Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Read about major events in U.S. History from 1600–1799, including the Mayflower Compact, Boston Massacre, American Revolution, and more.

1607Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America, is established by the London Company in southeast Virginia (May 14 o.s.). 
1619The House of Burgesses, the first representative assembly in America, meets for the first time in Virginia (July 30 o.s.). The first African slaves are brought to Jamestown (summer). 
1620The Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts is established by Pilgrims from England (Dec. 11 o.s.). Before disembarking from their ship, the Mayflower, 41 male passengers sign theMayflower Compact, an agreement that forms the basis of the colony's government. 
Mayflower II
Mayflower II
1650Colonial population is estimated at 50,400. 
1664English seize New Amsterdam (city and colony) from the Dutch and rename it New York (Sept.). 
1752Britain and the British colonies switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar (Sept. 2). 
1754–1763French and Indian War: Final conflict in the ongoing struggle between the British and French for control of eastern North America. The British win a decisive victory over the French on thePlains of Abrahamoutside Quebec (Sept. 13, 1759) and, by theTreaty of Paris(signed Feb. 10, 1763), formally gain control of Canada and all the French possessions east of the Mississippi. 
1770Boston Massacre:British troops fire into a mob, killing five men and leading to intense public protests (March 5). 
Boston Massacre
Boston Massacre
1773Boston Tea Party:Group of colonial patriots disguised as Mohawk Indians board three ships in Boston harbor and dump more than 300 crates of tea overboard as a protest against theBritish tea tax(Dec. 16).  
1774First Continental Congressmeets in Philadelphia, with 56 delegates representing every colony except Georgia. Delegates includePatrick Henry,George Washington, andSamuel Adams (Sept. 5–Oct. 26). 
1775–1783American Revolution: War of independence fought between Great Britain and the 13 British colonies on the eastern seaboard of North America. Battles of Lexington and Concord, Mass., between the British Army and colonial minutemen, mark the beginning of the war (April 19, 1775). Battle-weary and destitute Continental army spends brutally cold winter and following spring atValley Forge, Pa. (Dec. 19, 1777–June 19, 1778). British generalCharles Cornwallissurrenders toGen. George WashingtonatYorktown, Va. (Oct. 19, 1781). Great Britain formally acknowledges American independence in theTreaty of Paris, which officially brings the war to a close (Sept. 3, 1783). 
1776Continental Congress adopts theDeclaration of Independencein Philadelphia (July 4).  
1777Continental Congress approves the first officialflagof the United States (June 14). Continental Congress adopts theArticles of Confederation, the first U.S. constitution (Nov. 15).  
1786Shays's Rebellion erupts (Aug.); farmers from New Hampshire to South Carolina take up arms to protest high state taxes and stiff penalties for failure to pay. 
1787Constitutional Convention, made up of delegates from 12 of the original 13 colonies, meets in Philadelphia to draft theU.S. Constitution(May–Sept.). 
1789George Washington is unanimously elected president of the United States in a vote by state electors (Feb. 4). U.S. Constitution goes into effect, having beenratifiedby nine states (March 4). U.S. Congress meets for the first time at Federal Hall in New York City (March 4). Washington is inaugurated as president at Federal Hall in New York City (April 30).  
George Washington
George Washington
1790U.S. Supreme Courtmeets for the first time at the Merchants Exchange Building in New York City (Feb. 2). The court, made up of one chief justice and five associate justices, hears its first case in 1792. The nation's first census shows that the population has climbed to nearly 4 million. 
1791First ten amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, are ratified (Dec. 15). 
1793Washington's second inauguration is held in Philadelphia (March 4).Eli Whitney's invention of thecotton gingreatly increases the demand for slave labor. 
1797John Adamsis inaugurated as the second president in Philadelphia (March 4). 
John Adams
John Adams
NOTES: o.s. = old style (according to the Julian calendar).

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