutineers are arrested, but the rest are imprisoned. Their trial is held three years later and 18 are judged guilty and hanged.


    • 10: Captain Peter Solgard, HMS Greyhound, engages Edward Low’s Ranger, but Low escapes capture.
    • 19: Charles Harris and 25 pirates hang in Newport, Rhode Island. Joseph Libbey, who was abducted the previous year along with Philip Ashton, is among them. All were all former members of Edward Low’s crew. This is the largest number of pirates to be hanged at one time.
    August 29: John Phillips and four others seize schooner off Newfoundland and go on the account.

    November: 11 pirates from George Lowther’s crew hang on St. Kitts.

    December 6: For the first time, professional actors appear on the stage in the American colonies. The play is performed in New York.

    Ned Low disappears after a year of bloody pirate attacks, or the French hang him on Martinique after his crew forces him off their ship and a French vessel captures him.

    April 15: John Phillips, who decides to return to the sweet trade, captures the Squirrel. Aboard that merchant ship is John Fillmore, the great-grandfather of Millard Fillmore (13th President of the United States), and with the help of others, Fillmore retakes the ship. Phillips is thrown overboard.


    11: Henry Wynn and Robert Corp, two members of Princess Galley, who joined George Lowther after he captured the vessel, are tried for piracy on St. Christopher.
    12: John Phillips' crew arrested and tried for piracy.
    24: Captain Johnson' A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates is published.
    27: William Fly leads successful mutiny aboard the Elizabeth, in which Captain Green and his mate are thrown overboard, and becomes a pirate.
    June 2: John Rose Archer and William White hanged at Hudson's Point.

    • 3: Forced men take back their vessel and take William Fly and others prisoner. Fly and two other pirates will hang in Boston, Massachusetts.
    • 10: Benjamin Colman, a Presbyterian minister, delivers a sermon at the request of two convicted pirates in Boston. They are members of William Fly’s crew.
    November 3: John Gow and several mates aboard the Caroline mutiny and go on the account.
    February 20: Whites scalp ten sleeping Indians in New Hampshire to claim the bounty of £100 for scalps.
    May 27: William Fly leads a mutiny during night aboard Elizabeth. After killing several crew members, including captain, the pirates rechristened the ship Fame's Revenge.

    July: William Fly hanged in Boston.

    16: Captain John Massey is hanged at Execution Dock in London after his conviction for piracy.
    September 8: During a puppet show, a barn in Burwell, England catches fire. Many of the 78 victims are children.
    February: John Gow and his fellow pirates are captured and imprisoned in Marshalsea Prison in London.

    May 26: Gow and the other pirates are brought to trial for piracy.

    June 11: Gow and six others are hanged for piracy.

    October 18: Woodes Rogers is appointed to his second term as Governor of the Bahamas.

    Kanhoji Angria dies.

    August 25: Woodes Rogers arrive in Nassau to begin his second term as Governor of the Bahamas.

    • French authorities apprehend and execute Olivier La Buse on Réunion Island.
    • End of the golden age of piracy.
    April 9: Members of the Spanish Guard Costa in the Caribbean cut off the ear of mariner Robert Jenkins. This act proves the catalyst in a ware between Britain and Spain.

    November 8: Benjamin Franklin opens the first library in the North American colonies in Philadelphia.

    • Woodes Rogers dies in Nassau.
    • Alexander Spotswood dies.
    November 14: Philadelphia hires the first professional librarian in North America. His name is Louis Timothee.

    December 19: Benjamin Franklin, using the pseudonym Richard Saunders, begins publishing Poor Richard's Almanack.
    John Julian, one of the survivors of the sinking of the Whydah, kills a bounty hunter after his escape from slavery. He is executed for murder.
    January 18: A polar bear is exhibited for the first time in America. This occurs in Boston, Massachusetts.
    Captain William Snelgrave's A New Account of Some Parts of Guinea and the Slave Trade is published. It includes his experiences as a pirate captive.

    December 28: Rob Roy, sometimes called the Scottish Robin Hood, dies.
    March 13: David Nitschmann is consecrated in Germany as the first Moravian bishop in the United States.

    December 6: Claudius Amyand performs the first recorded appendectomy. The operation occurs at St. George's Hospital in London.

    April 7: Dick Turpin hangs for stealing a horse in England.

    October 3: Signing of the Treaty of Nissa, ending the Russian-Turkish War that began three years earlier between Russia and the Ottoman Empire.

    War of the Austrian Succession, also known as the War of Jenkins' Ear, begins. It lasts until 1748.
    Grog -- a mixture of rum, tea or water, and lime juice -- is served aboard Royal Navy vessels for the first time.

    June 7: Alexander Spotswood dies of fever in Annapolis, Maryland.

    October 20: Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI dies. His death ignites the War of the Austrian Succession.

    September 14: George Frideric Handel completes the Messiah, which becomes one of the most famous oratorios.
    June 11: Benjamin Franklin invents the Franklin stove.
    11: First ever auction is held in London at Sotheby's. The sale is of books.
    14: Louis XV of France declares war on Great Britain.
    August 19: Bonnie Prince Charlie raises his standard at Glenfinnan, Scotland to launch the Jacobite Rising of 1745.

    17: Prince Charles Edward Stuart, also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, and his Jacobite Army, occupy Edinburgh, Scotland during the Rising of 1745.
    21: Battle of Prestonpans, near Edinburgh. Jacobite Army routes Hanoverian Army in 10 minutes.
    11: Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite Army enters England.
    18: The Jacobite Army occupies Carlisle, England.
    4: Bonnie Prince Charlie's army reaches Derby, England.
    6: The Jacobite Army retreats to Scotland.
    3: Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Army leave Glasgow, Scotland.
    17: The Battle of Falkirk Muir. The Jacobites defeat the Hanoverians.
    February 21: Soldiers of the British Army surrender Inverness Castle to Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite Army.

    April 16:
    Jacobite Army defeated at Culloden, Scotland during the Rising of 1745. Last Jacobite attempt to restore the Royal House of Stuart to the British throne. The battle is the last one fought on British soil.

    June 27: Flora MacDonald helps Bonnie Prince Charlie evade capture on the Isle of South Uist. Disguised as an Irish maid named Betty Burke, Prince Charles and Flora soon leave for the Isle of Skye.

    July 10: Bonnie Prince Charlie arrives on the Isle of Skye.

    September 20: Bonnie Prince Charlie departs Scotland, never to return, and goes to France.
    May 14: The British fleet, under Admiral George Anson's command, defeats the French at what becomes known as the first Battle of Cape Finisterre.
    April 1: Rocque Joaquim de Alcubierre of Spain rediscovers the ruins of Pompeii.

    October 18: The signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle brings to an end the War of Austrian Succession between England, France, and Spain.

    Chaloner Ogle, the man who took down Bartholomew Roberts and his pirates, becomes Commander-in-Chief of the British Navy.
    Robert Maynard dies in England.
    July 11: Fire nearly destroys Halifax, Nova Scotia.

    November 11: The first college fraternity is formed at the Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg, Virginia. It is the F.H.C. Society, which also becomes known as the Flat Hat Club.

    June 10: Benjamin Franklin conducts his kite-flying, lightning experiment.

    1: Liberty Bell arrives in Philadelphia.
    2: The Bank of Pennsylvania, located at Carpenter's Hall, is robbed. The thieves get away with $162,821. It is the first bank robbery in the American colonies.
    14: Britain and her colonies adopt the Gregorian calendar. This results in the loss of eleven days, so that the day after Wednesday, 2 September is Thursday, 14 September. Pope Gregory
    originally introduced the calendar was  in 1582, when most of the Catholic countries in Europe switched, but it will take more than 300 years before all countries adopt it. The last to do so was Turkey. This change in the calendar also moved the start of the British New Year from 25 March to 1 January.
    June 7: Founding of the British Museum. It opens to the public six years later.

    September 9: The first steam engine arrives in the North American colonies.
    April 2: Commodore William James captures the pirate fortress of Suvarnadurg on the west coast of India.

    November 1: A massive earthquake hits Lisbon, destroying nearly a third of the city and the surrounding Portuguese countryside. As many as 30,000 people die.

    May 15: Seven Years War (French and Indian War) begins when England declares war on France. It lasts until 1763.

    June 20: 146 British soldiers, Anglo-Indian soldiers, and Indian civilians are imprisoned in a small dungeon in Calcutta. Most die of suffocation and heat exhaustion. The event becomes known as the Black Hole of Calcutta.

    August 29: The Seven Years' War begins.
    March 14: Admiral John Byng is executed by firing squad aboard his flagship, HMS Monarch, for failing to come to the aid of a besieged British garrison.
    The War of the Austrian Succession ends.

    May 21: Lenape kidnap Mary Campbell from her Pennsylvania home during the French and Indian War.

    June 12:
    Siege of Louisbourg (Nova Scotia) begins.

    11: First life insurance company in America is founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    15: The British Museum opens to the public for the first time in London.
    May 1: A naval fleet from Britain captures the French West Indian island of Guadeloupe.

    September 13: British forces defeat the French in the Battle of Quebec.
    October 25: George III ascends the British throne.
    May 22: The first life insurance policy is issued in North America.
    July 9: Catherine II (also known as Catherine the Great) seizes power from her husband and declares herself Empress of Russia.

    August 22: Ann Franklin of Rhode Island becomes the first woman editor of a US newspaper.

    February 10: Treaty of Paris ends the Seven Years War. As part of the treaty, Spain cedes Florida to the British.

    November 15: Surveying of the line between Pennsylvania and Maryland begins. It becomes known as the Mason-Dixon line after the surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon.

    April 5: The British Parliament enacts a Sugar Tax on the American colonies.

    November 9: A captive of the Lenape since the French and Indian War, Mary Campbell is turned over to forces under the command of Colonel Henry Bouquet.

    Cheng I (Ching Yih) is born to a piratical Chinese family.

    9: The British Board of Longitude swards the £10,000 prize to John Harrison. His chronometer makes it possible to determine longitude at sea.

    22: The British Parliament passes the Stamp Act on the colonies. This places a tax on papers, including legal documents and playing cards. Its unpopularity results in its being repealed in March of the following year.
    24: Parliament enacts the Quartering Act, requiring American colonists to provide temporary housing to British soldiers.
    May 3: The first medical college in North America opens in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    March 18: The British Parliament repeals the Stamp Act of 1765 after violent protests in the American colonies.

    April 8: First fire escape device is patented. It is a wicker basket on a pulley and chain.

    The British Parliament enacts the Townshend Acts, which place duties on glass, lead, paper, and other imports to the colonies.

    October 18: Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon finish surveying the boundary dividing Pennsylvania from Maryland.
    Fredrick af Chapman, a Swedish naval architect, publishes Architectura Navalis Mercatoria.

    April 9: When two British customs agents board John Hancock's boat, he refuses to allow them access to the cargo hold.

    10: After the British seize John Hancock's Liberty for smuggling, a riot breaks out in Boston, Massachusetts.
    21: John Archer receives the first medical diploma from a school in America. It is awarded by the College of Philadelphia.
    August 25: Captain Cook sets sail from Plymouth, England, aboard HMS Endeavour on first scientific and exploratory expedition. The voyage lasts nearly three years.

    December 10: The first part of the first edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica is published in Edinburgh, Scotland. It will become the oldest continuously published and revised work in English.
    July 16: Father Junipero Serra founds Mission San Diego, the first mission in California.
    March 5: Boston Massacre.

    19: Captain James Cook of the British Royal Navy sights Australia while on an exploration voyage.
    28: Captain Cook lands at Botany Bay.
    May 16: Marie Antoinette and the future Louis XVI of France wed.

    June 28: Members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) open a school for blacks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    January 1: For the first time, traveler's cheques are available for purchase in London. They can be used in 90 European cities.

    June 9: HMS Gaspee runs aground in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. The next day, Rhode Islanders board and sink the revenue cutter. This becomes the first naval attack in the Revolutionary War. Communion is served for the first time in a Protestant church west of Pennsyvlania. The church is located in Ohio.
    16: Dressed like Mohawks, American patriots dump 342 tea chests into Boston Harbor as a protest against the tax on tea and having to pay the tax without representation. It becomes known as the Boston Tea Party.
    26: Chest of tea are also dumped off ships in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    February 22: The House of Lords in London rules that authors do not have perpetual copyright.

    August 1: Joseph Priestley, an English chemist, discovers oxygen.

    September 5: Philadelphia becomes the first capital of the United States when the Continental Congress convenes there.

    • American Revolution begins and will last into 1783. (Also called the American War of Independence or the American War)
    • Continental Congress commissions privateers during the War for Independence between American colonies and Britain.
    January 17: Three old women are burned at the stake in Kalisk, Poland. They were accused of witchcraft because of bad harvests.

    March 23: Patrick Henry delivers his "Give me liberty, or give me death!" speech in Virginia.

    14: First American abolition society is founded in Philadelphia.
    18-19: Paul Revere rides at midnight to warn about the approach of British troops. The Battles of Lexington and Concord occur soon after. These two events are the opening skirmishes of the American Revolutionary War. The British capture Paul Revere, William Dawes, and Sam Prescott on their way to warn Concord. Dawes escapes to carry out his mission.

    Daniel Boone founds Boonesborough, Kentucky. His family arrives there in September.


    15: The Continental Congress appoints George Washington as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.
    17: Battle of Bunker Hill or Battle of Breed's Hill takes place in Massachusetts. It is the first major battle in the American Revolutionary War.


    3: George Washington takes command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, Massachusetts.
    26: The Second Continental Congress establishes the US Postal Service. Benjamin Franklin becomes the first postmaster general.

    October 27: The Continental Navy is founded. It becomes the precursor of the US Navy.


    1: Massachusetts passes "An Act & Resolve for Encouraging the Fixing out of Armed Vessels, to Defend the Sea Coast of America, and for Erecting a Court to Try and Condemn All Vessels, That Shall Be Found Infesting the Same." This authorizes the issuance of letters of marque and sets up the parameters for privateering. This is the first colony to do so and they enact this legislation before the Continental Congress does.
    10: The Continental Congress established the US Marine Corps.


    John Paul Jones receives an officer’s commission in the Continental Navy.

    7: The first letter of marque is granted for the American Revolution.

    January 9: Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense, which advocates American independence.

    March: The British evacuate Boston, Massachusetts.
    25: The Continental Congress authorizes the use of privateers in the war against Britain.


    3: Continental Congress begins issuing privateering commissions.
    7: Captain John Barry, in command of the Lexington, defeats the HMS Edward, the first American naval capture of a British warship during the American Revolution.

    May 1: Adam Weishaupt establishes the Illuminati, a secret society.


    11: A committee to draft the Declaration of Independence is formed. Its members consist of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston.
    28: The final draft of the Declaration of Independence is submitted to the Continental Congress.


    4: The Continental Congress approves the Declaration of Independence, seceding from Great Britain.
    8: The Declaration of Independence is read to Philadelphians. The bell in the Pennsylvania State House tolls, summoning people so the document can be shared with them. The State House becomes known as Independence Hall (around 1824) and the bell, the Liberty Bell (1839).


    7: Turtle, an American submersible, attempts to put a time bomb on the hull of Admiral Richard Howe's flagship, HMS Eagle. First submarine attack.
    8: The Continental Congress official renames the 13 united colonies as the United States of American.
    21: One quarter of New York City burns. The British arrest Nathan Hale as a spy for the American rebels.
    22: The British hang Nathan Hale for espionage.

    November 16: Sint Eustatius recognizes the United States, becoming the first foreign government to do so.


    6: British troops seal off Narragansett Bay, severing Providence, Rhode Island’s access to the Atlantic Ocean.
    25: George Washington and his army cross the Delaware. The surprise attack against 1,400 Hessians ends in their defeat.
    26: The Continental Army wins its firts major victory against the British Army at Trenton, New Jersey.
    January 3: General George Washington and the Continental Army defeat the British at the Battle of Princeton, New Jersey.


    11: The British Parliament legitimizes privateering during the war with the Thirteen Colonies.
    12: Philip Lenzi places the first advertisement for ice cream in the New York Gazette.

    April 26: Sybil Ludington, a sixteen-year-old girl, rides 40 miles to alert New Yorkers that the British army is approaching during the American Revolution.

    June 14: The Continental Congress adopts the Stars and Stripes as the United States' first national flag.

    July 6: General John Burgoyne of the Royal Army captures Fort Ticonderoga from the Americans during the Revolutionary War.

    August 4: Philip Astley, a retired cavalry officer, establishes a riding school where performances are held in London. It is the precursor of the circus.

    3: The Stars and Stripes, representing the original thirteen states of the United States, flies in battle for the first time near Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania.
    20: 5,000 British soldiers, under the command of General Charles Grey, launch a surprise attack on General Anthony Wayne's troops near Paoli, Pennsylvania. To maintain surprise, only bayonets and swords are used to slaughter the sleeping Americans. Nearly 200 Patriots are killed or wounded and the ambush becomes known as the Paoli Massacre.
    October 17: British General John Burgoyne surrenders at the Second Battle of Saratoga. It is a stunning victory for the Americans during the Revolutionary War.

    November 15: The Continental Congress approves the Articles of Confederation (the United States' first constitution).

    December 19: The Continental Army begins wintering at Valley Forge, 22 miles northwest of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    The British Royal Navy begins to sheath the hulls of ships with copper.

    January 20: James Cook becomes the first European to visit Hawaii when he lands on Kauai Island.

    February 6: The United States and France sign a treaty of alliance.

    July 3: British forces massacre 360 men, women, and children in Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania on the frontier.
    February 14: Hawaiians killed Captain James Cook.

    September 23: Bon Homme Richard, commanded by John Paul Jones, defeats HMS Serapis.

    December 23: Court-martial of Benedict Arnold for improper conduct.
    The Moonlight Battle or Battle of Cape St. Vincent takes place.

    1: Pennsylvania abolishes slavery for any baby born thereafter. It becomes the first state to enact any emancipation legislation.
    26: First publication of a Sunday newspaper in Britain. It is called the British Gazette and Sunday Monitor.
    May 19: Around noon, New England is plunged into near-total darkness. The cause is forest fires in Canada, but that isn't known at the time.

    July: Individual states cease issuing privateering commissions.

    August 22: HMS Resolution returns to England, but without Captain James Cook.

    September 21: British Major John André meets with American General Benedict Arnold to discuss Arnold's handing over plans to West Point. The plot is foiled and the American hero is declared a traitor.


    2: Major John Andre of the British Army is hanged as a spy by the Americans during the Revolutionary War.
    9: 20,000-30,000 people died during the Great Hurricane of 1780, which makes its first landfall in Barbados.

    The Battle of the Chesapeake, or the Battle of the Capes, occurs.
    March 13: William Herschel discovers Uranus, although he believes the planet to be a comet.

    4: Founding of Los Angeles, California
    5: Battle of the Chesapeake (also known as the Battle of the Virginia Capes). A French fleet, under the command of the Comte de Grasse, defeats the British, who are under the command of Admiral Graves. This traps Cornwallis.
    October 19: Lord Cornwallis surrenders to General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia. This victory ends the American Revolution and makes the thirteen colonies a new nation.

    November 29: 142 Africans are dumped into the sea from the slave ship Zong so the owners can file an insurance claim.

    • The Battle of the Saints takes place over four days.
    1: The Continental Congress adopts the Articles of Confederation.
    8: The Ohio militia kills 90 Indians at Gnadenhutten.
    12: The Battle at Les Saintes takes place off Dominca when the British navy, under the command of Admiral George Rodney, defeats the French fleet, commanded by Comte de Grasse. The victory prevents the French from invading Jamaica as they had planned.
    16: John Adams secures recognition of the United States as an independent government from the Dutch Republic. The house he purchased in The Hague becomes the first American embassy.
    July 1: American privateers attach Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

    August 7: George Washington orders the first US military medal, which is called the Badge of Military Merit. It later becomes known as the Purple Heart.

    December 29:
    Samuel Stearns publishes the first American nautical almanac in Boston, Massachusetts. Its title is The Universal Kalendar for the year 1783.
    Spain reclaims Florida.
    Charles Town, South Carolina changes its name to Charleston

    March 10: The last naval battle of the American Revolution takes place off Havana, Cuba. It involves the USS Alliance and two British frigates and a sloop-of-war.

    April 11: American Revolution ends.

    June 8: Laki, an Icelandic volcano, erupts. The eruption lasts for eight months. As a result, 10,000 will die and famine spreads throughout Europe and Asia.


    4: Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Etienne Montgolfier launch a hot-air balloon (without anyone aboard), making this the first public demonstration of hot air within a large, lightweight bag to rise.
    22: Arguments are heard at King's Bench, London, involving the massacre of African slaves, who were thrown into the sea from the ship Zong. The question before the court did not involve their murder; rather, it was whether insurance covered the lost "cargo." The trial highlighted the horror and inhumanity of the Atlantic slave trade and strengthens the call to abolish it.

    July 15: The Marquis de Jouffroy d'Abbans demonstrates his experimental steamship, the Pyroscaphe, on the river Saone at Lyon.

    September 3: The United States and Great Britain sign the Treaty of Paris, formally ending the American Revolutionary War.

    3: Footpad and murderer John Austin is that last person publicly hanged at London's Tyburn gallows.
    23: Annapolis, Maryland becomes the capital of the United States. It remains so until June of the next year.
    9: First execution at Newgate Jail takes place in London. Previous executions occurred at Tyburn.
    23: General George Washington resigns as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.
    • Dutch invade Riau.
    • Benjamin Franklin invents bifocals.
    February 28: John Wesley charters the Methodist Church.

    March 1: Edward Kidder, a pie maker, opens the first formal cooking school in London.

    June 4: Madame Elizabeth Thible becomes the first female balloonist.

    August 13: The East India Company Act brings the EIC's rule in India under the control of the British government.


    Congress disbands the US Navy and the US Marine Corps.

    January 7: Jean Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries complete the first balloon flight across the English Channel.

    May 23: Benjamin Franklin announces his invention of bifocals.

    June 15: The first fatal aviation accident occurs when two French balloonists die.

    • British establish settlement at Penang.
    • Morocco becomes the first Barbary State to recognize the United States when the two counties sign a peace treaty.
    February 4: The Springfield, Massachusetts militia puts down Shays's Rebellion, an uprising against high taxes and stringent economic conditions.

    March 11: After eighteen-month courtship, Horatio Nelson weds Fanny Nisbet on island of Nevis.

    May 13: Arthur Phillip, the first governor of New South Wales, sets sail with eleven ships carrying criminals exiled to Botany Bay, Australia.

    August 22:
    John Fitch finishes testing his steamboat, years before Fulton does.

    September 17: Thirty-nine delegates sign the US Constitution.

    October 26:
    The Federalist Papers, which call for the ratification of the US Constitution, are published.

    December 7: Delaware becomes the first state to ratify the US Constitution.

    9: Boston Sail Cloth Factory, the first United States mill to make sailcloth, opens.
    18: Ships of the First Fleet arrive at Botany Bay from England. The 736 convicts will be the first occupants of the Australian penal colony.
    England establishes first penal colony in Australia.

    June 21: New Hampshire ratifies the Constitution. It is the ninth state to do so and the last vote needed to make the Constitution the law of the United States.

    • The Order of Saint John departs the Maltese Islands.
    February 4: By unanimous vote of the first electoral college, George Washington is elected as the first US president.

    March 11: Benjamin Banneker and Pierre L'Enfant begin laying out Washington, D. C.

    14: George Washington becomes the first President of the United States.
    28: Mutineers, led by Fletcher Christian, seize HMS Bounty from her captain, William Bligh. Bligh and 18 crewmember loyal to the captain are set adrift in a lifeboat.
    30: George Washington's inauguration as the first President of the United States.
    May 7: The first inaugural ball for an American president occurs in New York City for the first President, George Washington.

    13: Mrs. Alexander Hamilton serves ice cream for dessert in Washington, DC.
    14: Captain Bligh and eighteen loyal men reach Timor, a voyage that covered 5,800 kilometers (nearly 4,000 miles) after they were set adrift in a launch seven weeks earlier following the mutiny aboard HMS Bounty.
    17: France's Third Estate, as well as reformers from nobility and clergy, declares itself a National Assembly. On 20 June resolve never to dissolve until American-style constitution instituted. Louis XVI orders them to return to the previous existing three estates.

    July 14: A mob storms the Bastille in Paris, France. The French Revolution begins.

    3: First national Thanksgiving Day proclaimed by President George Washington.
    8: Rachel Ward is hanged in Boston for murder.
    19: John Jay takes the oath of office, becoming the first chief justice of the US Supreme Court.
    The Spanish Armament, also known as the Nootka Crisis, takes place.

    January 6: Riot at Versailles, France where people demand lower prices for bread.

    May 31: The United States establishes copyright law.

    July 16: Congress declares Washington City the permanent capital of the United States.

    4: The United States establishes the US Revenue Cutter Service to enforce customs. It will become known as the US Coast Guard in 1915.
    9: After a three-year voyage, Robert Gray and the Columbia Rediviva return to the United States, becoming the first American ship to circumnavigate the world.
    October 23: Slaves revolt in Haiti.

    December 6: Congress moves from New York City to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    March 2: The semaphore machine is introduced in Paris, France. It speeds up communication between long distances.

    June 20: Louis XIV and his family are caught trying to flee Paris during the French Revolution.

    4: The Ottoman-Hapsburg wars end with the signing of the Treaty of Sistova.
    22: Haitian Slave Revolution begins. The slave revolt on Saint Domingue destroys 180 sugar plantations and 900 estates that produce coffee, cotton, and indigo. Two hundred whites and 10,000 slaves die.
    30: After running aground on a reef the day before, HMS Pandora sinks on her return from searching for the Bounty and her mutineers.
    • John Paul Jones dies in France.
    • The dey of Algiers authorizes his corsairs to attack American ships in the Mediterranean.
    February 20: The United States Postal Service is created. Depending on where a letter is being sent, postage costs from six to twelve cents.
    3: The United States declares war on Algiers, whose corsairs have been attacking American ships and taking prisoners.
    16: Gustav III of Sweden is shot during a masked ball at the opera. He succumbs thirteen days later.

    14: The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars between England and France begin when France declares war on Austria. Britain would join other nations already at war with France the following year. Although there were brief interludes of peace, the British and French were at war until 1815, a period of twenty-three years.
    17: Stephen Decatur captures the Algerine frigate Mashouda.
    25: Nicolas Pelletier, a highwayman, is executed. His death is the first use of the guillotine in France. Claude Joseph Rouget composes "La Marseillaise," which will eventually become France's national anthem.

    8: The United States institutes a military draft for the first time.
    12: A patent is granted for the first self-flushing toilet.
    10: King Louis XVI of France and his wife, Marie Antoinette, are imprisoned.
    29: HMS Royal George capsizes at Spithead, killing more than 800.
    5: Reign of Terror begins in France.
    11: The French crown jewels, including the French Blue gem, are stolen from the Royal storehouse during the Reign of Terror. The French Gem later became known as the Hope Diamond.
    12: A court martial convenes aboard HMS Duke to determine the fate of nine mutineers from HMS Bounty. Vice-Admiral Samuel Hood presides over the proceedings.
    21: The National Convention forms the First Republic in France and abolishes the monarchy.
    October 13: Old Farmer's Almanac published for the first time. Cornerstone for the President's House is laid in Washington City.

    Louis XVI stands trial on charges of high treason and crimes against the state

    8: The first cremation occurs in the United States.
    15: The first life insurance policy is issued in the United States in Philadelphia.
    • The Reign of Terror begins in France.
    • Barbary corsairs seize 11 American merchant ships between October and November. One of these is the brig Betsey, which Murad Reis, the admiral of Tunis' fleet of corsairs, converts into a warship mounting 28 guns.
    16: The National Convention sentences Louis XVI of France to death.
    21: King Louis XVI of France is guillotined four months after the monarchy is dissolved and France becomes a republic. Swiss Guards arrive in Vatican City to stand as watchmen for the pope.
    1: France declares war on Britain and the Dutch Republic.
    12: The United States Congress passed the first fugitive slave law. It requires escaped slaves to be returned to their owners.
    7: France declares war on Spain.
    10: The Revolutionary Tribune is established in France.
    April 19: The Committee of Public Safety (CPS) is created in France. By midsummer, every man, woman, and child, as well as every object, is conscripted for the war effort. The CPS obtains the power of summary justice to combat French rebels and traitors to the Republic.

    June 10: First public zoo opens in Paris, France.

    July 13: Jean-Paul Marat, a French revolutionist, is stabbed to death while taking a bath. His murderer, Charlotte Corday, is sent to the guillotine 4 days later.

    1: France begins using the metric system, becoming the first country to do so.
    10: The Louvre opens in Paris.
    19: First death during a yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia. More than 5,000 will die by the time the epidemic runs its course in November.
    28: British Admiral Lord Hood accepts custody of Toulon from local French royalists who had suffered during the Reign of Terror. Holding the port proved impossible, and on 18 December, the Royal Navy embarks with many citizens while under fire from French revolutionists led by Napoleon.
    5: France's Reign of Terror begins. Anyone suspected of being an enemy of the Revolution is arrested; many are executed in the days to come.
    17: France passes the Law of Suspects, which widens the definition of "suspect."
    18: President George Washington lays the cornerstone of the US Capitol in Washington City.
    October 16: Queen Marie Antoinette of France is beheaded.

    November 26:The French Republic adopts a new calendar of twelve months with thirty days each. It remains in effect until 1805.

    December 22: Napoleon promoted to brigadier general.

    • The Jay Treaty between the United States and Great Britain prohibits French warships and privateers from using American ports and selling prizes there, and permits British ships to sezie enemy goods aboard neutral American vessels.
    January 13: The United States flag changes to 15 stars and 15 stripes.

    February 4: The French National Convention abolishes slavery.

    14: Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin.
    15: George Washington signs the Naval Armament Act that establishes the U.S. Navy because of "depredations committed by the Algerine corsairs on the commerce of the United States." He also
    authorizes the construction of six naval frigates. The first ship will not be launched until 1797.
    6: Toussaint l'Ouverture rised up against the French on Haiti.
    26: France decrees that no British or Hanoverian prisoners will be taken. They will be killed.

    28: The first engagement, in what becomes known as the Glorious First of June, opens between the British Royal Navy and the French Republic's Navy. It is a tactical win for Britain, but the grain covoy from the United States succeeds in reaching France. Both sides declare victory.
    June 1: First and largest fleet action between Royal Navy and French Revolutionary Navy. The battle becomes known as the Glorious First of June in Britain, which sees this engagement as a victory. The French refer to it as Bataille du 13 Prairial an 2, the date on which the battle took place on the revolutionary calendar.

    12: Horatio Nelson, commander of HMS Agamennon, is wounded during the attack on Calvi, Corsica. The splinter caused the loss of sight in one eye.
    26: Maximilien Robespierre gives his last speech to the National Convention in France.
    27: Robespierre is arrested.
    28: Robespierre is beheaded. During the next two days, 105 of his followers are also executed in Paris, ending the Reign of Terror in France.
    British establish settlement at Malacca.
    The Directory assumes power, ending the French Revolution.
    Drinking lemon juice made mandatory on all British warships.
    January 23: During the War of the First Coalition, the French cavalry captures fourteen Dutch ships and 850 guns. It is a rarity for cavalry to capture a fleet.

    April 7: France adopts the meter as its basic measurement of length.

    Louis XVII, the yound son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, dies in prison.

    14: The French National Convention decrees that France's national anthem will be Cluade-Hospeh Rouget de Lisle's "La Marseillaise."
    September: England experiences bread riots.

    October 27: The Pinckney Treaty, formally known as the Treaty of San Lorenzo, establishes the United States' southern border and gives Americans the right to navigate the Mississippi River.

    The United States begins issuing "protections" (certificates of citizenship) to sailors. The documents are meant to prove that the individuals are Americans, but the issuance of these certificates is easily abused, and they are often ignored when British naval officers press the holders of these protections into the Royal Navy.
    February 9: Emperor Qianlong of the Qing dynasty abdicates in China.

    March 2: Napoleon is appointed the commander-in-chief of the French Army in Italy.

    April 13: America, a ship captained by Jacob Crowninshield, arrives in New York City from Bengal, India. Her cargo includes the first elephant imported to the United States. The first elephant arrives in the United States from India.

    May 14: Edward Jenner, a country doctor in England, administers the first inoculation against smallpox, using cowpox pus.

    July 8: The United States Department of State issues the first United States passport.

    Spain declares war on Great Britain.

    19: George Washington gives his farewell address as president of the United States.
    February 14: The Battle of Cape St. Vincent occurs. In spite of Spain's greater numbers, Britain is victorious. Nelson is promoted to rear admiral and awarded him the honor of knight of the Bath.

    March 28: Nathaniel Briggs of New Hampshire patents the washing machine.

    April 16:
    Sailors in the Royal Navy mutiny at Spithead for better pay and other improvements to living and working conditions aboard His Majesty's ships.

    May 12: The Nore Mutiny begins.


    8: First time a United States Senator is impeached and expelled from Congress. He is William Blount of Tennessee.
    25: British amphibious attack by Royal Navy on Santa Cruz de Tenerife fails. It is Rear Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson's worst defeat. The navy sustains 343 casualties and his right arm is amputated.
    21: The USS Constitution is launched in Boston, Massachusetts.
    22: André-Jacques Garnerin, an inspector in the French army who supports the use of balloons in the military, ascends in one to demonstrate parachuting. He jumps from about 3,200 feet.
    British Parliament passes the Convoy Act of 1798, requiring all merchantmen to sail in protected convoys.
    Lord Nelson begins affair with Lady Emma Hamilton.
    June 12: Malta surrenders to Napoleon.

    7: Quasi-War between France and the United States begins.
    21: The Battle of Pyramids (also know as the Battle of Embabeh) pits Napoleon's Army against that of the Mamluk rulers of Egypt. Most of the Egyptian army is destroyed.
    August 1: Under command of Horatio Nelson, a British squadron destroys the French fleet at Aboukir Bay during a night engagement. It becomes known as the Battle of the Nile. Its destruction, the most devastating naval victory of the century, is a crushing defeat for Napoleon and strands his army in Egypt.

    September 5: A new conscription law goes into effect in France.

    The British Admiralty publishes the first official signal book for the Royal Navy.

    January 9: Income tax introduced in Britain. Its purpose is to raise money to fund the war against Napoleon.

    February 9: Opening America's Quasi-War with France, the USS Constellation captures the French frigate L'Insurgent.

    March 2: Weights and measures become standardized by the United States Congress.

    April 16: Napoleon drives the Ottoman Turks across the River Jordan near Acre. It becomes known as the Battle of Mount Tabor.

    July 15: During Napoleon's Eyptian Campaign, the Rosetta Stone is found.

    9: Napoleon seizes power in France. He becomes First Consul of France.
    12: Writing in his journal, astronomer Andrew Endicott describes the Leonids meteor shower. This is the first recording of such an event.

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    19th Century


    After a two-year siege, the British defeat the French and occupy the Maltese Islands.

    January 1: Dissolution of the VOC (the Dutch East Indies Company).

    March 28:
    The USS Essex becomes the first American naval ship to round the Cape of Good Hope.

    April 24: The Library of Congress is established.

    Washington City becomes the capital of the United States.
    July 8: Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse vaccinates his son against smallpox. It is the first time in the United States that the cowpox vaccine is given.

    1: John Adams become the first US President to live in the White House.
    7: Women are forbidden to wear trousers in Paris without a permit from police. This edict is not repealed until 2013.
    Zheng Yi marries prostitute, who becomes known as Zheng Yi Sao (Cheng I Sao). He also inherits his father's pirate fleet and blockades the Portuguese port of Macao.
    Quasi-War ends.
    President Thomas Jefferson sends the U.S. Navy to blockade Tripoli.

    January 1: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland becomes the official name of Britain per the Acts of Union passed by Parliament the previous summer.

    February 26: Yusuf Karamanli, pasha of Tripoli, declares war on the United States, which becomes known as the First Barbary War or Tripolitan War. It ends in 1805. It is also the first foreign war for the United States.

    April 2: The Royal Navy, under the command of Admiral Horatio Nelson, defeats the Danish fleet after Nelson "turns a blind eye" to Admiral Sir Hyde Parker's signal command to cease fighting. It is known as the Battle of Copenhagen.

    June 10: Tripoli declares war on the United States, after the infant country refuses to pay tribute.

    July 7: Toussaint L'Ouverture declares Haiti independent.

    January 29: John Beckley of Virginia becomes the first Librarian of Congress.

    2: The first leopard is placed on exhibit in the United States. Bostonians can view the cat for twenty-five cents.
    8: Samuel Willard receives a patent for the banjo clock.
    16: The first United States Military Academy is established at West Point in an act of Congress. The academy opens on 4 July.
    25: The Treaty of Amiens (also known as the Peace of Amiens) temporarily ends hostilities between Britain and France.

    May 3: Washington City is incorporated. It is the capital of the United States, and will eventually be known as Washington, DC.

    June 15: The French ship Héros departs Haiti carrying a prisoner, Toussaint L'Ouverture.

    July 4: The United States Military Academy opens in West Point, New York.

    21: The West India Docks in London opens. It is for shipping to and from the West Indies.
    25: Touissant L'Ouverture imprisoned in France.
    September 2: The British Royal Navy fires fire bombs and phosphorus rockets on Copenhagen to prevent Denmark from surrendering its fleet of ships to Napoleon Bonaparte.
    April 30: Treaty to purchase the Louisiana Territory from France for $15,000,000 is signed by Robert Livingston and James Monroe. The United States nearly doubles in size.

    May 22: First US public library opens in Connecticut.

    August 9: The first horses arrive in Hawaii.

    20: The US Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase.
    31: USS Philadelphia runs aground in Tripoli harbour and William Bainbridge surrenders the ship. The 365 men aboard become prisoners, and the Tripolitans refloat the frigate for their own use.
    December 20: United States assumes control of New Orleans, Louisiana. William C. C. Claiborne becomes governor of the Louisiana Territory.

    January 1: Haiti becomes the first nation ever founded by former slaves and prohibits slavery when it declares its independence from France.

    February 16: Lieutenant Stephen Decatur and a handful of volunteers sail into Tripoli harbor and blow up the captured USS Philadelphia.

    March 4: Castle Hill Uprising, Australia's first uprising, occurs when Irish convicts rebel.

    April : Zheng Yi (Cheng I) blockades the port of Macao for two months.


    14: Meriwether Lewis and William Clark head west from Saint Louis, Missouri to map the new Louisiana Territory at the behest of Thomas Jefferson.
    18: Napoleon declares himself Emperor of France.

    July 11: Vice President Aaron Burr and former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton fight a duel. Burr's shot wounds Hamilton, who dies the next day.

    December 2: Napoleon Bonaparte crowns himself Emperor of France.


    Zheng Yi (Cheng I) and seven other leading pirates sign confederation pact to impose law and order over unruly Chinese pirates. He divides this force into six fleets, each known by the color of the flag it flies.

    January 30: London Dock opens to shipping. It covers 100 acres and can accommodate 500 vessels.

    April 27: US Marines attack Tripoli.


    5: Captain William Bainbridge and 292 officers and men of the USS Philadelphia are released from imprisonment in Tripoli. "Tornado Alley" has its first recorded tornado. It occurs in southern Illinois.
    10: Yussif Karamanli signs a treaty with the United States, bringing an end to the First Barbary War.

    October 21: Naval fleets of France and Spain (a total of 33 ships), under the command of Admiral Pierre-Charles-Jean-Baptiste-Silvestre de Villeneuve, battle the British fleet of 27 ships at the Battle of Trafalgar. Nineteen Franco-Spanish ships are lost or captured, but Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson dies aboard HMS Victory. He is buried at St. Paul's Cathedral in London the following January.

    November 19: Guided by Sacagewea, explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark reach the Pacific Oceans.
    • Cai Qian’s pirates defeated by Qing army and local militia in China, but he escapes.
    • Zheng Yi attacks Guangdong.
    • Robert Fulton pens a manuscript entitled Submarine Navigation and Attack.
    • The British Admiralty rescinds its orders that sentences of a dozen or more lashes with the cat-o'-nine-tails must be preceded by a court-martial.
    • Regulations and Instructions relating to His Majesty's Service at Sea are issued. These supercede those published in 1731. They require that any chaplain that is appointed to serve on a ship must have a high moral character.
    January 9: State funeral of Admiral Viscount Horation Nelson. His body is interred in St. Paul's Cathedral, London.

    August 6: Official end of the Holy Roman Empire after 1,000 years.

    October 7: Robert Wedgwood patents carbon paper in London.

    11: Napoleon issues the Berlin Decree, which states that he intends to blockade Great Britain and forbids the importation of British goods into Europe, but he lacks the means to enforce it before the Fall of 1807.
    21: Napoleon issues the Berlin Decree, instituting a blockade, known as the Continental System, that closes the entire European Continent to British trade.
    • Zheng Yi dies during storm at sea. His widow, Zheng Yi Sao, and Zhang Bao assume command of Chinese pirate confederation.
    • The Chinese pirate confederation’s Red Flag Fleet numbers 300 junks and 20,000 to 40,000 men.
    • Britain abolishes slavery trade throughout empire, but continues in colonies.
    February 19: Vice President Aaron Burr is arrested in Alabama on charges of treason. He is later acquitted.

    2: Congress bans the importation of slaves.
    25: Britain abolishes the slave trade.
    May 22: In Philadelphia, Townsend Speakman sells the first fruit-flavored carbonated drinks.

    June 21:
    HMS Leopard hails the USS Chesapeake and demands that Captain James Barron permit the Royal Navy to board and search for deserters. After Barron refuses, Captain Salusbury Pryce Humphreys orders the firing of three broadsides on the Chesapeake, killing three and wounding eighteen. Barron surrenders, and the British seize four sailors aboard the American frigate. One of those taken was indeed a deserter, Jenkin Ratford, who is hanged from the yardarm of a ship in Halifax. The other three were Americans were imprisoned, where one of them died. Five years passed before the other two return to the deck of the Chesapeake.

    August 17:
    Clermont, Robert Fulton's steamboat, takes first trip on the Hudson River.

    September 1: Alexander Burr is acquitted of charges of plotting to set up an empire.

    11: The British Orders in Council requires all neutral shipping to pass through British ports, where the vessels must obtain a license and pay duty on the cargo before preceding to any European port controlled by Napoleon. Any neutral vessel failing to adhere to this edict is subject to seizure.
    27: With Napoleon's army invading Portugal, the Portuguese royal family and the court (nearly 15,000 people) depart Lisbon for Brazil.

    December 22: Congress passes the Embargo Act, which prohibits all exports to foreign ports. Foreign ships may still put in at American ports, but when they set sail, their cargo holds must be empty.
    • United States bans the importation of slaves.
    • France invades Spain.
    February 11: Anthracite coal is experimentally burned as fuel for the first time. The test occurs in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

    March 23: Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother, takes the Spanish throne
    • The Chinese pirate confederation ends.
    • British forces (based in India) destroy the pirate stronghold at Ras al-Khaimah.

    January 1: Congress makes the importation of slaves illegal.

    March 1: Congress repeals the Embargo Act of 1807. The Non-Intercourse Act, prohibiting American ships from trading with Britain and France, is instituted.

    April: Governor-General Bai Ling institutes ancient strategy known as “extermination and appeasement” (military campaigns plus amnesty and rewards) to pirates who surrender in China.

    June 10: An American steamboat leaves New York for Philadelphia, making it the first ocean voyage of a steamboat for the United States.


    • 13: Ned Jordan and others take control of the Three Sisters and become pirates.
    • 21: September
    • Zheng Yi Sao (Cheng I Sao) captures seven British seamen, including Richard Glasspole, who later writes of his experiences during his captivity.
    October: Cai Qian dies during battle with Chinese imperial navy.

    November 24: Ned Jordan hangs.

    December 30: Boston, Massachusetts forbids the wearing of masks at balls.

    Jean Laffite becomes leader of the Baratarians.

    February: The Chinese government offers pirates amnesty.

    April: Zheng Yi Sao and Zhang Bao, with over 17,000 pirates, surrender.

    September 16: Father Miguel Hidalgo Y Costilla sparks a revolt in Mexico when he galls for the end of Spanish rule, equality for all, and redistribution of the land.

    October 1: The first Oktoberfest is celebrated in Munich, Germany as a horse race in honor of the crown prince's marriage.

    December 22: HM Frigate Minotaur sinks. All 480 aboard die.


    January 10: Slaves rebel in Louisiana.

    February 5: After King George III is deemed insane, his son George is appointed Prince-Regent. Later, he will become George IV upon his father's death.

    March 1: King Muhammed Ali Pasha of Egypt presides over the ceremonial murder of 500 people.

    April 11: Napoleon abdicates and is exiled to Elba.

    May 11: British Prime Minister Spencer Percival is assassinated by John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons.

    July 5: Venezuela is the first republic in Spanish America.

    August 19: In an engagement off the coast of Nova Scotia, the USS Constitution defeats HMS Guerrière and earns the nickname "Old Ironsides" when the British shot bounces off the American's hull.

    October 19: Napoleon retreats from Russia. At the time, the French army is starving. The retreat is disastrous, suffering harassment from the Russians. After forcing their way across the Studienka, Napoleon burned the makeshift bridges, an act that stranded around 10,000 stragglers on the wrong side of the river. When the army finally escaped Russia on 14 December, it has lost more than 400,000 men during the invasion.

    •  7: Battle of Tippicanoe, which pushes Tecumseh and his followers to ally themselves with the British in the upcoming War of 1812. William Henry Harrison destroys Prophet's Town.
    • 11: Cartagena declares its independence from Spain.
    December 16: An earthquake hits New Madrid, Missouri, causing widespread damage.
    The Order in Council brings sweeping changes to naval chaplains' status and financial arrangements in the Royal Navy. That edict becomes known as the "Chaplain's Charter."

    February 7: An earthquake along the New Madrid Fault becomes one of the largest earthquakes in American history.

    March 26: An earthquake, measuring 7.7 on the Richter Scale, destroys 90% of Caracas, Venezuela. Between 15,000 and 20,000 people die.

    • 1: Congress reopens trade with Great Britain and France.
    • 11: Prime Minister Perceval of Great Britain is assassinated.
    18:The United States declares war on Great Britain. It is the closest vote on a formal declaration of war in American history. Members in the House of Representatives vote 79 to 49 for war, while the Senate votes 19 to 13.
    22 - August 4: Riots in Baltimore, Maryland
    23: The USS President engages HMS Belvidera in the opening battle of the War of 1812.
    24: When the French army crosses the Neman Rivar, Napoleon invades Russia.
    The Grande Armée numbers 600,000 men, but battle casualties, disease, and desertion will reduce that number to at most 100,000 soldiers when they enter Moscow three months later on 14 September. They find the capital abandoned and burned. Unable to find sufficient shelter and food for the winter, the army retreats on 19 October. When it reaches Poland on 14 December, only about 10,000 remain alive.
    17: The British capture Fort Michilimackinac on Lake Huron from the Americans.
    22: During the Peninsular War, the duke of Wellington defeats "40,000 Frenchmen in 40 minutes" at the Battle of Salamanca in Spain.
    • 13: Under the command of Captain David Port, the USS Essex captures HMS Alert -- the first ship captured by the Americans during the War of 1812.
    • 15: Potawatomi lays seige to Fort Dearborn. Captain William Hull evacuates, but most of the Americans are killed or captured within a few hours. Three days later Hull surrenders Fort Detroit to Major-General Isaac Brock. Having surrendered without a fight, Hull is brought before a court-martial and sentence to death. He receives a presidential pardon instead.
    • 19: USS Constitution, under the command of Captain Isaac Hull, destroys HMS Guerriere during a fifteen-minute battle. When British shot “bounced” of the Constitution’s hull, she earns the nickname “Old Ironsides.” This is the first major sea battle of the war.
    14: Great Fire of Moscow. Russians burn their city as they retreat with the approach of Napoleon and French forces. The city burns for five days. 75% of the city is destroyed and 12,000 die.
    15: The French army arrives at the Kremlin in Moscow.
    13: Britain declares war on the United States. The first major battle of the War of 1812, the Battle of Queenston Heights, is fought near Queenston, Ontario. The invading Americans eventually surrendered to the British. During the battle Major-General Isaac Brock, lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, is killed while leading a charge. American Lieutenant Colonel Winfield Scott is captured.
    19: French Army withdraws from Russia. The disastrous retreat will last until December 14.
    22: Joshua Barney, aboard the privateer schooner Rossie, returns to Baltimore after capturing eighteen British vessels valued at $1.5 million since his departure from the port in July.
    14: Napoleon's invasion of Russia ends. As many as 530,000 French soldiers died during this invasion.
    20: Publication of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm's Grimms' Fairy Tales
    26: The Lordships of the British Admiralty call for "a complete and vigorous Blockade" of the United States.
    29: After a three-hour battle, the USS Constitution captures HMS Java off Brazil. The American commander is Captain William Bainbridge.
    John Barss, Jr., commander of the privateer Liverpool Packet, captured.

    January 21: Pineapple is introduced to Hawaii.

    February 6: Great Britain proclaims blockade of Delaware and Chesapeake Bays.


    3: Congress passes the Foreign Seamen's Act, which stipulates that once the war ends, all foreigners will no longer be permitted to serve aboad any American ship. Congress also authorizes any citizen to attack an armed British vessel without a privateering commission; if a person sank a British vessel, that person would be paid one half of the ship's value.
    15: The USS Essex arrives at Valparaiso, Chile and becomes the first American warship to enter the Pacific.

    April 27: American army and naval forces capture York, the provincial capital of Canada.


    3: British Admiral Cockburn continues his pillaging of the Chesapeake and attacks Havre de Grace, Maryland.
    26: Great Britains extends its blockade of the American coast to major ports in the middle and southern states.
    29: The British attack the American naval base at Sackets Harbor, New York, but are turned back.


    1: HMS Shannon defeats USS Chesapeake. Captain James Lawrence is fatally wounded. His dying command: Don't give up the ship!
    21: Soldiers of the British, Portuguese, and Spanish armies rout the French at Vitoria, Spain, bringing an end to the Peninsular War, which began as a result of Napoleon's invasion of Portugal in 1808. The allies are led by General Arthur Wellesley, who will later become the Duke of Wellington.


    10: British forces attack St. Michaels, Maryland.
    27: Battle of Dresden results in Napoleon's defeat of the Austrians.
    30: Red Eagle (William Weatherford) leads the Red Sticks in an attack on Fort Mims on the Alabama River. 400 of the 500 people in the fort are massacred.
    7: The Troy Post of New York uses "Uncle Sam" to refer to the United States for the first time.
    10: Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry commands the American squadron on Lake Erie that captures an entire British squadron at Put-in-Bay, Ohio.
    5: Tecumseh, a Shawnee chief, dies at the Battle of the Thames during the War of 1812. The British army and some 1,000 Indian allies are defeated by the the United States.
    16-18: Battle of Leipzig. 120,000 men are killed or wounded, nearly half of which are French. Napoleon retreats, but refuses to admit defeat.
    23: First plastic surgery performed in England.


    9: Major General Andrew Jackson attacks the Creeks at Talladega, Alabama. Jackson won't defeat the Creeks until his forces rout them at Horseshoe Bend, Alabama on 27-28 March 1814.
    24: Governor William Claiborne of Louisiana issues a proclamation offering a $500 reward for the capture of Jean Laffite. Laffite counters with a $1000 bounty for the governor's deliverance to Laffite at Bartaria.


    27: US Schooner Carolina blows up after being hit by a British bombardment during the series of engagements known as the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812.
    29: British troops set fire to Buffalo, New York during the War of 1812.
    30: A British packet arrives in Annapolis, Maryland with a request to begin peace negotiations.


    • Robert Fulton's Demolgos is the first steampowered warship.


    1: Lord Byron’s poem, "The Corsair," published. Ten thousand copies are sold on day one.
    11: Norway becomes independent.


    9: The Allies pass the Treaty of Chaumont, which pledges to return France to her prerevolutionary boundaries.
    27: Andrew Jackson attacks and defeats the Red Sticks at Horseshoe Bend.
    28: Captain James Hillyar of HMS Phoebe leads the attack against the USS Essex under the command of Captain David Porter.
    30: Paris, France surrenders to the Allies.


    11: Napoleon Bonaparte abdicates unconditionally.
    Great Britain extends its blockade of the American coast to include New England.

    28: Napoleon is exiled to Elba. This frees British regulars and their officers to deploy to the United States and Canada.

    May 30: European allies and France sign the 1st Treaty of Paris, suspending the Napoleonic Wars.

    July 25: The Battle of Lundy's Lane thwarts the American's attempt to invade Canada during the War of 1812.


    8: Peace negotiations between the United States and Great Britain begin in Ghent.
    9: Andrew Jackson forces the Creeks to sign the Treaty of Fort Jackson, which cedes 22,000,000 acres to the United States.
    19: The British land at Benedict, Maryland under the command of Major-General Robert Ross.
    24: After routing the American army at the Battle of Bladensburg, the British army marches into Washington, DC. They  torch the President's Mansion (known today as the White House), the Capitol, the Library of Congress, and other buildings. A hurricane or toronado also strikes the city, causing additional damage, but the rain douses the flames. The British evacuate the next day after burning more public buildings.
    27: Thomas Boyle, captain of the US privateer Chasseur proclaims a blockade of Great Britain and Ireland.
    3: HMS Sophie arrives at Barataria with a solicitation for Jean Laffite's help during the taking of New Orleans.
    12: An American sniper kills Major-General Ross at North Point, Maryland during an assault on Baltimore, Maryland.
    13: British bombardment of Fort McHenry, Maryland. It lasts until 7:00 the next morning. Held aboard one of the British ships, Francis Scott Key pens "The Star-Spangled Banner," which will become America's National Anthem.
    15: The British fleet arrives at the entrance to Mobile Bay.
    16: An American force, under command of Commodore Daniel Patterson, raids Barataria. It ceases to be a base for Jean Laffite's smuggling operations.
    26: British squadron attacks and sinks the American privateer General Armstrong, under the command of Captain Samuel Chester Reid, in a neutral port in the Azores.
    Privateer Chasseur of Baltimore returns to New York after capturing 18 ships during her first cruise.

    1: News of the burning of Washington, DC reaches the peace negotiators in Ghent.
    29: Fulton the First, the world's first warship powered by steam, is launched at New York City.

    1: Andrew Jackson attacks and occupies Pensacola, Florida, which belongs to the Spanish.
    26: The British fleet departs Negril, Jamaica, for a planned attack on New Orleans, Louisiana.
    1: Andrew Jackson arrives in New Orleans.
    11-12: Admiral Cochrane's fleet of 55 ships arrives off the entrance of Lake Borgne.
    16: Andrew Jackson declares martial law in New Orleans.
    23: The first engagement between the British and American armies begins with a night engagement on the Villere plantation outside of New Orleans.
    24: Treaty of Ghent signed in Belgium, but the War of 1812 won't officially end until both sides ratify the treaty. General Edward Pakenham arrives to take command of the British army at New Orleans.
    27: British artillery destroys the US schooner Carolina. Great Britain ratifies the Treaty of Ghent.
    1: Artillery duel between the British and American armies outside New Orleans.
    8: Jean Laffite and the Baratarians help the Americans defeat the British at the Battle of New Orleans -- neither side is aware that the war is over. Major-General Sir Edward Pakenham, the Duke of Wellington's brother-in-law, is killed during the battle.
    30: Thomas Jefferson sells his library of 6,500 volumes to re-establish the US Library of Congress after it was burned by the British the previous August.


    6: President James Madison grants full pardons to Jean Laffite and his men for their assitance in Battle of New Orleans.
    11: HMS Favorite arrives in New York City with the peace treaty.
    17: The United States Senate ratifies the Treaty of Ghent and President James Madison signs it, officially ending the War of 1812.
    23: President Madison asks Congress to declare war on Algiers.
    26: Napoleon escapes from Elba.


    3: President Madison signs the declaration of war on Algiers because of the Barbary Corsairs attacks on American ships.
    13: Official news of the end of the War of 1812 reaches New Orleans.
    20: Having escaped from Elba, Napoleon returns to Paris. This begins his 100-day rule.

    6: American prisoners of war at Dartmoor prison complain about poor conditions there. The British commandant orders his troops to fire on them, killing seven and wounding 54 others.
    10: Mount Tambora in the Dutch East Indies erupts. It is one of the strongest volcanic eruptions in history. Approximately 71,000 people are killed and the eruption causes a global volcanic winter.
    8: Thirty-nine German states unite under an Act of Confederation.
    17: USS Constellation engages in battle with and defeats a corsair frigate, whose legendary captain, Haimdou Rais, died in the engagement. Also the beginning of the Second Barbary War.

    18: Duke of Wellington defeats Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo in Belgium. 25,000 French die or are wounded in the battle. Another 9,000 are captured. About 23,000 of the Allies' forces are lost.
    22: Napoleon abdicates for the second time.
    28: A fleet of American naval vessels arrive in the Bay of Algiers. Commodore Stephen Decatur threatens to destroy the port unless Algiers agrees to peace and to cease attacking American ships.

    30: The last naval confrontation in the War of 1812 is fought between the Peacock and HMS Nautilus in the Indian Ocean. The Americans win. Stephen Decatur also brings about a cessation of attacks by Algerine pirates on American shipping.
    July 15: Napoleon surrenders to Captain Frederick Maitland of HMS Bellerophon at Rochefort, France after the emperor's defeat at Waterloo.

    August 6: A flotilla of US navy ships forces an end to Barbary piracy by Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli.

    October 15: Napoleon arrives on St. Helena, where he will live in exile.


    June 6: Ten inches of snow fall in New England. The phenomenon is part of what becomes known as the "year without a summer" after the volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia.

    The United Provinces of the Rió de la Plata declares its independence from Spain.
    2: The French frigate La Méduse runs aground off Cap Blanc on the west coast of Africa. The accident is caused by the incompetence of her captain, Duroy de Chaumereys. There were 419 passengers and crew aboard at the time. 250 evacuated the ship using the six lifeboats. Seventeen remained on the ship, but only three survived and were rescued two months later. 152 crew, soldiers, and 1 woman build and launch a raft that is poorly provisioned. Thirteen days later, only 15 of those survivors remain and are rescued. The rest died from starvation, rioting, madness, suicide, or cannibalism.
    August 27: Lord Exmouth bombards Algiers, a refuge for Barbary pirates.
    Jean Laffite returns to piracy and moves his base of operations to Galveston.
    February 7: Baltimore becomes the first American city to illuminate streets with gas lamps. The street lights are installed at Market and Lemon Streets (now known as Baltimore and Holliday).

    March 8: Creation of the New York Stock Exchange.

    November 25: The first sword swallower performs in the United States in New York City.


    Hippolyte de Bouchard attacks California's coast.

    January 1: The White House officially reopens following its destruction by the British in 1814. A small publisher in London publishes Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus. The author is listed as Anonymous, although her actual name is Mary Shelley.

    February 12: Chile gains its independence from Spain.

    April 14: Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language is published.

    October 9:
    The Washington Monument in Washington, DC, opens to the public. The marble-faced granite obelisk was built between 1848 and 1884.

    • British establish settlement at Singapore.
    • Simon Bolívar meets with others to forge a new nation called Gran Colombia, which is comprised of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, and Peru.
    March 2: The first law dealing with immigration is passed in the United States.

    August 16: Peterloo Massacre in Manchester, England occurs when the cavalry charges the demonstrators. Fifteen die and between 400 and 700 people are injured.

    September 17: The first whaling ship reaches Hawaii.
    • The U.S. Navy evicts Laffite from Galveston.
    • The United States and Royal Navies begin to eradicate piracy in the Caribbean.
    • Fifty-two attacks of piracy in the Florida Straits are reported.
    • Commodore James Barron kills Commodore Stephen Decature during a duel.
    April 8: Discovery of the ancient Greek statue Venus de Milo on the island of Milos.

    May 11: The HMS Beagle is launched.

    November 20:
    Whale ship Essex is rammed by an eight-ton sperm whale and later sinks. At the time, the ship is 2,000 miles west of South America. This incident will inspire a famous scene in Herman Melville's Moby Dick, which is published 31 years later.

    • Pierre Laffite dies from fever and wounds.
    • President Monroe establishes anti-piracy squadron under the command of David Porter.
    • Mexico gains independence from Spain.
      February 21: Nathaniel Gordon, master of the slave ship Erie, is hanged after being found guilty under the Piracy Law of 1820.

      The American navy forces Jean Laffite and his men are forced to set fire to Galveston and abandon this headquarters.

      July 28: Peru declares its independence from Spain.


        4: The first issue of the Saturday Evening Post is published. Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, leader of a Russian expedition to Antarctica, returns to Kronstadt after becoming the first person to circumnavigate Antarctica.
        24: Mexico gains its independence from Spain.

      • USS Enterprise captures 4 pirate ships off Cuba.
      • The USS Enterprise captures Charles Gibbs.
    November 9: The first pharmacy college in the United States, holds its first classes in Philadelphia.
    • First recorded account of pirates forcing captives to walk the plank: The crew of the Emanuel make William Smith, master of the Blessing walk the plank.
    • The United States recognizes Gran Colombia and Mexico as independent countries.
    • Brazil declares its independence from Portugal.

    February 12: Jean Laffite escapes from infirmary while prisoner in Porto Principe.

    June 9: Charles Graham of New York is granted a patent for false teeth made from porcelain.

    November: During a battle with the Cuban pirate named Domingo, the captain of the USS Alligator is killed. The public is outraged and President Monroe orders the formation of the
    “Mosquito Fleet” with Commodore David Porter tasked with cruising Caribbean waters and the Gulf of Mexico in search of pirates.

    The Mosquito Fleet begins patrolling the Caribbean with the intent to eradicate the pirates. The ships are based in Key West.
    February: Ten pirates, captured by HMS Tyne, are hanged at Kingston’s Port Royal Point.


    • Commodore David Porter defeats Cuban pirate known as Diabolito.
    • 20: Gaceta de Colombia publishes an account of Jean Laffite's death on February 5 during a sea battle in the Gulf of Honduras.
    December: President James Monroe announces the Monroe Doctrine. It essentially says that the Western Hemisphere remains off limits to European efforts to recolonize territories and that the United States will see any such attempt as a national threat. It is a bold foreign policy, even through the United States lacks the power to enforce it at this time.
    23: Troy Sentinel publishes Clement Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas.
    The United States recognizes the United Provinces and Brazil as independent countries.

    February 4: J. W. Goodrich introduces rubber galoshes.

    August 15:
    Freed American slaves establish Liberia.

    October 4: Mexico becomes a republic.
    January 18: Ezra Daggett and Thomas Kensett receive a patent for a process that allows food to be stored in tin cans.

    5: The first detachable shirt collar is invented. Its creator is Hannah Lord Montague of New York.
    12: The Creeks sign a treaty with the U.S. government. It requires the tribe to turn over all their land in Georgia to the government prior to migrating west by 1 September of the next year.
    2: USS Grampus battles El Mosquito, the schooner of pirate Roberto Cofresi. The pirate vessel is disabled, but Cofresi and his men escape ashore where they are eventually captured by local authorities.
    29: A firing squad executes Roberto Cofresi and his men.
    October 26: Official opening of the Erie Canal after eight years of construction. It connects the Great Lakes and New York City.
    Peru and Chile become independent states.

    July 4: Thomas Jefferson dies around noon on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. His friend, John Adams, dies several hours later believing that Jefferson is still alive.

    October 7: Granite Railway, the first chartered railroad in the United States, begins operating.

    November 27:
    John Walker of England invents the friction match.

    Benito de Soto leads a mutiny aboard an Argentinean slaver and goes on the account.

    February 27: New Orleans celebrates Mardi Gras for the first time. Participants, who are students, are masked and in costume.
    The U.S. erects a lighthouse on Smith Island at Cape Charles, the entrance to Chesapeake Bay.

    18: A storm strikes Gibraltar and destroys more than 100 vessels.
    19: Benito de Soto attacks the Morning Star. Several crewmembers are killed, the women passengers are raped, and the survivors are locked in the ship’s hold before the pirates set fire to the ship. The crew escapes and the survivors are rescued by a British merchantman. Benito de Soto would later be captured and hanged as a pirate.
    14: Noah Webster publishes An American Dictionary of the English Language.
    27: The London Zoo opens in Regent's Park.
    June 13: Simon Bolivar is proclaimed dictator.
    Lloyds of London removes the special tariff for ships sailing to and from the Caribbean, thus signalling that piracy is virtually eradicated in these waters.

    16: Ohio authorizes the first night classes for those wanting to graduate from high school.
    17: Joseph Grimaldi, a famous clown, delivers his final performance.
    25: Assassin fails to kill Simon Bolívar.
    29: London's Metropolitan Police, better known as Scotland Yard, is founded.
    4: Britain outlaws the custom of "suttee" (widow burning herself to death on husband's funeral pyre) in India.
    29: With the exception of Benito de Soto, the convicted pirates who attacked the Morning Star are hanged in Cadiz.
    French conquer Algiers, thus ending more than two centuries of state-sponsored piracy.

    January 25: Benito de Soto, the leader of the pirates who attacked the Morning Star, is executed at Gibraltar.

    April 6: Joseph Smith forms the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    May 3: Regular passenger service on a steam train begins.

    June 13: French forces lay siege to Algiers. Hassan Bashaw surrenders on July 4th and is exiled. Algiers becomes part of France's colonial empire.


    2: Charles X of France abdicates during the July Revolution.
    28: Tom Thumb, the first American locomotive, participates in a race against a horse-drawn vehicle from the Stockton & Stokes Stagecoach Company. The race begins in Baltimore and ends in Ellicott Mills, Maryland. The horse wins, but only because of a mechanical breakdown of the rail car.

    November 24: Charles Gibbs and others kill the captain and first mate of the Vineyard and go on the account.

    December 16: George Davis and William Watts are hanged at Execution Dock, Wapping. Their hangings are the last to take place there.

    March 9: King Louis-Philippe founds the French Foreign Legion to help control French colonies in Africa.

    April 22: Charles Gibbs executed for mutiny, murder, and piracy on Ellis Island.

    May 27: Jedediah Smith, a trapper and explorer of the West, is slain by Comanche hunters.

    August 21: Nat Turner, a former slave, leads an uprising against slavery. Sixty people die before a 3,000-man militia stops it. The hysteria that accompanied the uprising also leads to the death of many innocent slaves.

    November 11: Nat Turner is hanged in Virginia for leading an insurrection of enslaved.

    December 27:
    HMS Beagle sets sail from London to survey around South America. Among the passengers is Charles Darwin.
    September 20: Pedro Gilbert attacks the American brig Mexican. The pirates torture the master until he reveals where he hid $2,000 before locking the prisoners in the ship and setting it afire. One seaman escaped and freed the others.
    November 14: New York City's first horse-drawn streetcar begins operation, carrying passengers along 4th Avenue between Prince and 14th Streets for 12 cents.

    27: HMS Beagle sets sail. On board is Charles Darwin and the voyage will help shape his theory of evolution.
    28: Irreconcilable differences between President Andrew Jackson and Vice-President John C. Calhoun lead Calhoun to tender his resignation. He becomes the first vice-president to resign.
    June 6: Andrew Jackson becomes the first president to ride a railroad train. He boards the Iron Horse in Ellicott Mills, Maryland and travels to Baltimore.
    January 3: Stephen F. Austin is imprisoned in Mexico City.

    Pedro Gilbert and eleven others are tried in Boston on charges of piracy. Five are acquitted, while Gilbert and the others are sentenced to death. Bernardo de Soto, the mate of the Panda, is pardoned by President Andrew Jackson the following year.
    25: For twelve cents, customers at Delmonico's can dine on soup, steak, coffee, and half a pie. It is one of the finest restaurants in New York City.
    January 30: The first attempted assassination of an American President. Richard Lawrences shoots at Andrew Jackson, but the gun misfires.

    May 8: Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales is first published.

    June 2: P. T. Barnum and his circus begin their first tour in the United States.

    11: Francisco Ruiz, one of the Spanish pirates convicted of piracy against the Mexican, becomes the last pirate hanged in the United States.
    15: HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin arrive at the Galapagos Islands.
    • British adopt anti-piracy suppressions measures around Singapore.
    • Edward Lloyd publishes History of the Pirates, making mention for the first time of Charlotte de Berry.

    • February

        General Santa Anna of Mexico lays seige to the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. His army captures it 13 days later.
        25: Samuel Colt obtains a patent for the first multi-shot revolving-cylinder revolver. This allows a firearm to fire multiple times without reloading.


      2: The Republic of Texas declares its independence from Mexico.
      6: After a siege of thirteen days, between 1,500 and 3,000 Mexican soldiers breech the Alamo and kill between 182 and 257 Texans. Among the dead at the Battle of the Alamo are William Travis, Jim Bowie, and Davy Crockett.
      27: 417 Texas revolutionaries are executed by the Mexican army at Goliad.

      April 21: Sam Houston and fellow Texans defeat Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. It paves the wave for Texas's independence from Mexico.

      May 19: A raiding band of Comanche, Kiowa, and Caddo men kidnap 9- or 10-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker from her Texas home. Five family members die in the attack. She is raised by the Comanche and stays with them for 25 years until Texas Rangers recaptured her against her will.

      September 5: Sam Houston is elected first President of the Republic of Texas.

      October 22: Sam Houston is sworn in as the first President of the Republic of Texas.

      December 28: Spain recognizes Mexico as an independent nation.

    Charles Ellms publishes The Pirates Own Book.

    May 19: James Morgan is hanged for murdering Captain Smith of the schooner William Wirt at sea. It is the last public execution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    June 20: Queen Victoria ascends the British throne. She is 18 years old and will rule for 63 years.

    August 28: John Lea and William Perrins, both pharmacists, manufacture Worcestershire Sauce.
    November 15: Isaac Pitman introduces his shorthand system.
    January 6: Samuel Morse demonstrates how his telegraph machine works.

    April 8: Great Western, the first transatlantic steamer to make regular runs between Bristol, England and New York City, embarks on her maiden voyage.

    June 28:
    Victoria is crowned queen of England.

    August 1: The majority of the British Empire abolishes apprenticeships and former slaves are no longer indentured to their former owners.

    September 3: Disguised as a sailor, Frederick Douglass escapes from slavery.

    December 16: Three thousand Zulus die at the Battle of Blood River in South Africa.
    January 2: Louis Daguerre, a French photographer, takes the first picture of the moon. Seven days later he announces his invention of the daguerreotype, the first commercially successful form of photography.

    July 2: Slaves aboard Amistad revolt and gain their freedom. They stand trial the following year as mutineers, but are acquitted.

    August 23: British capture Hong Kong.

    September 5:
    The First Opium War begins in China. It lasts for three years.
    October 15: Queen Victoria proposes to her cousin, Prince Albert.

    November 25: A cyclone hits southeastern India. The high winds and a storm surge of forty feet destroy Corina and 20,000 ships. Around 300,000 people die.

    1: Great Britain issues the first adhesive postage stamp. It becomes known as the "Penny Black."
    22: The transportation of British convicts to New South Wales is abolished.
    June 20: Samuel Morse receives a patent for the telegraph.
    • British occupy Hong Kong.
    • James Brook puts down a rebellion in Sarawak. The Sultan of Brunei rewards him with the governorship of Sarawak, and Brook styles himself the first of the "White Rajas." He then begins hunting down Sea Dayaks and Malays, eventually ending piracy in the region.
    5: The first continuous filibuster begins in the United States Senate. It lasts until 11 March.
    9: The United States Supreme Court rules that the slaves of the Spanish schooner Amistad are free.
    4: President William Henry Harrison succumbs one month after taking the presidential oath, becoming the first president to die in office.
    14: Edgar Allan Poe publishes the first detective story. It is entitled "The Murders in the Rue Morgue."

    July 5: Thomas Cook opens his first travel agency.

    November 25: The slave ship Amistad returns to Africa with 35 survivors of the mutiny.

    The First Opium War ends. China cedes Hong Kong to the British in the Treaty of Nanjing.
    14: The world's first weekly illustrated newspaper, the Illustrated London News, is published.
    30: John Francis tries to assaassinate Queen Victoria.
    June 15: John C. Fremont and Kit Carson set off to explore what becomes known as the Oregon Trail.

    November 4: Abraham Lincoln weds Mary Todd.

    Shap-'ng-Tsai establishes a smuggling and pirate base at Tien Pai

    May 22: Between 700 and 1,000 people depart Independence, Missouri for Oregon on the first wagon train.

    June 26: Hong Kong becomes a British colony.

    July 2: During a thunderstorm in Charleston, South Carolina, an alligator falls from the sky. It is thought that the creature was picked up by a waterspout and flew ashore until being released by the maelstrom.
    December 19: Charles Dickens publishes A Christmas Carol.
    Zheng Yi Sao passes away at the age of sixty. After her retirement from piracy, she ran a gambling house.

    May 5: Fire sweeps through Hamburg, Germany and burns for 100 hours.

    6: The Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) is founded in London by George Williams.
    15: Charles Goodyear receives a patent for vulcanizing rubber.
    27: Founder of the Mormon church, Joseph Smith is murdered by an armed mob in Carthage, Illinois.
    3: The last two Great Auks are killed.
    30: Saladin pirates hang.
    August 8: The Mormon Church selects Brigham Young as its head.
  • Chui App joins Shap’n’gtzai’s pirate fleet and soon becomes his lieutenant.
  • The White Rajah of Sarawak, James Brooke, attacks the main enclave of Indonesian pirates.
  • January 29: First publication of "The Raven," a poem by Edgar Allan Poe.

    March 1: President John Tyler signs the resolution that annexes the Republic of Texas to the United States.

    May 3: The Massachusetts bar admits the its first African-American attorney. His name is Macon B. Allen. In Canton, Ohio, a fire breaks out in a theater, killing 1,600 people.

    August 28: First issue of Scientific American is published.

    10: The United States Naval Academy is founded at Annapolis, Maryland to train and educate officers.
    13: Texas ratifies a state constitution.
    December 29: Texas joins the United States, becoming the 28th state. Congresses annexation sparks the Mexican War.
    February 21: Sarah G. Bagley becomes the first American woman telegrapher. She works in Lowell, Massachusetts.

    12: The Donner party departs Independence, Missouri, to settle in California. They become trapped in the Sierra Nevada during a winter storm. Their food runs out and they resort to cannibalism in order to survive.
    13: The United States declares war on Mexico, two months after fighting begins between the two countries.
    21: The first steamship arrives in Hawaii.
    15: The United States and Britain sign the Oregon Treaty, which establishes the border between the US and Canada at latitude 49 degrees North.
    28: Antoine-Joseph "Adolfe" Sax patents the saxophone.
    10: The Smithsonian Institution is founded in Washington, DC.
    14: Refusing to pay taxes, Henry David Thoreau is imprisoned.
    15: Canadian and American representatives sign the Oregon Treaty, which establishes the 49th parallel from the Rocky Mountains to the Strait of Georgia as the boundary between their two countries. This treaty makes the land that will become Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana to the United States, while Great Britain gets Vancouver Island and the right to navigate part of the Columbia River. (The parallel from the Rocky Mountains east to Lake of the Woods had already been settled as the border between the two countries in 1818.)
    10: Elias Howe receives a patent for the lock stitch sewing machine.
    12: Poets Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett elope, even though her father believed Browning to be a fortune hunter. They lived happily until her death in 1861 when she died in his arms.
    30: Ether is used to anesthetize a patient for the first time when Dr. William Morton, an American dentist, extracts a patient's tooth.
    16: William Thomas Green Morton demonstrates the use of ether as a general anesthetic for the first time before a group of doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
    31: Unable to cross the Rockies, the Conner party constructs at winter camp at what eventually becomes known as Donner Pass.
    January 4: The United States government purchases Samuel Colt's first revolver pistol.

    March 1: Michigan abolishes the death penalty, becoming the first English-speaking jurisdiction to do so. The only exception is a charge of treason against the state.

    May 3: During the Mexican-American War, the Mexican Army lays siege to Fort Texas near Brownsville.

    10: The Chicago Tribune begins publication.
    14: Robert Bunsen invents the Bunsen burner.

    1: The first US postage stamps go on sale in New York City: the 5¢ Benjamin Franklin stamp and the 10¢ George Washington stamp.
    24: Brigham Young and his followers arrive at Salt Lake City, Utah.
    September 13: US General Winfield Scott captures Mexico City during the Mexican-American War.

    November 10: In a thick fog the Stephen Whitney wrecks off the Irish coast. Of the 110 passengers and crew aboard, 92 die. As a result of this disaster Fastnet Rock lighthouse is built.

    January 24: James Wilson Marshall, a carpenter, finds gold nuggets near John Sutter's sawmill in California.

    2: The first ship carrying Chinese immigrants arrives in San Francisco. The Mexican American War ends with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The United States acquires Texas, California, New Mexico, and Arizona for $15,000,000.
    21: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish The Communist Manifesto in London.
    March 12: The Second Republic is established in France.

    13: An iron rod shoots through Phineas Gage's brain. The railroad foreman loses much of his left frontal lobe, but survives with no lasting physical damage. Some claim that his personality changes.
    14: Alexander Stewart opens the first department store in the United States.
    November 1: Boston Female Medical College, the first such school in the United States, holds classes for the first time.

    December 5: President James K. Polk addresses Congress. During this annual message, he confirms the discovery of gold in California, which helps spark the 1849 California Gold Rush.
    • California gold rush.
    • Japanese Lord Asakawa Kanae, daimyo of Hizen, orders the compilation of a biography on Koxinga.
    January 23: Elizabeth Blackwell earns her medical degree and becomes the first American to do so.

    14: President James K. Polk sits for his photograph, which is taken by Matthew Brady. He becomes the first serving president to have his picture taken.
    28: First boat carrying prospectors for the gold rush arrives in San Francisco from the East Coast.
    12: First prospectors arrive in Nicaragua on their way to California to seek gold.
    29: Niagara Falls ceases to flow for thirty hours because of an ice jam.
    April 10: Walter Hunt patents the safety pin. He sells the rights to the safety pin for $400.

    May 17: Fire breaks out aboard the steamboat White Cloud in St. Louis, Missouri. More than 22 vessels are destroyed before the fire spreads to the city and burns 15 blocks.

    August 22: First air raid in history. Austria launches balloons without pilots against Venice.

    British navy destroys Chinese pirates led by Shap-'ng-Tsai. Over 1,800 pirates are killed and 58 vessels are sunk or captured.

    17: Harriet Tubman, accompanied by two of her brothers, walk away from slavery in Maryland. Harry and Ben decide to return to the plantation, but with the assistance of the Underground Railroad, Harriet escapes and after a 90-mile journey, she is free. She will become a conductor on the Underground Railroad and return to the South many times to lead others to freedom.
    3: Edgar Allan Poe is found delirious on a Baltimore, Maryland street. He succumbs four days later.
    6: Known as the Martyrs of Arad, thirteen generals are executed for their participation in the Hungarian Revolution, which began in the prior year.
    Shap-'ng-Tsai accepts a pardon and becomes an officer in the Imperial Chinese Navy.

    28: The process of dry-cleaning is discovered after M. Jolly-Bellin accidentally knocks over a lamp containing turpentine and oil on his clothes and sees how the liquid cleans them.

    July 9: President Zachary Taylor dies sixteen months after taking office.

    1: Opera star Jenny Lind arrives in New York at the behest of PT Barnum.
    28: Flogging is banned aboard U. S. naval and merchant ships.

    April 23: Canada issues its first postage stamps.

    May 3: Fire sweeps through San Francisco, destroying between 1,500 and 2,000 buildings.

    2: The first prohibition law outlawing alcohol goes into effect in the United States in Maine.
    5: The National Era begins publishing in serial format Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. It is the first time that the anti-slavery novel is published.
    15: Baltimore diaryman Jacob Fassell sets up the first ice cream factory.
    July 24: The window tax in Britain is abolished.

    12: Isaac Merit Singer receives a patent for a sewing machine.
    US schooner America beats British yacht Aurora in first America's Cup.
    Gold is discovered in Australia.

    November 14: Harper & Brothers publishes Herman Melville's Moby Dick.
    January 1: Postage stamps are issued in the Netherlands for the first time.

    March 20: Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin is published.

    April 29: Peter Roget publishes the first edition of his thesaurus, Roget's Thesaurus.
    January 4: Solomon Northrup is freed legally after it is proven that he was a free Black man who had been kidnapped and sold into slavery. He later writes about his time as a slave in Twelve Years a Slave.

    March 5: The Steinway and Sons Piano Company is founded in New York City.

    6: The first railroad disaster in the United States occurs in Norwalk, Connecticut. Forty-six die.
    14: Gail Borden receives a patent for processing condensed milk. Aside from being an inventor, he is also a land surveyor and newspaper publisher.
    8: Commodore Matthew Perry and his squadron of 4 vessels arrive in Tokyo Bay, making the United States the first Western nation to establish relations with Japan since foreigners aside from the Dutch and Chinese were forbidden to enter the country a century before.

    21: The state legislature of New York sets aside more than 750 acres on Manhattan Island to create Central Park.
    25: California Rangers kill Joaquin Murrieta, a bandit known as "Robin Hood of El Dorado."
    September 15: Antoinette Blackwell becomes the first American woman ordained as a minister.
    October 4: The Ottoman Turks declare war on Russia, sparking what becomes the Crimean War. England and France will eventually join the fight, which lasts more than two years before Russia is defeated.
    March 1: The SS City of Glasgow sails from Liverpool. The ship and her crew of 480 passengers and crew are never seen again.

    20: Battle of the Alma, the first major battle of the Crimean War. British and French troops defeat the Russians.
    27: The Arctic, a luxury passenger ship with a wooden hull, and the iron-hulled steamer Vesta collide off the Newfoundland coast in heavy and sudden fog. 322 people are killed.
    17: The Siege of Sevastopol begins during the Crimean War.
    Florence Nightingale and 38 nurses are sent to the Crimean War.
    25: Charge of the Light Brigade during the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. More than 100 die.
    December 8: Pope Pius IX proclaims Mary, free of Original Sin, when he announces that her pregnancy occurs because of Immaculate Conception.
    January 9: Guiding Star, a clipper ship, vanishes in the Atlantic. 480 people are assumed dead.

    August 4: John Bartlett publishes his Familiar Quotations.
    • Paris Declaration Respecting Maritime Law outlaws privateering. The United States chooses not to sign, which allows this government to continue to issue letters of marque to privateers during times of war.
    • The United States adopts a standard passport system.
    February 20: Packet ship John Rutledge sinks in North Atlantic after striking ice berg. Only one survivor, Thomas Nye, is rescued by Germania. During first three months of year, nearly 830 passengers and crew go missing in North Atlantic because of unusual amount of ice floating farther south than usual.

    March 30: Russia signs the Treaty of Paris, ending the Crimean War.

    21: Pro-slavery forces sack Lawrence, Kansas.
    24: John Brown and abolitionist settlers kill five pro-slavery settlers at Pottawatomie, Kansas.
    9: 500 Mormons depart Iowa for Sal Lake City, Utah.
    17: The Republican Party opens its first national convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    October 8: Chinese officials board the Arrow, a British-registered ship, and arrest several Chinese members of the crew in Guangzhou (Canton). Although these men are later released, this incident contributes to the Second Opium War.

    • Chinese pirates along coast of Vietnam kidnap seaman Edward Brown.
    • Bully Hayes, an opium smuggler, captures Eli Boggs, an American and notorious pirate on South China coast.
    • Iranun pirates capture Colonel Ibanez y Garcia of Spain in Philippine waters.
    18: Chinese residents of Sarawak rebel against James Brooke, who is known as the "White Rajah."
    21: Congress passes legislation that outlaws foreign currency as legal tender in the United States.
    3: France and the United Kingdom declare war on China. The conflict becomes known as the Second Opium War.
    6: The US Supreme Court makes slavery legal in all US territories in the Dred Scott decision.
    Elisha Otis installs his first elevator at 488 Broadway in New York City.
    June 27: During the mutiny of Indian sepoys, 120 British women and children are massacred at Bibighar during the siege of Cawnpore.

    November 9: Atlantic Monthly begins publication.

    11: Fourteen-year-old Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes, France experiences her first vision of the Virgin Mary.
    21: The first electric burglar alarm is installed by Edwin T. Holmes. It is located in Boston, Massachusetts.
    March 30: Hymar L. Lipman of Philadelphia patents the first pencil with an attached eraser.

    2: The East India Company transfers the governing of India to the British Crown.
    21: The first debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas takes place in Illinois.

    26: Patent for a rotary washing machine awarded to Hamilton Smith.
    28: The first Macy's store opens at 6th Avenue in New York City. Gross receipts for the day total $11.06.
    February 25: First time a plea of insanity is used to prove innocence.

    March 21: Scottish National Gallery opens in Scotland.

    April 25: Construction on the Suez Canal begins. Upon its completion ten years later it will connect the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

    May 31: Big Ben, the clock in Elizabeth Tower, which overlooks the Houses of Parliament in London, England, tolls for the first time.

    June 30: Charles Blondin, a French acrobat, crosses Niagra Falls while walking on a tightrope. He is the first person to accomplish this feat.

    July 12: William Goodale of Massachusetts receives a patent for a machine that manufactures paper bags.

    August 27: First successful oil well drilled near Titusville, Pennsylvania.

    1: First Pullman sleeping rail car goes into service.
    2: Gas lighting is introduced to Hawaii.
    20: George Simpson receives a patent for the electric range.
    October 16: John Brown leads a raid on the federal arsenal at Harper's Ferry in Virginia.
    2: John Brown is found guilty of murder, conspiring slaves to revolt, and treason. He is sentenced to hang.
    12: Jules Léotard performs the first flying trapeze act without a net in Paris, France. He wears a one-piece garment that soon becomes popular and is named for him.
    24: Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection is published.
    December 2: John Brown, an abolitionist, is hanged for murder, treason, and inciting slaves to revolt at Charles Town, Virginia.

    (Circa) The Little Ice Age ends.

    April 3: Pony Express begins operations. The riders carry mail between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento, California on horseback. The relay journey covers 1,800 miles.

    May 18: The Republican Party nominates Abraham Lincoln for president.

    June 9: Malaseka, the Indian Wife of the White Hunter becomes the first "dime novel" published in the United States. The author is Mrs. Ann Stevens.

    September 8: Lady Elgin, an excursion steamer, is rammed during a storm on Lake Michigan and sinks. About 300 lives are lost, making it the largest loss of life on the Great Lakes.

    15: Grace Bedell, who is 11 years old, writes a letter to Abraham Lincoln in which she suggests he grow a beard.
    18: The Second Opium War ends. British troops pillage and torch Yuanmingyuan, the summer palace of the Manchu emperors since the previous century.
    November 6: Abraham Lincoln is elected as the 16th President of the United States.

    20: South Carolina secedes from the Union.
    26: First steamship owned by one man, Cornelius Vanderbilt, makes her maiden voyage.
    28: Harriet Tubman reaches Auburn, New York. After eight years of evading capture, this is her last trip on the Underground Railroad to free slaves.
    A joint force of Royal Navy and Dutch warships sent to eradicate piracy in the Malay Archipelago.

    January 15: Elisha Otis patents the steam elevator.

    4: Jefferson Davis is elected President of the Confederacy.
    18: Jefferson Davis is sworn in as president of the Confederacy in Montgomery, Alabama.
    3: Tsar Alexander II signs the Emancipation Manifesto, freeing Russian serfs and granting them full rights of free citizens.
    17: Italy becomes a unified country uncountry under Victor Emmanuel II.
    12: The Confederacy fires on Fort Sumter, launching the start of the American Civil War. It falls the next day after a bombardment that lasts for 34 hours.
    17: Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, invites Southerners to request letters of marque that will permit privateering against Northern shipping.
    President Lincoln orders the blockade of Confederate ports.
    May 5: The U. S. Naval Academy moves from Newport, Rhode Island to Annapolis, Maryland.

    July 21: The First Battle of Bull Run, also known as the Battle of First Manassas, takes place near Manassas, Virginia during the American Civil War. The Confederates win.

    August 5: The US Army bans flogging. Abraham Lincoln signs the Revenue Act, imposing a 3 percent tax for the first time on incomes over $800.

    9: Sally Tompkins, a nurse, receives a commission as a cavalry captain in the Confederate Army. She is the only female commissioned officer in that army.
    13: First naval battle of the American Civil War. The Union frigate Colorado sinks a Confederate privateer off Pensacola, Florida.
    24: A telegram is sent across the United States, becoming the first transcontinental telegram. This new means of communication between opposite coasts is far faster than the Pony Express, which makes that entity unnecessary.
    26: After nineteen months of operation, the Pony Express ends.
    2: Harper's Bazaar, a women's fashion magazine begins publication.
    6: Jefferson Davis is elected as president of the Confederacy.
    January 1: The United States levies its first income tax. Those earning less than $600 must pay a 3% tax; those earning over $10,000 must pay 5%.

    February 1: Julia Howe publishes "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

    9: USS Monitor and CSS Virginia, two ironclads, clash at Hampton Roads, Virginia during the American Civil War.

    April 6: The Union Army defeats the Confederates at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. It becomes the Battle of Shiloh.

    May 11: Confederates scuttle CSS Virginia off Norfolk, Virginia.

    12: The Medal of Honor is created for the US Army. It is awarded for bravery on the battlefield.
    14: The regular spirit ratio on ships of the U. S. Navy is banned by an act of Congress.
    4: First collection of income tax in the United States. Three percent of incomes exceeding $800 are subject to the tax.
    6: The crew of the CSS Arkansas blow up the Confederate ironclad after suffering mechanical problems in the battle with the USS Essex on the Mississippi River.
    Captain Raphael Semmes sets sail aboard on the CSS Alabama to become the most successful and notorious of the commerce raiders during the American Civil War.

    29: Second Battle of Bull Run begins in Manassas, Virginia. The Confederates win the next day.
    1: The American government levies a tax on tobacco.
    5: General Robert E. Lee and his army cross the Potomac River into Maryland.
    15: Confederate General Stonewall Jackson and his troops capture Harpers Ferry, the Union arsenal. More than 12,500 prisoners are taken, making this the largest Union surrender during the American Civil War.
    The bloodiest day of fighting during the American Civil War occurs at the Battle of Antietam (also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg) in Maryland. It is the first battle fought on Union soil and it is estimated that there were more than 26,000 casualties (killed, wounded, and missing/captured).
    23: Newspapers in the north publish President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.
    December 26: First US navy hospital ship
    The Track of Fire; or, A Cruise with the Pirate Semmes, a dime novel about the infamous commerce raider of the Confederacy, is published.

    1: President Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, which frees the slaves in Confederate states.
    3: James Plimpton received the first patent for roller skates with four wheels.
    February 26: President Abraham Lincoln signs the National Currency Act. This authorizes a single currency for the country.

    March 19: During her maiden voyage, CSS Georgiana, sinks. The cruiser carries munitions and medicines valued at $1,000,000 at the time.

    2: During an attack on Chancellorsville, Virginia, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson is wounded by his own soldiers.
    18: Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi begins.
    2: Harriet Tubman leads Union guerillas into Maryland on a raid to free slaves.
    24: Under the command of General Robert E. Lee, the Confederate Army crosses the Potomac. Their destination is to invade Pennsylvania.
    1: First shots fired at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania during the American Civil War. Union forces, under General George Meade, defeated General Robert E. Lee's Confederate forces after three days of fighting. Also, forty-nine cities in the United States begin delivering mail for free. The postage, though, costs 3¢ per ounce.
    3: The Battle of Gettysburg ends after three days of intense fighting, resulting in more than 50,000 casualties. It is a major victory for the Union Army.
    15: The Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley transported to Charleston, South Carolina via the railroad.
    21: William Quantrill leads a deadly raid on Lawrence, Kansas.
    September 5: A bread revolt occurs in Mobile, Alabama.

    2: Charles Darwin's five-year voyage of scientific exploration ends when HMS Beagle returns to England.
    3: President Abraham Lincoln makes the last Thursday in November Thanksgiving Day.
    15: During a test run, the Confederate submarine Hunley sinks, The inventor and seven crew members die.
    19: Four months after the three-day battle in which 45,000 men died, were wounded or taken captive, or went missing, President Abraham Lincoln delivers an address at the dedication of a military cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
    23: A patent is granted for a process that allows the making of color photographs. The Battle of Chattanooga begins during the US Civil War.
    17: The Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley plants a 135-pound torpedo into the Union sloop-of-war Housatonic, which sinks. Only five crewmen die. Those aboard the Hunley, however, also die after the submarine disappears just outside Charleston, South Carolina's harbor. Hunley is the first submarine to sink an enemy ship.
    27: Union prisoners of war are incarcerated at what will become an infamous Confederate prison known as Andersonville for the first time.
    March 9: Ulysses S. Grant is appointed commander of the Union Army.

    April 9: Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, a Union surgeon, is captured by Confederate soldiers and arrested as a spy.

    5: Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia. It lasts for three days and is the first engagement in which forces under General Ulysses S. Grant face off against those of General Robert E. Lee.
    11: General J.E.B. Stuart is mortally wounded at Yellow Tavern during the Civil War.
    3: The second Battle of Cold Harbor results in the loss of around 7,000 Union soldiers, under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant, during the American Civil War. It is considered one of the worst Northern defeats of the war.
    15: Robert E. Lee's Arlington, Virginia estate becomes the United States' first national cemetery.
    19: USS Kearsage sinks CSS Alabama, a commerce raider captained by Raphael Semmes and responsible for the capture of 66 ships over a three-year period, off Cherbourg, France. More than 20 Union warships were involved in the for Alabama, but Kearsage engaged her in a spectacular battle after France refused to allow Semmes to put into a dry dock to overhaul the vessel.
    14: Gold is discovered in Helena, Montana.
    15: A train carrying Confederate prisoners collides with a coal train. Of the 955 men aboard, 65 die and 109 are injured.

    5: Rear Admiral David Farragut leads the Union forces to victory at the Battle of Mobile Bay.
    15: Burning of Atlanta and beginning of General William Tecumseh Sherman's March to the Sea.


    2: Union General William T. Sherman captures and burns Atlanta, Georgia, during the American Civil War.
    4: John Hunt Morgan, leader of the Confederate guerrillas known as Morgan's Raiders, is killed by Federal troops.

    October 5: A cyclone destroys most of Calcutta, India. Around 60,000 people die.


    15: General William Tecumseh Sherman and his Union troops begin their March to the Sea from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia.
    25: A Confederate plot to burn New York City fails.
    Sand Creek Massacre. At least 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho noncombatants die.

    January 31: The United States abolishes slavery in passing the 13th Amendment.

    February 4: Robert E. Lee is named General-in-Chief of the Confederate Army.


    2: Confederate President Jefferson Davis is forced to flee Richmond, Virginia.
    9: General Robert E. Lee and 26,765
    Confederate troops surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomatax Court House in Virginia.
    14: John Wilkes Booth shoots President Abraham Lincoln while he and his wife are watching a play at Ford's Theater in Washington. Lincoln succumbs to his wound early the next morning.
    17: Mary Surratt is arrested as a conspirator in the assassination of the president.
    26: John Wilkes Booth dies at a Virginia farm.
    27: The SS Sultana, overloaded with more than 1,800 people -- many were former Union POWs returning home -- explodes, catches fire, and sinks on the Mississippi River. The majority of those aboard die. It becomes the worst maritime disaster in US history.


    5: First robbery of a train
    10: Union soldiers capture Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Georgia. He spent the next two years as a prisoner in Fort Monroe, Virginia, after being indicted for treason but never tried.
    13: The Battle of Palmito Ranch, near Brownsville, Texas, becomes the final engagement of the American Civil War. Private John Jefferson Williams of B Company, 34th Regiment of the Indiana Infantry is the last man killed in the war.


    6: After a skirmish with Union soldiers in Kentucky, a wounded William Quantrill dies. The leader of Quantrill's Raiders, an irregular force of Confederate soldiers that included Frank and Jesse James, had led the raid on Lawrence, Kansas two years earlier, killing any male, adult or child, that they saw. In all, at least 150 males died before the town was set afire.
    13: President Andrew Johnson proclaims reconstruction of the confederate states.
    19: Union General Gordon Granger declares that all slaves in Texas are free. This day eventually becomes known as Juneteenth, which is celebrated as the independence day of enslaved African Americans.
    22: CSS Shenandoah fires the last shot of the American Civil War. The vessel is in the Bering Strait at the time and does so to signal her surrender.
    30: Eight of the alleged conspirators in President Abraham Lincoln's assassination are found guilty.


    4: Lewis Carroll publishes Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
    5: The US Secret Service begins operating under the Treasury Department. Its initial directive is to help prevent counterfeiting.
    7: Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt are hanged for their participation in the conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln. Surratt becomes the first woman executed by the federal government.
    13: P. T. Barnum's museum burns down.
    14: Edward Whymper becomes the first person to climb the Matterhorn.

    August 22: William Sheppard receives the first US patent for liquid soap.

    October 9: The first underground oil pipeline is laid in Pennsylvania.


    6: After circumnavigating the world, the CSS Shenandoah is the last Confederate combat unit to surrender. During her cruise she sank or captured 37 vessels.
    11: T
    he US Army's first female surgeon, Mary Edward Walker, receives the Medal of Honor. She is first woman to receive the medal, which was rescinded in 1917 and later reinstated in 1977.


    18: Slavery is abolished in the United States with the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
    US Marines arrest Raphael Semmes for illegally escaping Union custody after surrendering the CSS Alabama, but four months later the prosecutor drops all charges and Semmes is released.
    29: William Lloyd Garrison, an abolitionist, publishes the last issue of The Liberator.

    13: Jesse James holds up a bank for the first time. He steals $15,000 from the Clay County Savings Association in Liberty, Missouri.
    21: Lucy B. Hobbs is the first American woman to earn a doctorate in dentistry surgery.
    1: Paraguayan canoes sink two Brazilian ironclads on the Rio Paraná during the War of the Triple Alliance.
    19: Monarch of the Sea, an immigrant ship, sinks in Liverpool, claiming 738 lives.
    28: First ambulance goes into service.
    4: Dmitry Karakozov attempts to assassinate Tsar Alexander II in St. Petersburg, Russia. Alexander narrowly escapes death.
    10: Philanthropist and diplomat Henry Bergh founds the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in New York City.
    May 16: The US Congress passes legislation to create a new coin, worth five cents and later to be known as the "nickel," and it is to be made from nickel and copper.

    August 11: The world's first roller skating rink opens in Newport, Rhode Island.

    6: First train robbery in the United States. The Reno Brothers steal $13,000.
    15: Fire destroys 2,500 homes in Quebec, Canada.
    December 21: During Red Cloud's War, a small party of Lakota and Cheyenne lead US Army soldiers of Fort Phil Kearny in Wyoming into an ambush, pitting 81 soldiers against 1,500 to 2,000 warriors from the Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes. All the soldiers are killed in what becomes known as Fetterman's Fight (or Massacre) or the Battle of the Hundred-in-the-Hands.
    Canadian provinces take steps to become a nation and severe some ties with Britain.

    February 1: Brick layers begin working eight-hour days.

    12: Last French troops leave Mexico.
    30: United States purchases Alaska from Russia for $7,200,000. The purchase earns the nickname "Seward's Folly."
    May 23: Jesse James and his gang rob a bank in Richmond, Missouri. They net $4,000, but kill two people.

    19: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico is executed by a firing squad.
    20: President Andrew Johnson announces the purchase of Alaska.
    25:The first patent for barbed wire is granted to Lucien B. Smith of Ohio.
    July 1: The Dominion of Canada, the official name of Canada, is founded.

    1: Publication of Karl Marx's Das Kapital.
    18: The United States takes possession of Alaska, having purchased it from Russia for $7.2 million.
    15: First stock ticker unveiled in New York City, which makes up-to-the-minute prices available to investors wishing to purchase and sell stocks.
    25: Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist, patents dynamite.
    February 24: In a vote of 126 to 47, the US House of Representatives vote to impeach President Andrew Johnson.

    5: President Andrew Jackson's impeachment trial begins.
    13: The United States Senate opens the impeachment trial of President Andrew Jackson.
    24: Formation of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
    April 11: The shogunate is abolished in Japan.

    May 16: The US Senate fails to impeach President Andrew Johnson by a single vote.

    June 25: President Andrew Johnson signs a bill that limits governor employees to an eight-hour work day.

    July 28: Citizenship, as well as equal civil and legal rights, are granted to African Americans and emancipated slaves with the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
    October 1: Publication of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.

    9: A traffic light, the world's first, is erected in London near Westminster Bridge. A month late, a gas leak causes one of the lights to explode and the traffic light is removed.
    25: President Andrew Johnson unconditionally pardons those who fought for the Confederacy.
    January 20: Elizabeth Cady Stanton testifies before Congress. It is the first time a woman does so.

    5: Dmiriti Mendeleev presents the first periodic table at the Russian Chemical Society.
    11: Armand David, a French missionary, introduces the West to the giant panda after he receives a skin from a hunter.
    10: The Golden Spike is driven into the ground at Promontory Summit, Utah, completing the United States' first transcontinental railroad. The two rail lines began on opposite ends of the country, and when the spike unites the two tracks, it connects the Central Pacific Railroad to the Union Pacific Railroad. It signifies the last time that west-bound travelers will have to cross the country on covered wagons.
    15: Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton establish the National Woman Suffrage Association.
    18: During festivities celebrating the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II, a mass panic on Khodynka Field in Moscow results in the death of 1,389 people.
    June 27: The yen becomes the official currency of Japan. Clan notes, issued by feudal lords, is no longer acceptable tender.

    16: A Paraguayan battalion of children are massacred by the Brazilian army during the Battle of Acosta Ñu.
    23: First cargo of rail freight arrives in San Francisco. The train came from Boston and carries boots and shoes. The trip takes sixteen days.
    1: The first post cards are issued. This occurs in Vienna, Austria.
    16: The Cardiff Giant is found in New York state. It is believed to be a petrified prehistoric man, but is later discovered to be a hoax.
    16: Suez Canal opens. It took ten years to build.
    23: Cutty Sark is launched in Dumbarton Scotland. She is one of the last clipper ships to be built and the only one that still survives.
    3: Construction begins on New York's Brooklyn Bridge. It takes more than a decade to complete.
    15: The donkey premieres as the symbol of the US Democratic Party in one of Thomas Nash's cartoons.
    23: The US Army kills 140 Blackfoot women and 33 children in Montana.
    3: The Fifteenth Amendment to the US Constitution is ratified. It guarantees the right to vote regardless of race.
    5: The first motion picture is shown to an audience. The theater is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    12: Utah becomes the second territory to grant women the right to vote, one year after the Wyoming Territory did so.
    25: Hiram R. Revels takes the oath as the first African-American member of Congress. He serves as a senator from Mississippi.
    March 30: Texas becomes the last Confederate state to rejoin the Union.

    June 28: The US Congress establishes the first federal holidays: New Years Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. These official holidays initially only apply to federal employees.

    1: The Irish Land Act gives rights to tenants of landlords in Ireland.
    2: The world's first underground tube railway, Tower Subway, opens in London.
    15: Transcontinental Railway completed in Colorado.

    October 25: Pimlico Race Course opens in Baltimore, Maryland. It would become home of the Preakness, the second of the triple crown horse races.
    July 25: Wilhelm Schneider of Davenport, Iowa is awarded a patent for the carousel.

    September 7: HMS Captain capsizes in the Bay of Biscay. 500 die.

    6: 1st national tour of the Fisk Jubliee Singers begins.
    8: Great Chicago Fire begins. The fire starts in Patrick and Catherine O'Leary's barn. When the inferno ends two days later,200 to 300 people are died, 4 square miles of the city are destroyed,  100,000 are left homeless, and damages are estimated at $2,000,000. Also lost is the original Emancipation Proclamation. Another fire, this one is Peshtigo, Wisconsin, consumes the city within hours. 1,152 people die.
    November 10: Henry Morton Stanley meets David Livingstone near Lake Tanganyika, Africa and asks, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"

    20: The Metropolitan Museum of Art opens to the public in New York City.
    27: Charlotte Ray graduates with a degree in law from Howard University. This makes her the first African-American female lawyer.

    March 1: E. Remington and Sons of Ilion, New York, produce the first practical typewriter. Congress establishes the first national park in the United States; Yellowstone National Park is also the first national park in the world.

    April 12: Jesse James and his gang rob a bank in Columbia, Kentucky. They get away with $1,500, but murder one person.

    May 10: Victoria Woodhull becomes the first woman nominated for the US Presidency.

    July 9: John Blondel of Maine is awarded a patent for the doughnut cutter.

    August 18: A. M. Ward issued the first mail-order catalog.

    October 3:
    Bloomingdale's department store opens in New York City.

    5: Susan B. Anthony votes in the election for US president. She is later arrested for voting illegally and is convicted at her trial, which she calls "the greatest outrage history ever witnessed."
    7: The Mary Celeste seta sails from Staten Island bound for Genoa. Four weeks later she is found abandoned at sea. No reason for the crew's disappearance is discovered.
    December 5: The Mary Celeste is found abandoned at sea about 400 miles from the Azores. The fate of the ten people aboard the brigantine remains a mystery.
    March 3: The United States Congress enacts the Comstock Law. This makes it illegal to send "obscene, lewd, or lascivious" books through the mail.

    5: British pressure Sultan Bargash bin Said to close the notorious slave market in Zanzibar.
    9: The Alexandra Palace in England burns down sixteen days after it opens.
    18: Susan B. Anthony is fined $100 for voting for US President.
    August 14: Field and Stream is published for the first time.

    September 20: Panic sweeps the New York Stock Exchange.

    8: First women-run women's prison opens in Indiana.
    30: Premiere of P. T. Barnum's "Greatest Show on Earth."
    November 19: William Magear Tweed, also known as "Boss Tweed" of Tammany Hall in New York City is convicted of defrauding the city of $6,000,000. He is sentenced to twelve years in prison.

    December 5: Mary Celeste found abandoned in the Atlantic Ocean.

    Congress passes a law requiring owners or representatives of wrecked American ships in which someone lost his/her life or inflicted damage impacted the vessel's seaworthiness to present records to customs collectors, either where ship is registered or where the incident occurs.

    January 31: Jesse James and his gang rob a train at Gads Hill, Missouri.

    May 9: The first horse-drawn bus appears on streets in Mumbai, India.

    July 1: The first kidnapping for ransom occurs in the United States when four-year-old Charles Ross is taken and $20,000 is demanded for his safe return. Also, the first true zoo in the country opens in Philadelphia.

    September 23: A devastating typhoon strikes Hong Kong. In six hours, thirty-five European ships sink or are destroyed, and about 2,000 people die.

    7: Thomas Nast draws a cartoon that depicts the Republican Party symbol of an elephant.
    24: Joseph Farwell Glidden receives the first patent for commercially successful barbed wire.

    January 26: George F. Green patents the first electric dental drill.

    May 16: The running of the first Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Aristides wins the race.

    2: The first roller skating rink opens in London.
    25: Captain Matthew Webb becomes the first observed and unassisted swimmer to cross the English Channel. He does so in 21 hours and 45 minutes.
    1: A murder conviction effectively puts an end to the Molly Maguires, who fought against owners of coal mines, and the organization disbands.
    11: First newspaper cartoon strip
    23: Billy the Kid is arrested for the first time. He had stolen a basket of laundry. He will later go on to be an escapee and murderer.
    A Spanish force, consisting of thirty-two ships and 9,000 men attack the "pirate nest" of Sulu.

    January 31: All Native Americans in the United States are ordered to move on to the reservations.

    February 22: Johns Hopkins University opens

    7: Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone.
    10: Alexander Graham Bell makes the first telephone call. He says to his assistance, "Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you."
    4: The Transcontinental Express arrives in San Francisco, California for the first time. The train had made the journey from New York City in 83 hours and 39 minutes.
    25: Battle of Little Bighorn between Sioux and Cheyenne warriors, under the leadership of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, against Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and the Seventh Cavalry. Custer and his men are wiped out, and the battle becomes known as "Custer's Last Stand."
    30: Soldiers, wounded at the Battle of Little Bighorn, reach Far West, a steamboat, on the Big Horn River in southern Montana, which evacuates them to Fort Abraham Lincoln near Bismarck, North Dakota on 5 July. It isn't long before news of the loss of General Custer and more than 200 men spreads across the country.
    August 2: Wild Bill Hickock is murdered in Deadwood, South Dakota.

    7: The Youngers and the James, two groups of brothers, attempt to rob a bank. The Younger brothers are captured.
    19: Melville Bissell of New York receives the first patent for a carpet sweeper.
    October 6: American Library Association founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    December 6: First crematorium in the United States begins operation. It is located in Washington, Pennsylvania.
    March 10: Four years after inventing earmuffs at the age of 15 in 1873, Chester Greenwood patents them.

    10: The first human cannonball act is performed in London.
    12: The catcher's mask is employed for the first time during a baseball game.
    5: Sitting Bull leads the Lakota into Canada to avoid harassment by the US Army.
    8: The first Westminster Dog Show is held.
    10: President Rutherford B. Hayes installs the first telephone in the White House. It is placed in the telegraph room and its phone number was "1." Fifty years will pass before a phone is placed in the Oval Office.
    15: Henry Ossian Flipper, a former slave, becomes the first African American to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.
    21: Ten Irish immigrants, known as the Molly Maguires, are hanged in Pennsylvania.
    July 9: The first lawn tennis tournament begins at Wimbledon at the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club. Twenty-one men compete in Gentlemen's Singles, the only event at the time. The winner, Spencer Gore, is announced ten days later. The first Lady's Singles event is introduced in 1884 and Maud Watson wins.

    August 12: Thomas Alva Edison invents the phonograph.

    September 5: A US soldier bayonets Oglala Sioux leader Crazy Horse, who dies from his wound.

    5: Chief Joseph surrenders, ending the Nez Perce War.
    22: Blantyre mining disaster in Scotland kills 207 miners. Mine owners evict any of their families who are unable to support themselves.
    November 24: Shortly before her death, Anna Sewall publishes Black Beauty, her only novel. It becomes the first major animal story in children's literature.

    December 6:
    Thomas Edison records himself as he recites "Mary had a little lamb."

    January 11: Milk in glass bottles is delivered for the first time in New York City.

    18: Billy the Kid's mentor, an English rancher named John Tunstall, is murdered, which ignites the bitter and bloody Lincoln County War in New Mexico.
    19: Thomas Edison receives a patent for the gramophone.
    April 15: Harley Procter introduces Ivory Soap.

    2: The United States ceases to min the twenty cent coin.
    14: A patent is granted for Vaseline.
    July 26: Black Bart, a poet and outlaw of the American West, steals the safe box of a Wells Fargo stagecoach in California. The empty box was later found with a taunting poem inside. It is the last time he makes a clean getaway. He would rob another stagecoach in November, but left behind clues that eventually lead to his capture. Although Charles Earl Boles robbed a number of stagecoaches and becomes known as a gentleman bandit, he is only convicted of this last theft. He serves four years of his six-year term.

    September 1:
    Emma Nutt of Boston becomes the first female telephone operator.


    The bridge over the River Tay at Dundee, Scotland gives way during a gale. The train crossing the bridge at the time dropped into the river, killing seventy-five people.
    15: The United States Congress decrees that female lawyers may appear before the US Supreme Court.
    22: A black postmaster is lynched and his three daughters are shot in Lake City, South Carolina.
    March 3: Belva Ann Bennett Lockwood appears before the United States Supreme Court. She becomes the first female attorney to present arguments before the court.

    April 8: Milk is sold in glass bottles for the first time.

    June 21: The F. W. Woolworth Great Five Center Store opens on North Queen Street in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It is Frank W. Woolworth's first successful store.

    September 23: The Audiophone, a hearing aid, is invented by Richard Rhodes.

    Gokstad ship discovered on Norwegian farm.

    1: Construction of the Panama Canal begins.
    9: Great Gale devastates parts of Oregon and Washington. Six feet of snow falls in Seattle, Washington over five days.
    February 18: Tsar Alexander II of Russia survives an assassination attempt.

    1: First pay telephone service operates in the United States. It is installed in New Haven, Connecticut.
    28: Ned Kelly, an Australian bushranger (rural outlaw), is captured at Glenrowan. The rest of his gang died in the confrontation, but Kelly is only wounded. He is taken to Melbourne later in the year and hanged.
    3: The US Congress passes its first law restricting immigration.
    14: After 632 years, the Cologne Cathedral, the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe, is completed. Construction first began in 1248.
    November 11: Ned Kelly, an Australian bushranger (bandit of the outback), is hanged in Melbourne.

    December 16: First Boer War begins between the British Empire and the Boer South African Republic.

    Robert Louis Stevenson begins writing Treasure Island in Scotland.

    February 19: Kansas becomes the first state to prohibit all alcoholic beverages in its state consitution.

    13: Members of the People's Will, a far-left terrorist group, throw a bomb at Tsar Alexander II in St. Petersburg, Russia, killing him.
    28: P. T. Barnum and James Anthony Bailey form the Barnum & Bailey Circus, which opens in New York's Madison Square Garden. It is billed as "The Greatest Show on Earth," and it will continue performing for 146 years when it closes in 2017.
    April 28: Billy the Kid escapes from the Lincoln County jail in Mesilla, New Mexico.

    May 21: Clara Barton establishes the American Association of the Red Cross, which later becomes known as the American Red Cross.

    June 14: John McTammany, Junior, patents the player piano.

    2: Charles J. Guiteau shoots President James Garfield, who succumbs to his injury 79 days later.
    4: Booker T. Washington establishes the Tuskegee Institute.
    14: Sheriff Pat Garrett shoots and kills Billy the Kid (real name, Henry McCarty). The outlaw had escaped from jail days before his execution for murder and Garrett had tracked him for three months before finding in New Mexico.
    October 26: Gunfight at the OK Corral. It is the crowning moment in the feud between the Earp brothers and Ike Clanton's gang in Tombstone in the Arizona Territory.
    November 14: Charles J. Guiteau stands trial for assassinating President James Garfield.
    2: Roderick Maclean fires a shot at Queen Victoria as she boards a train in Windsor. She narrowly escapes the assassination attempt.
    16: The United States ratifies a treaty that establishes the Red Cross.
    24: Robert Koch of Germany discovers and describes tubercle bacillus, which causes tuberculosis.
    April 3: Robert Ford kills outlaw Jesse James in his home in St. Joseph, Missouri.

    May 6: Immigrants from China are forbidden to enter the United States with the passing of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

    June 6: A patent for the electric iron is granted to Henry W. Seeley.

    December 22: Thomas Edison creates the first string of Christmas tree lights.

    16: Susan Hayhurst is the first woman to graduate from pharmacy college.
    24: First telephone call between New York and Chicago takes place.
    May 24: The Brooklyn Bridge opens in New York City. It spans the East River, connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan.

    July 3: Buffalo Bill Cody presents his first wild west show, It is seen in North Platte, Nebraska.

    August 27: A volcano on Krakatoa erupts, causing a tidal wave that causes more than 35,000 deaths. Two days later, seismic sea waves created by the eruption raise the level of water in the English Channel.

    October 4: First official journey of the Orient Express between Paris and Istanbul.
    November 14: Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island is published in book form.
    February 1: The first volume of the Oxford English Dictionary is published.

    April 2: London closes its prison for debtors.

    May 19: Premiere of the Ringling Brothers circus

    June 16: The first roller coaster opens. It is located on Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York.

    3: Dow Jones publishes the first stock index, the Dow Jones Transportation Average.
    4: The Statue of Liberty is presented to the United States in Paris.
    5: The cornerstone is laid for the Statue of Liberty on Bedloe's Island in New York City.
    28: First known photograph of a tornado is taken near Howard, South Dakota.
    September 23: Herman Hollerith patents his mechanical tabulating machine. Data processing begins.
    February 21: Dedication of the Washington Monument

    2: Good Housekeeping magazine is published for the first time.
    19: First mass production of shoes.
    June 17: The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York City aboard the French ship Isere. It is comprised of 350 pieces in more than 200 cases. Estimates place the cost to the French at $250,000. It weighs 450,000 pounds. Once Lady Liberty is reassembled, she is dedicated the following year on 28 October.

    July 6: Louis Pasteur succeeds in giving an anti-rabies vaccine to nine-year-old Joseph Meister, saving the boy's life.

    September 2: Chinese miners are brutally murdered by white miners in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Hundreds more are driven from town.

    October 1: The USPS begins special delivery mail service.

    November 10: Gottlieb Daimler unveils the world's first motorcycle.

    April 25: Sigmund Freud opens his practice in psychology in Vienna.

    4: Haymarket Riot takes place in Chicago, Illinois when a bomb kills seven policemen.
    8: Atlanta, Georgia's Jacob's Pharmacy begins selling Coca-Cola, which contains cocaine. It is created by pharmacist John S. Pemberton and is promoted as a cure-all tonic.
    September 4: Geronimo, leader of the Apache, surrenders to the US Army.

    October 9: First tuxedo is worn to a ball in New York.

    5: Columbia University opens the first school of librarianship in the United States.
    28: Construction begins on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
    2: The first Groundhog Day is observed in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
    21: First American lab for bacteriology opens. It's found in Brooklyn, New York.
    March 3: Anne Sullivan becomes Helen Keller's teacher. Helen is blind and deaf after an illness and is six years old.

    April 5: Anne Sullivan teaches Helen Keller sign language for "water."

    May 9: Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show opens in London.

    June 8: Herman Hollerith receives a patent for the punch card calculator.

    October 11: A. Miles receives a patent for the elevator.

    3: Marvin C. Stone patents the first wax drinking straw.
    27: Founding of the National Geographic Society
    1: Signing of the Convention of Constantinople. It guarantees free maritime passage through the Suez Canal whether there is war or peace.
    11: The Great Blizzard of 1888 strikes the United States. As much as 50 inches of snow fall and more than 400 people die.
    July 4: The first organized rodeo competition takes place in Prescott, Arizona.


    7: Martha Tabram, who may have been Jack the Ripper's first victim, is murdered in London's East End.
    31: Mary Ann Nichols' body is found in Whitechapel, London. She is the first definite victim of Jack the Ripper.

    8: Jack the Ripper's second victim, Annie Chapman, is found.
    22: First issue of National Geographic Magazine is published.
    30: Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes become the next two women who fall prey to Jack the Ripper.
    1: First publication of National Geographic.
    9. The Washington Monument opens to the public in Washington, DC. This memorial to the first American president is a marble-faced granite obelisk on which construction began in 1848 and ended in 1884.

    November 9:
    Mary Kelly's mutilated body is found. Many believe she is the last of Jack the Ripper's victims.

    December 23: After an argument with another painter, Vincent Van Gogh cuts off his left ear.
    P. Christian’s Historie des Pirates published.

    March 31: Official opening of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

    1: The first machine to wash dishes is marketed in Chicago, Illinois.
    22: At noon, thousands of men and women make a mad dash to claim parcels of land in the Oklahoma land rush.
    14: The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is founded in London.
    31: A flood decimates Johnstown, Pennsylvania after the South Fork Dam collapses. More than 2,200 people die.
    June 8: Cable cars begin offering rides in Los Angeles, California.

    8: The Wall Street Journal begins publication.
    17: The body of Alice McKenzie is found in Whitechapel, raising speculation that Jack the Ripper may have returned.
    August 13: William Gray receives a patent for a coin-operated telephone.

    October 6: The Moulin Rouge opens in Paris. Thomas Edison shows his first motion picture.
    14: Nellie Bly, a reporter for New York World, begins her journey to surpass the fictional journey Phileas Fogg makes around the world in Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days. It takes her just 72 days and 6 hours to make the trip.
    23: The first jukebox debuts at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco, California.
    1: The first Tournament of Roses is held in Pasadena, California.
    25: Nellie Bly, a journalistic, beats Jules Verne's fictitious character, Phileas Fogg, when she completes her round-the-world journey eight days before Fogg did. It only takes her seventy-days. Formation of the United Mine Workers of America.
    March 1: Arthur Conan Doyle first introduces readers to Sherlock Holmes when A Study in Scarlet is published.

    6: Convicted of murder, William Kemmler, becomes the world's first person to be executed in the electric chair. The execution occurs at Auburn State Prison in New York.
    30: US President Benjamin Harrison signs the first law requiring the inspection of meat products.
    October 1: The US Congress creates the Weather Bureau and establishes Yosemite National Park in California.

    November 23:
    William III, King of the Netherlands dies without a male heir. A special law is passed to allow his daughter, Wilhelmina, to become Queen of the Netherlands.

    15: Native American police kill Sitting Bull while trying to arrest him in South Dakota.
    29: More than 200 Sioux are massacred by the US 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

    April 17: Thirteen pirates are beheaded in China as punishment for their attack on and the murder of two crewmembers, including the captain, of the SS Namoa.

    May 11: Six more pirates are executed for the attack.

    August 5: American Express issues the world's first traveler's checks.
    20: YMCA students play the first official basketball game, which invented by their teacher, James A. Naismith.
    29: Incorporation of the Coca-Cola Company. Liliuokalani becomes Queen of Hawaii and is the last monarch of the country.

    March 15: Jesse W. Reno of New York City patents the first escalator.

    April 12: George C. Blickensderfer patents the first portable typewriter.

    May 22: The first toothpaste tube is invented by Dr. Washington Sheffield.

    6: The elevated Loop train, also known as the "L" begins operating in Chicago, Illinois. It will become one of the longest and busiest mass-transit systems in the United States.

    July 18: A vaccine against cholera is first tested on humans.

    August 4: Lizzie Borden is arrested in Fall River, Massachusetts on charges that she murdered her father and step-mother with an axe.

    8: First usage of the Pledge of Allegiance.
    26: First public appearance of John Philip Sousa's band.
    5: The Dalton Gang attempts to rob two banks in Coffeyville, Kansas at the same time. Townspeople recognize them and raise the alarm. The only member of the Dalton gang to survive is Emmett Dalton; four townspeople also die. Upon his recovery, Emmett is tried and convicted, receiving a sentence of life imprisonment. Fourteen years later he is paroled. He eventually becomes a Hollywood screenwriter.
    12: The United States Pledge of Allegiance is recited for the first time in public schools.
    December 18: The first performance of The Nutcracker takes place in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is performed in the Mariinsky Theatre and is written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
    January 17: An American coup deposes Queen Liliuokalani and Hawaii becomes a republic.

    1: The rank of ambassador is authorized for use for the first time by the Diplomatic Appropriation Act.
    10: The Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) becomes a French colony.
    4: Bill Pickett, a cowboy, invents bulldogging, a skill that involves grabbing a cow while on horseback and wrestling it to the ground.
    5: New York Stock Exchange crashes. The event becomes known as the Panic of 1893.
    7: Mahatma Gandhi's first act of civil disobedience.
    20: Lizzie Bordon is acquitted of murdering her father and stepmother with an axe in Fall River, Massachusetts.
    21: Premiere of the world's first Ferris wheel occurs at Chicago's Columbian Exposition.
    27: Stocks fall precipitously on the New York Stock Exchange during the Panic of 1857.
    30: The largest uncut diamond is discovered at the DeBeers mine in Orange Free State, South Africa. Named Excelsior, it weighs 995 carats.
    August 1: Henry Perky and William Ford patent shredded wheat.

    3: Beatrix Potter writes the story of Peter Rabbit for a five-year-old boy.
    19: New Zealand grants the right to vote to all women, becoming the first nation to do so.
    October 6: Nabisco Foods invents Cream of Wheat.
    March 12: Bottled Coca-Cola is sold for the first time in a candy store in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

    May 15: During a baseball game between the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Beaneaters, a fire sweeps through the bleachers and spreads across more than twelve acres. About 200 buildings are destroyed and 1,900 people are left homeless.

    17: First epidemic of poliomyelitis breaks out in the United States.
    28: The US Congress declares the first Monday of September as Labor Day, a holiday to honor American workers.
    July 20: The Pullman Strike ends.

    1: Hinckley, Minnesota is destroyed by a wildfire. 438 people die.
    3: Labor Day becomes a legal holiday in the US.
    4: 12,000 tailors go on strike in New York City in a protest against sweat shops.
    1: Upon the death of his father, Nicholas II becomes the new Tsar of Russia.
    26: Tsar Nicholas II marries Alexandra.
    December 22: Alfred Dreyfus is court-martialed for treason in France. Initially sentenced to life imprisonment, he will later be vindicated because of tainted evidence and anti-Semitism.
    11: The city of Georgetown becomes part of Washington, D. C.
    21: North Carolina's legislature adjourns to mark the death of Frederick Douglas.
    April 13: Alfred Dreyfus is imprisoned on Devils Island, which lies off French Guiana.

    8: Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, a German physicist, discovers X-rays.
    19: Frederick E. Blaisdell receives a patent for the pencil.
    27: Establishment of the Nobel Prizes.
    January 15: Known for his photographic portraits and images of the American Civil War, Matthew Brady dies alone and virtually forgotten in a New York hospital's charity ward.

    February 23: Les Hirshfield introduces the Tootsie Roll.

    March 1: Henri Becquerel discovers radioactivity.

    April 6: The first modern Olympic Games open in Athens, Greece.

    7: H. H. Holmes, the first known serial killer in the United States, is hanged after confessing to killing 130 people.
    30: The first car accident occurs when Henry Wells hits a cyclist in New York City.

    June 8: First record of an automobile theft occurs after a Parisian mechanic steals a baron's Peugot.

    16: George Carmack discovers gold at Bonanza Creek in the Klondike, setting of a gold rush.
    29: The Chinese ambassador's chef creates chop suey during a visit to New York City.
    18: Dracula is published. The novel is written by Bram Stoker.
    19: After two years in jail following his conviction of being gay, Oscar Wilde is released. His experiences served as the basis for The Ballad of Reading Gaol.

    June 16: The Republic of Hawaii and the United States sign a treaty that annexes the republic to the United States.

    1: The Boston subway opens, becoming the first underground rapid transit system in North America.
    10: George Smith, a London taxi driver, is arrested for drunk driving. He ran his cab into a building. He becomes the first person ever arrested for driving drunk and is fined 25 schillings.
    25: First British bus service begins.
    October 22: The world's first car dealer opens in London, England.

    November 23: J. L. Love receives a patent for the pencil sharpener.
    1: The first automobile insurance policy is issued in the United States. The company issuing the policy is Travelers Insurance Company.
    15: The USS Maine explodes and sinks in the harbor of Havana, Cuba. 258 sailors die. This event precipitates the Spanish-American War.
    23: Emile Zola is imprisoned in France for writing "J'accuse," a letter accusing the government of antisemitism and wrongly imprisoning Alfred Dreyfus.
    April 24: War erupts between the United States and Spain.

    June 18: The amusement pier