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Apart from the brief visit of the Scandinavians in the early eleventh century, the Western Hemisphere remained unknown to Europe until Columbus's voyage in 1492. However, the native peoples of North and South America arrived from Asia long before, in a series of migrations that began perhaps as early as forty thousand years ago across the land bridge that connected Siberia and Alaska.
Massachusetts History Timeline
Important Dates, Events, and Milestones
Offers a chronological timeline of important dates, events, and milestones in Massachusetts history.
1602 - Bartholomew Gosnold explores coast.
1604 - Samuel de Champlain explores and maps coast.
1606 - James I grants charter to Plymouth Company to colonize Northern Virginia.
1607 - Three ships arrived from England with 104 men and boys. The settlers named the nearby river James, after their king and then settled on a narrow peninsula of the river, and named it Jamestown.
1614 - Capt. John Smith maps coast.
1620 - The Mayflower sailed from Plymouth, England, arriving on the coast of Cape Cod instead of Virginia. After exploring the coast, the ship finally anchored in Plymouth harbor, and the Pilgrims established a settlement.
1621 - The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in Plymouth. This feast, after the first Plymouth harvest, set the model for our current day feast.
1628 - John Endecott founds Puritan settlement in what is now Salem.
1629 - Massachusetts Bay Company chartered.
1630 - In September 1630, Governor John Winthrop and the Massachusetts Bay Colony settlers traveled to the peninsula, known as Shawmut by the Algonquins, and founded Dorchester, the first part of the city of Boston.
1632 - Boston made capital of Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1634 - Boston Common became the first public park in America.
1635 - The first American public secondary school, Boston Latin Grammar School, founded in Boston.
1636 - Harvard College was established in 1636. It was named for after John Harvard of Charlestown, who left half his estate to the new institution upon his death in 1638. Founded in Newtowne (now Cambridge).
1638- The first American printing press was set up in Cambridge by Stephen Daye.
1646 - First American Ironworks established in Saugus.
1653 - The first American public library founded in Boston.
1675 - King Philip's War brings Indian attacks on settlers.
1676 - The end of King Philip's War
1684 - Massachusetts charter annulled.
1691 - Massachusetts granted new charter; becomes royal colony including
1692 - Witchcraft trials begin in Salem.
1693 - Society of Negroes is founded in Boston, Massachusetts.
1704 - The first regularly issued American newspaper, The Boston News-Letter,
1716 - America's first lighthouse, "The Boston Light" was built in Boston Harbor.
1763 - End of Indian Wars in 1763 allows expansion in Western Massachusetts to a total of 184 towns by 1763.
1770 - Tensions aroused from British troops' presence in Boston, culminated in 5 men dying, when troops fired at colonists at the Customs House on March 5.
1773 - Boston Tea Party dumps tea into bay - Colonists at Faneuil Hall, in Boston, oppose taxes.
1776 - Colonial troops force British to evacuate Boston.
1780 - State constitution adopted; John Hancock becomes first elected governor.
1785- Daniel Shay led a rebellion by farmers protesting excessive taxes, oppressive governmental systems and unfair laws and treatment of working people.
1788 - Massachusetts is sixth state to ratify the United States Constitution on
1789 - The first American novel, William Hill Brown's The Power of Sympathy,
1795 - State House built in Boston.
1796 - John Adams, born 1735 in Quincy, elected 2nd president of United States.
1806 - The first church built by free blacks in America, the African Meeting House,
1820 - Maine separated from Massachusetts.
1822 - Lowell set up as factory town - Boston chartered.
1824 - John Quincy Adams, born 1767 in Quincy, elected 6th president of United States.
1826 - The first American railroad built in Quincy.
1827 - Francis Leiber opened the first swim school in America July 23, 1827. Among the first to enroll was John Quincy Adams.
1831 - The first abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator, published in Boston by
1833 - Constitutional amendment separates church and state; ends Puritanism in
1839 - The first vulcanized rubber produced by Charles Goodyear in Woburn.
1840 - The typewriter was invented by Charles Thurber in Worcester.
1845 - The first sewing machine made by Elias Howe in Boston.
1846 - William T.G. Morton, a Boston dentist, first demonstrated the use of anesthesia in surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, using a specially designed glass inhaler containing an ether-soaked sponge.
1850 - The first National Women's Rights Convention convenes in Worcester.
1861 - America's greatest internal conflict - 3 million fought and 600,000 died in the War Between the States before General Lee surrendered his Confederate Army to General Grant at the village of Appomattox Court House General Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865.
1863 - University of Massachusetts chartered at Amherst.
1865 - Robert Ware, of MIT, began the first professional training program for architects. Prior to this, architects trained in Europe or learned through apprenticeship.
1866 - The first African-American legislators in New England elected to the
1875 - The first American Christmas card printed by Louis Prang in Boston.
1876 - The first telephone demonstrated by Alexander Graham Bell in Boston.
1877 - Helen Magill White becomes the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in the US (Boston University)
1881 - The Country Club in Brookline became the first country club in America dedicated to "outdoor pursuits".
1886 - The first transformer demonstrated by William Stanley in Great
1892 - The first successful gasoline-powered automobile perfected by Charles and Frank Duryea in Springfield.
1893 - The first successful gasoline-powered automobile was perfected by Charles and Frank Duryea in Springfield.
1895 - The first volleyball game played in Holyoke.
1896 - The first American public beach established in Revere.
1897 - The first successful American subway system opened in Boston.
1903 - First Trans-Atlantic Radio Broadcast made by from Marconi Station at Wellfleet when President Theodore Roosevelt and King Edward VII of Great Britain exchanged greetings.
1907 - World's first motorized fire wagon developed by Knox Manufacturing Company.
1912 - Textile workers go on strike in Lawrence
1914 - Canal links Cape Cod Bay with Buzzards Bay.
1920 - Governor Calvin Coolidge elected vice-president; becomes 30th president
1924 - L. Sherman Adams introduced the world's first mutual fund.
1925 - Edith Nourse Rogers (Republican – Massachusetts) was the first woman to serve in the U. S. House of Representatives. She was the longest serving women in House and introduced the GI Bill of Rights among other major initiatives.
1920-27 - Sacco-Vanzetti case gains world attention.
1926 - The first successful liquid fuel rocket launched by Dr. Robert Goddard in
1928 - The first computer, a non-electronic "differential analyzer," developed by Dr. Vannevar Bush of M.I.T. in Cambridge.
1944 - And, not to be outdone by M.I.T., Howard Aiken of Harvard developed the
1954 - First successful Kidney transplant between twins at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston.
1957 - Massachusetts Turnpike opened.
1960 - John F. Kennedy, born 1917 in Brookline, elected 35th president of United States; assassinated 1963.
1961 - The first nuclear-powered surface vessel, USS Long Beach CG(N) 9,
1966 - Edward W. Brooke is first black elected to United States Senate by popular vote.
1969 - Bolt Beranek & Newman deploys ARPANET, precursor to the Internet.
1971 - Ray Tomlinson of Beranek & Newman sent the first email. The first email message was "QWERTYUIOP" and was sent between two side by side computers connected via ARPANET.
1979 - The first PC-based electronic spreadsheet, VisiCalc is developed by Daniel Brickman.
1980 - Walter Gilbert was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1980 for discovering a technique to decode DNA.
State History Timelines
State History Timelines
Chronological timeline of important dates, events, and milestones in United States history from discovery to present
What is the past, and why is it important? How do we learn about events in the past?
Study history will allow students to gain a frame of reference for understanding history and for recognizing that the past is different depending on who is remembering and retelling it.