U.S. History Timeline

Updated January 18, 2022 | Infoplease Staff

The defining moments of American history

U.S. History is short in the grand scheme of things, but there's still a whole lot for any one person to keep straight. We've thrown together a timeline with some of the biggest highlights. Read about major events rom before 1600 through the present.

Pre-Colonial: Before 1600

Read about history in North America before the arrival of English settlers to the New World, including Pre-Colombian Native American history, and the history of French and Spanish colonization.

Colonial America: 1600–1799

Read about the history of the first colonies in Virginia and Massachusetts, the beginning of slavery in the United States, and the key events of the American Revolution from the First Continental Congress through the victory at Yorktown. See also: the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.

A New Nation: 1800–1849

Read about some of the transformative events of the early 19th century, including the War of 1812 and the razing of the White House, the westward expansion and creation of new states, the Mexican-American War, and the growth of the abolition movement.

Civil War and Reconstruction: 1850–1899

Read about the presidential election of Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War between the slaveholding and free states, and American Indian Wars waged against the indigenous people of the continent, and the rapid industrialization of the Gilded Age.

Progressive Era and World Wars: 1900–1949

Read about America's break with isolationism and involvement in overseas wars, including the Spanish American War, World War I, and World War II. During this time the country was further transformed by the Great Depression, Roosevelt's New Deal and the growing Women's Rights movement.

Mid-Century and Cold War: 1950–1999

Read about the Civil Rights Movement and the push for equality for African-American citizens, including Martin Luther King Jr.'s march on Washington, D.C. Also read about the Reagan era and the close of the Cold War.

New Millennium: 2000–

Read about some of the historic events that have shaped American in the wake of 9/11 and the Bush Era.

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