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  • Giovanni da Verrazzano explores New York

    Italian explorer, Giovanni da Verrazzano, explores what is now New York, calling it New Angouleme

  • Mabila (now Alabama) destroyed by Spanish soldiers

    Native village of Mabila (now Alabama) destroyed by Spanish soldiers led by Hernando de Soto

  • The Bible is translated into English for the first time

    The Geneva Bible was the first translation of the Holy Scriptures from Latin to English, allowing people to read the Scriptures for themselves.

  • George Weymouth explores New England

  • Gunpowder Plot of 1605 (England)

    Also called The Jesuit Treason, a failed assassination attempt on King James I, in an attempt to end persecution against Catholics.

  • The Plymouth Company and London Company are granted charters to establish settlements

  • The Separatist Church (Puritans) breaks away from the Church of England

  • Colonists arrive at Jamestown and establish a settlement

  • British Channel Floods (Tsunami in England)

    A tsunami caused great flooding throughout England, Jan. 30.

  • The Starving Time at Jamestown

    The Starving Time at Jamestown (78% of the people starved in the winter of 1609 to 1610)

  • Beaver Wars between the Iroquois and French (1609-1701)

  • Henry Hudson sailed into New York's harbor

    3rd of September

  • Anglo-Powhatan Wars begin (1610-1646 intermittently)

  • King James Bible translation completed and published

    The King James translations of the Scriptures from Latin to English led to major reforms in Christianity.

  • Peace is made between the Powhatan Confederacy and the Virginia Colony

  • The Thirty Years War begins in Central Europe (1618-1648)

    A conflict between Protestants and Catholics begins in Central Europe (1618-1648) claiming 8 million lives

  • House of Burgesses first meeting in Virginia Colony

  • The first African slaves brought to the Virginia Colony

  • Mayflower departs from England

    The Pilgrims departed from England aboard the Mayflower on September 16 and arrived at Cape Cod 66 days.

  • The Mayflower arrives at Cape Cod

    The Mayflower arrived at Cape Cod in November and anchored there five weeks before sailing to Plymouth on Dec 15.

  • The ship Fortune arrives at Plymouth

    The relief ship, Fortune arrived at Plymouth Nov 9 with 35 people and no supplies.

  • Jamestown Massacre

    Also called the Powhatan attack of 1622; One quarter of Virginia colonists massacred.

  • Dorchester Company attempts a settlement at Cape Ann

    Dorchester Company founded (1624-1626) and attempted a short-lived settlement at Cape Ann (Mass.) in 1623-1624

  • Dutch West India Company founds New Netherland (New York and New Jersey)

  • Virginia becomes a crown colony after Virginia Company fails

  • Charles I becomes King of England, marking a new era (1625-1649)

  • New Amsterdam (NY) founded by the Dutch West India Company

    New Amsterdam (now New York) is founded in July by the Dutch West India Company.

  • Salem, Massachusetts is founded

  • George Calvert abandons the Province of Avalon

  • The Mohawks defeat the Mahicans (1624-1628)

  • Massachusetts Bay Colony founded (1628-1692)

  • Patroon system implemented by Kiliaen van Rensselaer

Timeline of Events & Inventions

Knowing what major events were happening or what technologies were available to your ancestors during their lifetime could be useful when researching your family's history. For example, if they lived after 1839, there may be a photograph of them out there somewhere. If they lived after 1827, they may have been associated with or migrated west on the newly built railroads. If they died in New England in 1636, they could have been killed in the Pequot War. 

This timeline is a work in progress and far from complete. More items will be added!

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