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Historical Highlights

Jump directly to eyewitness accounts of famous moments in American history by clicking the year.

  • ca. 1000 A.D.: Leif Ericson lands in North America [AJ-056, p. 33]
  • 1492: Christopher Columbus steps ashore in the Caribbean [AJ-062, p. 110]
  • 1493: American Indians resist white incursion for the first time [AJ-062, p. 224]
  • 1513: Juan Ponce de Leon lands in Florida [AJ-095, p. 17]
  • 1524: Giovanni Verrazzano anchors in New York harbor [AJ-094, pp. 45-46]
  • 1535: Jacques Cartier visits the Iroquois town of Stadacona (Quebec) [AJ-027, p.47]
  • 1536: Europeans describe buffalo for the first time [AJ-070, p. 94]
  • 1539: Hernando de Soto arrives in Florida [AJ-021, p. 22]
  • 1539: Francisco Coronado reaches the Zuni nation [AJ-086, p. 73]
  • 1540: American Indians at Mobile Bay resist de Soto [AJ-021, p. 92]
  • 1540: Europeans come upon the Grand Canyon for the first time [AJ-086, p. 35]
  • 1541: Europeans cross the Mississippi for the first time [AJ-023, p. 138]
  • 1542: Juan Cabrillo enters San Diego Bay [AJ-001, p. 23]
  • 1563: Jacques LeMoyne de Morgues draws the first European pictures of American Indians [AJ-119, p. 326]
  • 1579: Sir Francis Drake calls California "New Albion" and claims it for England [AJ-032, p. 155]
  • 1585: Algonquin peoples greet the first English settlers on Roanoke Island, North Carolina [AJ-034, p. 235]
  • 1607: The English establish Jamestown, Virginia [AJ-073, p. 15]
  • 1607: Pocahontas rescues John Smith [AJ-082, p. 326]
  • 1609: Henry Hudson sails up the river that will bear his name [AJ-133, p. 366]
  • 1616-1620: Smallpox decimates Indian peoples in the Northeast [AJ-107, p. 96]
  • 1619: The first African slaves are brought to North America (Jamestown) [AJ-082, p. 337]
  • 1620: The Pilgrims land in Plymouth, Massachusetts [AJ-025, p. 106]
  • 1621: When most of the Plymouth colonists starve, Indians teach them how to cultivate native crops. [AJ-025, p. 121]
  • 1622: The Powhatan Indians lead a revolt against English settlers in Virginia [AJ-082, p. 358]
  • 1634: Jean Nicolet greets the Ho Chunk nation on Lake Michigan [AJ-043, p. 16]
  • 1636-37: The Pequot Indians attempt to drive out the New England colonists. [AJ-025, p. 423]
  • 1673-74: Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet reach the Mississippi from Canada [AJ-051, p. 236]
  • 1676: Europeans describe Niagara Falls for the first time [AJ-122, p. 19]
  • 1680: Pueblo Indians in New Mexico drive out the Spanish [AJ-009a, p. 3]
  • 1687: Sieur de La Salle is assassinated by his companions [AJ-121, p.96]
  • 1714: Etienne Veniard de Bourgmont ascends the Missouri River [AJ-093, p.15]
  • 1741: Russian captain Vitus Bering reaches Alaska [AJ-99, p. 35]
  • 1763: The Ottawa leader Pontiac organizes an Indian alliance against the British [AJ-135, p. 38]
  • 1769: Father Junipero Serra establishes the first mission in Upper California [AJ-111, p. 79]
  • 1769: Daniel Boone leads settlers into Kentucky [AJ-125, p. 276]
  • 1778: Captain James Cook lands in Hawaii [AJ-130a, p. 221]
  • 1783: Thomas Jefferson suggests a transcontinental expedition to George Rogers Clark [AJ-140, p. 1]
  • 1793: Alexander Mackenzie reaches the Pacific, overland from Montreal [AJ-142, p. 340]
  • 1804: Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out from St. Louis [AJ-100a, p. 3]
  • 1805: Sacajawea saves the Lewis and Clark expeditionís records [AJ-100b, p. 37]
  • 1805: Lewis and Clark arrive at the mouth of the Columbia River [AJ-100c, p. 210]
  • 1806: Zebulon Pike reaches the Colorado peak that bears his name [AJ-143, p. 167]
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