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1620 Nov 11
Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower, anchored off Massachusetts, signed a compact calling for a "body politick." 102 Pilgrims stepped ashore. 41 men signed the compact calling themselves Saints and others Strangers. One passenger died enroute and 2 were born during the passage. Their military commander was Miles Standish. In 1945 George Willison authored "Saints and Strangers." In 2006 Nathaniel Philbrick authored “Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War.”
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1621 Oct
The first American Thanksgiving was held in Massachusetts' Plymouth colony in 1621 to give thanks for a bountiful harvest. 51 Pilgrims served codfish, sea bass and turkeys while their 90 Wampanoag guests contributed venison to the feast. After the survival of their first colony through a bitter winter and the subsequent gathering of the harvest in the autumn, Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford issued a thanksgiving proclamation. During the three-day October thanksgiving the Pilgrims feasted on wild turkey and venison with their Native American guests. American Indians introduced cranberries to the white settlers. In 2006 Godfrey Hodgson, British historian, authored “A Great and Godly Adventure: The Pilgrims and the Myth of the First Thanksgiving.” American scholars quickly defied Hodgson’s allegation that there were no turkeys in the region.
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1621 Dec 5
A letter from the English office of the Virginia Company reported that European honeybees (Apis mellifera) were shipped to America. They arrived in Virginia in March 1622.
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1622
William Bradford and Edward Winslow authored “Mourt’s Relation.” It was published in London and provided an account of the Plymouth colony’s first year.
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1622
Powhattan Indians attacked the outlying settlements of Jamestown and destroyed the Henricus settlement.
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1624 May 24
James I revoked Virginia's charter after years of unprofitable operation and it became a royal colony.
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1630
The Boston Common was first used by the Pilgrims as a common grazing ground for their livestock. It remained open to livestock until 1830.
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1631 Feb 5
A ship from Bristol, the Lyon, arrived with provisions for the Massachusetts Bay Colony (Massachusetts Bay Company). Puritan Roger Williams, proponent of religious freedom and later founder of Rhode Island, arrived with his wife in Boston from England and joined the Separatist colony at Plymouth.
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1631
The General Court of Massachusetts gave voting rights only to Puritan church members.
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1632
Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, a small city between the York and James rivers was founded.
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1634
Gov. John Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony estimated the local population rather counting it directly.
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1635 Oct 9
Religious dissident Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony (Mass. Bay Company). He became a founder of Rhode Island. Enforcement was delayed until the following January due to illness.
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1635 Dec 25
Samuel de Champlain (b.1575), French navigator and founder of Quebec City, died in Quebec. In 2008 David Hackett Fischer authored “Champlain’s Dream.”
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1636 Jun
Roger Williams and his followers founded Providence, Rhode Island, on land purchased from the Narragansett Indians. The settlement was governed by policies of democracy and religious tolerance.
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1636
The first militia units in the Massachusetts Bay Colony were formed.
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1637 Nov 7
1637 Nov 8
Anne Hutchinson (b.1591) and her followers were tried as heretics and banished from the Mass Bay colony to Rhode Island.
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1637
John Tradescant the younger, a widower with a son and daughter, undertook the first of three voyages from England to Virginia “to gather up all raritye of flowers, plants, shells.” The King’s request to search for useful trees and herbs, no doubt played a role in Tradescant’s decision to take this trip during what must have been a very difficult time.
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1637
The Archbishop of Canterbury launched an effort to revoke the charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, but the boat carrying the English authorities sank on its way. This period in Pilgrim and Puritan history was covered by Sarah Vowell in “The Wordy Shipmates” (2008).
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1638 Jun 1
The first earthquake was recorded in the U.S. at Plymouth, Mass. The first US earthquake on record with significant human consequence was recorded on Aug 31, 1886, with the loss of some 100 lives in Charleston, S.C. Its massive effect spread through many eastern States.
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1638 Sep 14
John Harvard (B.1607), a Massachusetts Puritan minister died. On his deathbed he bequeathed half his estate to Harvard College.
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1640
English colonists founded Greenwich, Connecticut. It evolved into an exclusive retreat from nearby NYC.
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1640
The Bay Psalm Book, the first book printed in British North America, was published in Cambridge, Mass., on a press shipped from England. In 2013 a copy sold at a Sotheby’s auction for a recored $14.2 million.
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1642
A diamond, said to be stolen from a Hindu statue, was acquired in India by Jean Baptiste Tavernier, a noted French traveler. The 45.52 carat steel blue diamond was found in India back in remote times as a rough crystal weighing 112 carats. Tavernier later sold to King Louis XIV of France. The diamond, known as the French Blue or the Tavernier Blue, disappeared. For many years it was not heard from at all. In 1830, a large steel blue diamond of a different shape, and weighing only 44.50 carats appeared on the market in England and was purchased by Henry Thomas Hope, an English banker. It changed hands a number of times and in 1911 it was sold to Evelyn Walsh McLean of Washington, DC, who had it placed in a Cartier setting.
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1643
Roger Williams of Providence, Rhode Island, published “A Key into the Language of America,” a dictionary of the Narragansett Indian language and a commentary on the culture and customs of the southern New England Indians. The work was printed in England by Gregory Dexter.
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1644 Mar 14
Roger Williams of Providence, Rhode Island, was issued a charter in the name of the king, which connected the towns of Providence, Portsmouth, and Newport under the title of "the Incorporation of Providence Plantations in the Narragansett Bay in New England." A March 24 date is also common for this and reflects later use of the new style calendar.
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1644
Roger Williams published “The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution,” a sweeping condemnation of Massachusetts’s intolerance and a manifesto defending the rights of each individual to decide, according to his own conscience, how best to worship god without interference from any civil authority.
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1647
Samuel Danforth, a Puritan minister, authored “An Almanack for the Year of Lord 1647.” It included a 20-year chronology of notable events in the Massachusetts colony.
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1649
1653
This period marks the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland or Cromwellian war in Ireland. The Parliamentarians deported about 50,000 people as indentured laborers. They were sent to the English colonies of America and West Indies.
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1652 May 18
A law was passed in Rhode Island banning slavery in the colonies but it caused little stir and was not enforced. More than 1,000 slave voyages were mounted from Rhode Island, mostly in the 18th century, carrying more than 100,000 Africans into slavery.
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1652
Massachusetts produced a silver colonial coin that was found with a metal detector in 1989 in a potato field. In 2012 it was auctioned off for $430,000.
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1652
The English Parliament passed the Act for the Settlement of Ireland which classified the Irish population into one of several categories according to their degree of involvement in the uprising and subsequent war. Dr. William Petty, Physician-General to Cromwell's Army, estimated that as many as 100,000 Irish men, women and children were transported to the colonies in the West Indies and in North America as slaves.
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1654
Roger Williams (1603-1683) was elected as the 9th president of President of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
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1656 Jul 1
The 1st Quakers, Mary Fisher and Ann Austin, arrived in Boston and were promptly arrested.
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1657
The last wolf in Boston, Mass., was killed.
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1658 Sep 3
Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the New Commonwealth, i.e. ruler over England’s Puritan parliament (1653-58), died at age 59. Richard Cromwell had succeeded his father as English Lord Protector. Cromwell was responsible for shipping Romanichal Gypsies (i.e., Gypsies from Britain) as slaves to the southern plantations; there is documentation of Gypsies being owned by freed black slaves in Jamaica.
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1661
Massachusetts merchant William Payne willed a spectacular 35-acre seafront property for the benefit of public school children, decreeing the land should never be sold or wasted. The land gift was intended to help Ipswich comply with a 1647 colonial law that required communities with more than 100 families to set up a grammar school to prepare students for admission to Harvard.
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1662 Jun
Mary Sanford (~39) of Hartford, Connecticut, was convicted of “familiarity with Satan.” Historians later surmised that she was hanged for her crimes. In 2006 a descendant of Sanford worked on legislation to clear her ancestor as well as a dozen or so other women and men convicted for witchcraft in Connecticut from 1647 to the 1660s.
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1675 Jun 8
Three Wampanoag Indians were hanged in Plymouth, Massachusetts. On the testimony of a Native American witness, Plymouth Colony arrested three Wampanoags, including a counselor to Metacom, a Pokanoket sachem. A jury among whom were some Indian members convicted them of the recent murder of John Sassamon, an advisor to Metacom.
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1675 Jun 20
King Philip’s War began when Indians--retaliating for the execution of three of their people who had been charged with murder by the English--massacred colonists at Swansea, Plymouth colony. Abenaki, Massachusetts, Mohegan & Wampanoag Indians formed an anti English front. Wampanoag warriors attacked livestock and looted farms.
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1676 Feb 10
In King Philip’s War Narragansett and Nipmuck Indians raided Lancaster, Mass. Over 35 villagers were killed and 24 were taken captive including Mary Rowlandson (1637-1711) and her 3 children. Rowlandson was freed after 11 weeks and an account of her captivity was published posthumously in 1682.
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1676 Mar 29
Wampanoag allies including Narragansetts destroyed Providence, Rhode Island. The house of Roger Williams was destroyed as he negotiated with Indian leaders on the outskirts of town.
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1676
Roger Williams published “George Fox Digg’d Out of His Burrowes.” It was an account of his debates with the Quakers in Newport and Providence.
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1679
Louis Hennepin, a Catholic priest, sailed up the Detroit River aboard the Griffon, through Lake St. Clair, which he named, and into Lake Huron and beyond. The French ship Le Griffon, built by explorer Rene-Robert Sieur de La Salle disappeared during its maiden voyage.
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1682
William Penn established Bucks County as one of Pennsylvania’s 3 original counties.
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1683 Apr 1
Roger Williams (b.1603) died in poverty in Rhode Island. Williams died at Providence between, his wife Mary having predeceased him in 1676. Williams was the first champion of complete religious toleration in America. In 2005 Edwin S. Gaustad authored the biography “Roger Williams.”
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1687 Mar 19
French explorer Robert Cavelier (b.1643), Sieur de La Salle, the first European to navigate the length of the Mississippi River, was murdered by mutineers while searching for the mouth of the Mississippi, along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in present-day Texas.
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1687 Oct 27
The Connecticut colony’s charter was stolen during a public meeting in which Gov. Robert Treat defended the colony against demands by Sir Edmund Andros. It was soon hidden under an oak tree (the Charter Oak) in Hartford to protect it from seizure by agents of the King James II.
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1687
William Penn authored “The Excellent Privilege of Liberty and Property Being the Birth-Right of the Free-born subjects of England.”
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1690 Sep 25
One of the earliest American newspapers, “Publick Occurrences,” published its first and last edition in Boston. The colonial governor and council disallowed the pamphlet due to its contents.
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1692 Feb
William and Mary granted a royal license for postal service in the American colonies. It empowered Thomas Neale "to erect, settle and establish within the chief parts of their majesties' colonies and plantations in America, an office or offices for the receiving and dispatching letters and pacquets, and to receive, send and deliver the same under such rates and sums of money as the planters shall agree to give, and to hold and enjoy the same for the term of twenty-one years.”
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1692 Jun 10
Bridget Bishop was hanged in Salem, Mass., for witchcraft. This was the first official execution of the Salem witch trials.
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1692 Aug 19
Five women were hanged in Salem, Massachusetts after being convicted of the crime of witchcraft. Fourteen more people were executed that year and 150 others are imprisoned. In 2006 the governor of Massachusetts signed legislation exonerating 5 women executed in the Salem witch trials of 1692, whose names had not yet been cleared. In 2015 Stacy Schiff authored “The Witches: Salem, 1692.”
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1692 Oct 8
Massachusetts Bay Governor Phipps ordered that spectral evidence no longer be admitted in witchcraft trials. Twenty people had died in the Salem witch trials. In 2005 Richard Francis authored “Judge Sewall’s Apology.” Sewall was one of 3 judges presiding over the Salem trials. In 2006 the governor of Massachusetts signed legislation exonerating 5 women executed in the Salem witch trials of 1692, whose names had not yet been cleared.
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1697
In Boston’s Old South Church Judge Sewall told the congregation that he accepted “blame and shame” for the 1692 Salem witch trials. None of the other judges joined him in repenting.
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1698
The Spanish established Presidio Santa Maria de Galve (later Pensacola, Florida).
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1698
The Virginia statehouse at Jamestown burned and the capital was moved to Williamsburg.
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1699
Williamsburg became the capital of Virginia and served as the capital of the British colony until 1780.
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1700 Jan 26
A magnitude 9.0 earthquake shook Northern California, Oregon, Washington and British Colombia. It triggered tsunami that damages villages in Japan.
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1706
In Virginia Grace Sherwood, aka the Witch of Pungo, was accused of being a witch and forced to undergo a trial by water. She floated and was imprisoned for nearly 8 years. In 2006 the governor of Virginia officially her name.
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1708 Jun 8
The Spanish galleon San Jose was trying to outrun a fleet of British warships off Colombia's coast, when a mysterious explosion sent it to the bottom of the sea with gold, silver, emeralds and 600 men. 14 men survived. In 1979 Sea Search signed a deal with Colombia giving Sea Search exclusive rights to search for the San Jose and 50 percent of whatever they find. In 1982 Sea Search announced to the world it had found the San Jose's resting place 700 feet below the water's surface, a few miles from the historic Caribbean port of Cartagena. In 1984 Colombian President Belisario Betancur signed a decree reducing Sea Search's share from 50% to a 5% "finder's fee." By 2007 the treasure was valued at more than $2 billion. In July, 2007, Colombia’s highest court ruled that the ship must first be recovered before an international dispute over the fortune can be settled. In 2007 Carla Rahn Phillips authored “The Treasure of San Jose: Death at Sea in the War of the Spanish Succession.” In 2015 Experts confirmed that they found the San Jose on November 27 in a place never before referenced by previous research.
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