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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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Time Line of History
Piracy & Privateering, Maritime, Scottish, & Events

(updated 1 December 2023)
This time line is a work in progress. It incorporates events important to pirate history, as well as important historical happenings at sea, in Scotland, and around the world. 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 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.

Ahoy!Talk Like a Pirate Day, September 19Ahoy!

Ship's wheelNational Maritime Day, May 22
Ship's wheel

Before the 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

18th Century
William Dampier’s ship, HMS Roebuck, founders in storm off Ascension Island.

Admiralty Courts are established in English colonies. This allows officials to try pirates there, rather than transporting their captives to London for trial.

March 5: Richard Coote, the Earl of Bellomont, succumbs to illness.

March 27: William Kidd testifies before the House of Commons and pleads for mercy. He completes his testimony on 31 March.

May 8: William Kidd is tried. When the trial ends the next day, he is deemed guilty of murder and piracy.

May 15: The War of the Spanish Succession begins.

May 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.

May 24 The transcript of William Kidd's trial is published and sells out by the following day. A second printing occurs on the 26th.

September 7: Austria, Holland, and England sign the Treaty of Grand Alliance in the War of the Spanish Succession.

September 16: Exiled James II dies, and Louis XIV of France acknowledges his son, James Stuart as King of England.

September 28: Maryland legalizes divorce.

Fire destroys Port Royal.

Scheduled mail service between England and the West Indies begins.

March 11: Daily Courant, the first daily newspaper, is published in England.

March 18: King William of England dies. Sister-in-law Anne, the daughter of James II, ascends the throne. She becomes the last Stuart monarch to reign.

May 15: Grand Alliance formally 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 is captured or sinks in Vigo Bay.

French and Spanish forces destroy Nassau.

May 27: Tsar Peter the Great founds Saint Peterburg, Russia as the 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.

What remains of William Kidd's plunder is condemned by the Admiralty. A portion is set aside to build Greenwich Hospital.

April: John Campbell, postmaster of Boston, begins publishing the Boston News-Letter, America's first newspaper. (It will be the only newspaper in the British North American colonies until 1719.) It 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. 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 the arrest of John Quelchon charges of piracy.

June 19: Trial against John Quelch for piracy, robbery, and murder opens in Boston.

June 30: Quelch and those of his crew are hanged for piracy. One of the men, Miller, had also been a member of Henry 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.

The governor of Massachusetts charges Rhode Island with consorting with pirates.

The British East India Company institutes a convoy system.

First signs that pirates are establishing a base in the Bahamas. New Providence 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.

August 1: Woodes Rogers’s expedition to capture a Manila galleon departs from Britain. Aboard is William Dampier and this will be his third circumnavigation of the world. This voyage lasts until 1711.

The Life and Adventures 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 Island.

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 is appointed Governor of Virginia.

April 10: First law regulating copyright is passed in Britain.

October 14: Woodes Rogers’s expedition returns home after circumnavigating the world and capturing a Manila galleon. William Dampier completes his third circumnavigation of the globe.

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 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 loses Portugal and her territories in the Netherlands. France continues to fight her other enemies until the following year.

Parliament offers a £20,000 prize to anyone who can figure out how to calculate longitude.

France and Spain raid Bahamas. Nassau is 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.

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 72-year reign, King Louis XIV of France dies. His reign is the longest of any major European monarch.

November: 300 pirates attack the Spanish wreck's salvage camp, netting 60,000 pieces of eight.

November: Benjamin Hornigold arrives in New Providence, the pirate haven.

November 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. Soon after, they go on the account.

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 favor of Samuel Bellamy.

November 9: Samuel Bellamy captures the Bonetta. One passenger on board 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.

November 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.

March: Blackbeard parts company with Benjamin Hornigold.

March 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 Bastille in Paris, France. A playwright and poet, he pens a satirical poem entitled "La Henriade," which infuriates the government. He is incarcerated for nearly a year.

August 27: The Reverand 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.

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

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

October: The surviving pirates of Bellamy’s crew, two of whom were aboard Whydah when she sank, are tried in Boston.

October: Blackbeard encounters Stede Bonnet and commandeers his sloop. They sail in consort as far as New Jersey before returning to the Caribbean.

November 15: Six members of Samuel Bellamy’s crew are hanged at Boston.

November 17: Blackbeard captures the French slaver Concorde off St. Vincent and renames her Queen Anne’s Revenge.

November 28: Blackbeard attacks Guadeloupe.

December:  A copy of the King’s Grace arrives in New Providence. 209 pirates accept the King’s Grace, including Benjamin Hornigold and Henry Jennings.

December 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, India.

Edward England accepts a royal pardon from Woodes Rogers, but within a year, he returns to pirating.

January 6: King George issues commission to Woodes Rogers to rid the Bahamas of pirates and names him governor of the colony.

January 17: An avalanche engulfs Leukerbad, Switzerland, destroying every building and killing 53 people.

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

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

May: Blackbeard blockades Charles Town Harbor. He ransoms leading citizens for a chest of medicine.

May: Stede Bonnet sails to Bath Town to acquire a king’s pardon from Governor Eden.

May 7: Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville founds the city of New Orleans.

June: Blackbeard intentionally grounds the Queen Anne's Revenge in Beaufort Inlet.

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

July: Charles Vane voices opposition to Woodes Rogers coming to New Providence in the Bahamas as Governor.

July: Governor Eden of North Carolina pardons Blackbeard, who spends much of his time in Bath Town or at Ocracoke Island.

July 10: Alexander Spotswood of Virginia issues a proclamation requiring any former pirates coming to Virginia to turn in their weapons to a justice of the peace or military official. They are also not permitted to associate in groups larger than three.

July 26: Governor Woodes Rogers arrives in New Providence to rid the colony of pirates.

August: Charles Vane and Christopher Condent flee New Providence, refusing to accept the King’s Grace.

August: Under the leadership of Charles Vane, pirates blockade the port of Charles Town, South Carolina.

August 30: King George’s proclamation that Jennings, Carnegie, Ashworth, Wills, and others are pirates arrives in the Caribbean.

September: Howell Davis leads mutiny aboard the Buck and goes on the account.

September 4: Last day for pirates to surrender and receive a full pardon for all crimes committed prior to 5 January 1718.

September 27: Colonel William Rhett captures Stede Bonnet at Cape Fear.

October: Charles Vane visits Blackbeard at Ocracoke.

October: Governor Alexander Spotswood secretly meets with Captains Brand and Gordon to plan an attack to rid the Americas of Blackbeard.

October 3: Stede Bonnet and the other captured pirates arrive in Charles Town, South Carolina.

October 24: Stede Bonnet and David Heriot escape.

October 28: Trials of pirates captured from Blackbeard’s and Stede Bonnet’s crews begin at Charles Town, South Carolina. Nicholas Trott presides over the trials.

November 7: 29 of Bonnet’s crew are convicted of piracy.

November 8: 22 pirates are hanged at White Point near Charles Town, South Carolina. Colonel William Rhett kills David Heriot and recaptures Stede Bonnet.

November 10: Stede Bonnet stands trial for piracy. After two days, he is convicted.

November 17: Lieutenant Maynard and his men set sail on their mission to capture Blackbeard.

November 22: Blackbeard is killed in a battle with Lieutenant Maynard at Ocracoke, North Carolina.

November 24: The Virginia assembly passes the Act to Encourage the Apprehending and Destroying of Pirates.
November 24: 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.

December: Britain and France declare war on Spain in what becomes known as the War of the Quadruple Alliance.

December: Mass hanging of pirates in New Providence.

December 10: Stede Bonnet is hanged for piracy at White Point near Charles Town, South Carolina.

Anne Bonny meets Calico Jack Rackham in New Providence.

Woodes Rogers, Governor of the Bahamas, uncovers a plot to kill him.

January: Howell Davis arrives in Cape Verde Islands, masquerading at pirate hunter.

January 3: Lieutenant Maynard returns to Hampton Roads, Virginia with Blackbeard’s head hanging from the Adventure’s bowsprit.

February: The war between Britain and Spain ends.

February: A hurricane strikes the Bahamas Channel and the ship of Benjamin Hornigold and his crew founders. No one survives.

February 12: The oldest life insurance company, still in existence, is founded in the Netherlands. The company is the Anderling van 1719 u. a.

February 13: George Shelvocke, aboard Speedwell, sets off on a three-year privateering adventure that takes him around the world. Commander of the expedition, aboard Success, is Captain John Clipperton, who once sailed with William Dampier.

February 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.

April: Christopher Condent uses St. Mary's Island, Madagascar for his base of operation.

April 1: Thomas Cocklyn captures a slave ship captained by William Snelgrave at the mouth of Sierre Leone River.

April 25: Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe is published. He bases his story on the marooning of privateer Alexander Selkirk.

May: Woodes Rogers grants Calico Jack Rackham a pardon.

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

June 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.

November 19: Charles Vane and crew are shipwrecked on an island during a storm. Afterwards, an English ship happens by and captures them. He istaken 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 is killed in battle with the British Royal Navy.

February: The War of the Quadruple Alliance ends.

February 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.
March 22: 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.

July: Bartholomew Roberts captures a French fishing vessel and renames her the first Royal Fortune.

July: Edward England attacks the East Indiaman Cassandra. Captain James McRae escapes and later describes the attack.

August 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.

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

November: Bartholomew Roberts leaves the Caribbean to avoid pursuit and heads to the west coast of Africa.

November 15: Captain Jonathan Barnet captures Calico Jack Rackham and his crew, including Anne Bonny and Mary Read.

November 16: Calico Jack Rackham and the male members of his crew are tried and convicted of piracy at St. Iago de la Bega (Spanish Town), Jamaica.

November 17: Calico Jack Rackham and his mates are hanged at Gallows Point.

November 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 is captured in London.

Fiery Dragon catches fire and sinks at Madagascar.

John Taylor joins forces with Olivier Le Vasseur, but eventually decides to head to home to Britain via the Pacific Ocean. When he and his men 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 a 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.

British warships destroy pirate havens at Madagascar, while the French destroy pirate bases in Mauritius and La Réunion.

January 6: The inquiry into the South Sea Bubble publishes its findings.

March: Edward England and John Taylor fall out over England's leniency to his prisoners. England and three of his men are marooned on Mauritius.

March 22: Charles Vane is tried for piracy in Jamaica.

March 29: Charles Vane is hanged at Gallows Point, Port Royal. His body is hung in chains at Gun Cay as a warning to others.

April: Thomas Anstis and others of Bartholomew Roberts's men desert and strike out on their own as pirates.

April: Thomas Anstis captures John Phillips, a carpenter. He eventually becomes a pirate captain in his own right.

April 28: Mary Read dies in prison, possibly from gaol fever. She is buried in St. Catherine's Cemetery in Jamaica.

May: Woodes Rogers leaves Nassau for England, where he is arrested for nonpayment of debts. One month later a new governor, George Phenney, is appointed.

May: Edward England and his men build a boat and sail to Saint Mary's Island in Madagascar, where he dies several months later.

May 25: John Copson becomes the first insurance agent in America.

June 12: Bartholomew Roberts, aboard Royal Fortune, arrives off the mouth of Senegal River in Africa.

June 26: Dr. Zabdiel Boylston gives the first smallpox inoculation in America with the support of Puritan minister Cotton Mather.

July 3: William Kennedy is convicted of piracy and sentenced to hang.

July 21: William Kennedy is executed at Execution Dock, Wapping.

August: George Shelvocke, a privateer, arrives off the coast of California.

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

November: George Shelvocke arrives off the coast of China.

Joseph Mansfield is tried for piracy.

January 11: Bartholomew Roberts arrives at Whydah, West Africa. He captures 11 slave ships.

January 13: Bartholomew Roberts leaves Whydah one day before Royal Navy Captain Ogle arrives.

February 10: Bartholomew Roberts is killed during a battle with the British Royal Navy.

March 15: HMS Swallow arrives at Cape Coast Castle in Africa and Captain Chaloner Ogle sends the captured pirates ashore, where they are imprisoned within the castle.

28: Survivors of Bartholomew Roberts’s crew are tried for piracy at Cape Coast Castle, Africa.

March 31: The first followers of Bartholomew Roberts are convicted. 14 are found guilty, 6 are immediately hanged.

April 5: Dutch navigator Jacob Roggeveen discovers Easter Island.

April 6: Tsar Peter the Great of Russia ends the tax imposed on men wearing beards.

April 20: The final pirate trial for followers of Bartholomew Roberts is held at Cape Coast Castle. 54 are sentenced to hang, while 37 are sentenced to work as indentured servants. 74 are acquitted. 52 black pirates are sold into slavery.

May 6: Pirate surgeon George Wilson dies.

May 28: George Lowther and Edward Low part company.

July: Edward Low plunders 13 vessels near Marblehead.

August 1: George Shelvocke returns from his round-the-world, privateering adventure.

August 28: A hurricane strikes Port Royal five days after 19 pirates arrive. More than 40 ships sink in harbour. One third of town destroyed.

April: Captain Fenn and other pirates are captured at Tobago.

June: Pirates kill their captain, Thomas Anstis, and 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.

July 10: Captain Peter Solgard, HMS Greyhound, engages Edward Low’s Ranger, but Low escapes capture.

July 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.

May 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.

May 12: John Phillips's crew is arrested and tried for piracy.

May 24: Captain Johnson's A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates is published.

June 2: John Rose Archer and William White are hanged at Hudson's Point.

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 aboard the Elizabeth during the night. Captain Green and his mate are thrown overboard, and the mutineers become pirates. They rechristen the ship Fame's Revenge.

July 3: Forced men take back their vessel and seize William Fly and others. They sail to Boston, Massachusetts and surrender to authorities with their prisoners.

July 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.

July 12: William Fly is hanged in Boston.

July 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 arrives 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 Guarda Costa in the Caribbean cut off the ear of mariner Robert Jenkins. This act proves the catalyst in a war between Britain and Spain.

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

Woodes Rogers dies in Nassau.

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.

Grog -- a mixture of rum, tea or water, and lime juice -- is served aboard Royal Navy vessels for the first time.

June 6: 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 (War of Jenkins' Ear).It lasts until 1748.

September 14: George Frideric Handel completes the Messiah, which becomes one of the most famous oratorios.

June 11: Benjamin Franklin invents the Franklin stove.

March 11: First auction is held in London at Sotheby's. The sale is of books.

March 14: Louis XV of France declares war on Great Britain.

September 12: Sarah Bradley Oort Kidd Rousby dies of diptheria at the age of 74. Although her third husband, William Kidd, provided for her, she never shares the secret of where those provisions are located.

August 19: Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) raises his standard at Glenfinnan, Scotland to launch the Jacobite Rising of 1745.

September 17: Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) and his Jacobite Army, occupy Edinburgh, Scotland during the Rising of 1745.

September 21: Battle of Prestonpans, near Edinburgh. Jacobite Army routes Hanoverian Army in 10 minutes.

November 11: Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite Army enters England.

November 18: The Jacobite Army occupies Carlisle, England.

December 4: Bonnie Prince Charlie's army reaches Derby, England.

December 6: The Jacobite Army retreats to Scotland.

January 3: Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Army leave Glasgow, Scotland.

January 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 is defeated at Culloden, Scotland during the Rising of 1745. This is the 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 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.

September 1: What will become known as the Liberty Bell arrives in Philadelphia.

September 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.

September 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 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 isTurkey. This change in the calendar also moves 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.

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.

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

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

January 11: First life insurance company in America is founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

January 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 (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 an American newspaper.

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

November 15: Survey 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.

Zheng Yi is born to a piratical Chinese family.

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

March 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.

March 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.

June 10: After the British seize John Hancock's Liberty for smuggling, a riot breaks out in Boston, Massachusetts.

June 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 the his 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

April 19: Captain James Cook of the British Royal Navy sights Australia while on an exploration voyage.

April 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.

June 9: Communion is served for the first time in a Protestant church west of Pennsyvlania. The church is located in Ohio.

December 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.

December 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.

The 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.

April 14: First American abolition society is founded in Philadelphia.

April 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.

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

June 15: The Continental Congress appoints George Washington as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.

June 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.

July 3: George Washington takes command of the Continental Army at Cambridge, Massachusetts.

July 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.

November 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.

November 10: The Continental Congress establishes the US Marine Corps.

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

December 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.

March 25: The Continental Congress authorizes the use of privateers in the war against Britain.

April 3: Continental Congress begins issuing privateering commissions.

April 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.

June 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.

June 28: The final draft of the Declaration of Independence is submitted to the Continental Congress.

July 4: The Continental Congress approves the Declaration of Independence, seceding from Great Britain.

July 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).

September 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.

September 8: The Continental Congress official renames the 13 united colonies as the United States of America.

September 21: One quarter of New York City burns.
September 21: The British arrest Nathan Hale as a spy for the American rebels.

September 22: The British hang Nathan Hale for espionage.

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

December 6: British troops seal off Narragansett Bay, severing Providence, Rhode Island’s access to the Atlantic Ocean.

December 25: George Washington and his army cross the Delaware. The surprise attack against 1,400 Hessians ends in their defeat.

December 26: The Continental Army wins its first 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.

March 11: The British Parliament legitimizes privateering during the war with the Thirteen Colonies.

March 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.

September 3: The Stars and Stripes, representing the original 13 states of the United States, flies in battle for the first time near Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania.

September 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.

January 16: The Moonlight Battle or Battle of Cape St. Vincent takes place.

March 1: Pennsylvania abolishes slavery for any baby born thereafter. It becomes the first state to enact any emancipation legislation.

March 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 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.

October 2: Major John Andre of the British Army is hanged as a spy by the Americans during the Revolutionary War.

October 9: 20,000-30,000 people died during the Great Hurricane of 1780, which makes its first landfall in Barbados.

March 13: William Herschel discovers Uranus, although he believes the planet to be a comet.

September 4: Founding of Los Angeles, California

September 5: Battle of the Chesapeake (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 13 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.

March 1: The states finish ratifiying the the Articles of Confederation.

March 8: The Ohio militia kills 90 Indians at Gnadenhutten.

April 9-12: 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.

April 16: John Adams secures recognition of the United States as an independent government from the Dutch Republic. The house he purchases in The Hague becomes the first American embassy.

July 1: American privateers attack Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

August 7: George Washington orders the first US military medal, 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.

June 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.

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.

June 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 does not involve their murder; rather, it is whether insurance covers the lost "cargo." The trial highlights 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.

November 3: Footpad and murderer John Austin is that last person publicly hanged at London's Tyburn gallows.

November 23: Annapolis, Maryland becomes the capital of the United States. It remains so until June of the next year.

December 9: First execution at Newgate Jail takes place in London. Previous executions occurred at Tyburn.

December 23: General George Washington resigns as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.

Dutch invade Riau.

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.

The British establish asettlement 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 an 18-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: 39 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.

January 9: Boston Sail Cloth Factory, the first United States mill to make sailcloth, opens.

January 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.

January 26: 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 City.

April 14: George Washington becomes the first President of the United States.

April 28: Mutineers, led by Fletcher Christian, seize HMS Bounty from her captain, William Bligh. Bligh and 18 crew members loyal to the captain are set adrift in a lifeboat.

April 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.

June 13: Mrs. Alexander Hamilton serves ice cream for dessert in Washington City.

June 14: Captain Bligh and 18 loyal men reach Timor, a voyage that covers 5,800 kilometers (nearly 4,000 miles) after they are set adrift in a launch seven weeks earlier following the mutiny aboard HMS Bounty.

June 17: France's Third Estate, as well as reformers from nobility and clergy, declares itself a National Assembly.

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

October 3: First national Thanksgiving Day is proclaimed by President George Washington.

October 8: Rachel Ward is hanged in Boston for murder, rather than piracy.

October 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.

August 4: The United States establishes the US Revenue Cutter Service to enforce customs. It will become known as the US Coast Guard in 1915.

August 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.

August 4: The Ottoman-Hapsburg wars end with the signing of the Treaty of Sistova.

August 22: Haitian Slave Revolution begins. The slave revolt on Saint Domingue destroys 180 sugar plantations and 900 estates that produce coffee, cotton, and indigo. 200 whites and 10,000 slaves die.

August 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.

March 3: The United States declares war on Algiers, whose corsairs have been attacking American ships and taking prisoners.

March 16: Gustav III of Sweden is shot during a masked ball at the opera. He succumbs 13 days later.

April 14: The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars between England and France begin when France declares war on Austria. Britain will join other nations already at war with France the following year. Although there are brief interludes of peace, the British and French will be at war until 1815, a period of 23 years.

April 17: Stephen Decatur captures the Algerine frigate Mashouda.

April 25: Nicolas Pelletier, a highwayman, is executed. His death is the first use of the guillotine in France.
April 25: Claude Joseph Rouget composes "La Marseillaise," which will eventually become France's national anthem.

May 8: The United States institutes a military draft for the first time.

May 12: A patent is granted for the first self-flushing toilet.

August 10: King Louis XVI of France and his wife, Marie Antoinette, are imprisoned.

August 29: HMS Royal George capsizes at Spithead, killing more than 800.

September 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 becomes known as the Hope Diamond.

September 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.

September 21: The National Convention forms the First Republic in France and abolishes the monarchy.

October 13: Old Farmer's Almanac is published for the first time.
October 13: The cornerstone for the President's House is laid in Washington City.

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

December 8: The first cremation occurs in the United States.

December 15: The first life insurance policy is issued in the United States in Philadelphia.

January 16: The National Convention sentences Louis XVI of France to death.

January 21: Louis XVI of France is guillotined four months after the monarchy is dissolved and France becomes a republic.
January 21: Swiss Guards arrive in Vatican City to stand as watchmen for the pope.

February 1: France declares war on Britain and the Dutch Republic.

February 12: The United States Congress passes the first fugitive slave law. It requires escaped slaves to be returned to their owners.

March 7: France declares war on Spain.

March 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 four days later.

August 10: The Louvre opens in Paris.

August 19: First death during a yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. More than 5,000 will die by the time the epidemic runs its course in November.

August 28: British Admiral Lord Hood accepts custody of Toulon from local French royalists. Holding the port proves impossible and, on 18 December, the Royal Navy embarks with many citizens while under fire from French revolutionists led by a relatively unknown artillery captain named Napoleon.

September 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.

September 17: France passes the Law of Suspects, which widens the definition of "suspect."

September 18: President George Washington lays the cornerstone of the US Capitol in Washington City.

October 16: Marie Antoinette of France is beheaded.

October-November: Barbary corsairs seize 11 American merchant ships. One  is the brig Betsey, which Murat Reis, the admiral of Tunis's fleet of corsairs, converts into a warship mounting 28 guns.

November 26:The French Republic adopts a new calendar of 12 months each with 30 days. It remains in effect until 1805.

December 22: Napoleon is promoted to brigadier general.

January 13: The United States flag changes to 15 stars and 15 stripes.

February 4: The French National Convention abolishes slavery.

March 14: Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin.

March 15: George Washington signs the Naval Armament Act that establishes the U.S. Navy as a result 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.

May 6: Toussaint l'Ouverture rises up against the French on Haiti.

May 26: France decrees that no British or Hanoverian prisoners will be taken. They will be killed.

May 28: The British Royal Navy's Channel Fleet and the French Republic's Atlantic Fleet sight each other. Rear-Admiral Louis Thomas Villaret-Joyeuse attempts to misdirect the British, while the grain convoy from the United States continues onto France. (The convoy eventually does reach its destination.) Skirmishes follow until the two enemies meet in battle on 1 June.

June 1: The first fleet action between the British Royal Navy and France's navy during the French Revolution. 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 takes place on the revolutionary calendar.

July 12: Horatio Nelson, commander of HMS Agamennon, is wounded during the attack on Calvi, Corsica. The splinter causes the loss of sight in one eye.

July 26: Maximilien Robespierre gives his last speech to the National Convention in France.

July 27: Maximilien Robespierre is arrested.

July 28: Maximilien Robespierre is beheaded. During the next two days, 105 of his followers are also executed in Paris, ending the Reign of Terror in France.

November 19: 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 seize enemy goods aboard neutral American vessels.

British establishes a  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 14 Dutch ships and 850 guns. It is a rarity for cavalry to capture a fleet.

April 1: France begins using the metric system, becoming the first country to do so.

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

July 14: The French National Convention decrees that France's national anthem will be Claude-Jospeh 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 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.

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.

September: Spain declares war on Great Britain.

September 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 is awarded 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 Royal Navy's Nore Mutiny begins.

July 8: First time a United States senator is impeached and expelled from Congress. He is William Blount of Tennessee.

July 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.

October 21: The USS Constitution is launched in Boston, Massachusetts.

October 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 and survives, becoming the first person to use a parachute.

British Parliament passes the Convoy Act of 1798, requiring all merchantmen to sail in protected convoys.

Lord Nelson begins his affair with Lady Emma Hamilton.

June 12: Malta surrenders to Napoleon.

July 7: Quasi-War between France and the United States begins.

July 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 the 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. The destruction of the French fleet is the most devastating naval victory of the century; it is also 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 is introduced in Britain. Its purpose is to raise money to fund the war against Napoleon.

February 9:The USS Constellation captures the French frigate L'Insurgent during America's Quasi-War with France. It is the United States' first victory over a foreign naval vessel.

March 2: The United States Congress standardizes the country's weights and measures.

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 Egyptian Campaign, the Rosetta Stone is found.

November 9: Napoleon seizes power in France and becomes First Consul of France.

November 12: Writing in his journal, astronomer Andrew Endicott describes the Leonids meteor shower. This is the first recording of such an event.


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

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

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

April 24: The Library of Congress is established.

June: Washington City becomes the capital of the United States.

July 8: Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse vaccinates his son against smallpox. It is the first time the cowpox vaccine is given in the United States.

November 1: John Adams become the first US president to live in the White House.

November 4: French law prohibits women from wearing trousers. Although a few exceptions will be permitted a century later, the law itself will not lifted until 2013.

November 7: Women are forbidden to wear trousers in Paris without a permit from police. This edict is not repealed until 2013.

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