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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.
North Dakota History Timeline
Important Dates, Events, and Milestones
Offers a chronological timeline of important dates, events, and milestones in North Dakota history.
1610 - Henry Hudson claimed the Hudson Bay watershed, which included much of eastern North Dakota for England.
1682 - LaSalle claimed the entire Mississippi River drainage which included the Missouri River drainage in North Dakota, for France.
1713 - England receives the northern part of North Dakota from France
1738 - Pierre Gaultier de la Vérendrye, a French explorer, visited Mandan villages near the Missouri River. This is the first known Euro-American expedition into what is now North Dakota.
1742 - The sons of La Verendrye returned to the Missouri River as part of an expedition in search of a western sea. Subsequent explorers to visit this region included Jonathan Carver (1768) and David Thompson (1797), among others.
1762 - Spain received from France land claimed by LaSalle.
1763 - Treaty of Paris granted to England part of the state drained by the Mouse and the Red Rivers.
1781 - The first known business enterprise, a fur trading post, was briefly established near the Souris River, but was soon abandoned as a result of pressure from unfriendly Indians.
1792 - Jacques D'Englise (Santiago Leglise) opened trade between Mandan villages and Spanish interests from St. Louis.
1794 - René Jusseaume built a Fur Post near the Knife River.
1796 - John Evans from St. Louis ascended the Missouri River to the Mandan villages near the Knife River.
1801 - John Cameron built a trading post at the current site of Grand Forks.
1802 - On March 12, the first non-Indian child was born in what is now North Dakota to Pierre Bonza and his wife, Black slaves of Alexander Henry, Jr.
1804 & 1806 - An expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark entered North Dakota and wintered near the present town of Washburn on its way to the Pacific Coast. This temporary post, Fort Mandan, was frequently visited by nearby Indians.
1806 - The Lewis and Clark Expedition returned down the river on its way back to St. Louis. Their journey marked the first major American penetration of the area and was characterized by amicable relationships with native inhabitants.
1822 - Fur Trading posts were established in the Missouri Valley.
1829 - Fort Union fur trading post was established.
1831 - Fort Clark fur trading post was established.
1832 - The Yellowstone, the first steamboat on the upper Missouri, reached Fort Union.
1834 - Land east of the Missouri River became part of the Territory of Michigan.
1836 - Land east of the Missouri River became part of the Territory of Wisconsin.
1837 - A smallpox epidemic virtually annihilated the Mandan Indians near Fort Clark.
1838 - Land east of the Missouri River became part of the Territory of Iowa.
1839 - John C. Fremont and Jean Nicollet explored the east-central part of the state.
1842 - The first Red River ox-cart caravan traversed trails between St. Joseph (Walhalla) and St. Paul, inaugurating a major commerce that continued for over 25 years. Major fur posts in this area were operated by Joseph Rolette (1842), Norman Kittson (1843), and Antoine Gingras (1843).
1845 - Fort Berthold fur trading post was established.
1849 - Land east of the Missouri River became part of the Minnesota Territory.
1853 - Issac I. Stevens crossed the state surveying the "Northern Route" for the proposed transcontinental railroad.
1854 - Land east of the Missouri River became part of the Nebraska Territory.
1859 - The Anson Northrup, first steamboat on the Red River, traveled from Fort Abercrombie to Winnipeg.
1860 - Regular steamboat service on the Missouri River began.
1861 - Dakota Territory was officially organized by the Federal government and William Jayne was appointed the first governor by President Abraham Lincoln.
1866 - The military post of Fort Buford (1866-95) was established.
1878 - Ranching was introduced in western Dakota Territory.
1880 - Military reserves in the eastern and central portion of northern Dakota were opened to homesteading.
1884 - Half the city of Devils Lake was destroyed by fire.
1895 - The State Historical Society of North Dakota was incorporated with Clement A. Lounsberry as president.
1897 - The first free public library opened at Grafton.
1899 - North Dakota lost its reputation as being the national divorce mecca when a 90-day residency law expired.
1900 - Frank White of Valley City was elected Governor; when reelected in 1902, he became the state's first Governor to serve more than one term.
1906 - Charles Service of Park River became North Dakota's first automobile fatality.
The Liberty Memorial Building was completed on the state Capital grounds.
1929 - June was one of the driest on record in North Dakota, followed by continuing drought conditions throughout the 1930s; this period is often referred to as the "Dirty Thirties." This also marks the beginning of the Great Depression which continued until the beginning of World War II.
1934 - On July 18, the North Dakota Supreme Court disqualified Governor Langer as a result of his conviction for campaigning law violations and Lt. Governor Ole Olson assumed office.
1938 - The first hard-surfaced hiway across North Dakota (US 10) was completed.
1939 - Bismarck Junior College (now Bismarck State College) was established and its first building was constructed on the Capitol grounds.
1940 - The staff of the North Dakota National Guard was ordered into Federal service.
1944 - The Pick-Sloan Plan for the development of Missouri River waters was approved by Congress.
1946 - Construction of Garrison Dam began.
1957 - Construction began at the Minot Air Force base; this base was operational in December, 1959.
1961 - Roger Maris from Fargo broke Babe Ruth's single season home run record.
1967 - The United Power Cooperative Generation facility near Stanton was begun.
Investigation ensued following the failure of the Towner Bank.
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.