Chronology of United States History from 1492-2015
Chronology of United States History from 1492-2015
1492: Christopher Columbus and crew sighted land Oct. 12 in what is now the Bahamas.
1524: Giovanni da Verrazzano led French expedition along coast from Carolina north to Nova Scotia; entered New York Harbor.
1526: San Miguel de Guadalupe, first European settlement in what became U.S. territory, was established in the summer off South Carolina coast; abandoned in Oct.
1562: First French colony in what became U.S. territory founded on Parris Island off South Carolina coast; abandoned, 1564.
1565: St. Augustine, FL, oldest continuously occupied European settlement in U.S., founded Sept. 8 by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. Spain ceded settlement to U.S. in 1821.
1579: Sir Francis Drake entered San Francisco Bay and claimed region for Britain.
1585: First English colony in America, sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh, founded on Roanoke Island, off North Carolina coast; colony failed.
1607: Capt. John Smith and 105 cavaliers in three ships landed on Virginia coast and started Jamestown, first permanent English settlement in New World.
1609: Henry Hudson, English explorer of Northwest Passage, employed by Dutch, sailed into New York Harbor in Sept. and up Hudson to Albany. Samuel de Champlain explored Lake Champlain, to the north. Spaniards settled Santa Fe, NM.
1624: Dutch settled in Albany and along Hudson River, establishing the colony of New Netherland in May.
1626: Peter Minuit bought Manhattan for Dutch West India Co. from Manahatta Indians during summer for goods valued at $24; named island New Amsterdam.
1634 Maryland founded as Catholic colony under charter to Lord Baltimore Act of Toleration passed 1649 provided for religious tolerance.
1636 Roger Williams founded Providence, RI, in June, as a democratically ruled colony with separation of church and state. Charter granted, 1644. Harvard College founded; oldest institution of higher learning in U.S.
1640: First book printed in America, the so-called Bay Psalm Book.
1647: Liberal constitution drafted in Rhode Island. First law in America providing for free compulsory basic education enacted in Massachusetts.
1661: Missionary John Eliot’s translation of the New Testament into Algonquian became the first Bible printed in North America.
1664: British troops Sept. 8 seized New Netherland from Dutch. Charles II granted New Netherland and city of New Amsterdam to brother, Duke of York; both renamed New York. Dutch recaptured colony 1673 but ceded it to Britain Nov. 10, 1674.
1670 Charles Town, SC, founded by English colonists in Apr.
1673 Regular mail service on horseback instituted Jan. 1 between New York and Boston. Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet reached the upper Mississippi and traveled down it.
1676 Bloody Indian war in New England ended Aug. 12. King Philip, Wampanoag chief, and Narragansett Indians killed. Nathaniel Bacon led planters against autocratic British Gov. Sir William Berkeley, burned Jamestown, VA, Sept. 19. Rebellion collapsed when Bacon died; 23 followers executed.
1683 William Penn signed treaty with Delaware Indians Apr. 23 and made payment for Pennsylvania lands. The first German colonists in America settled near Philadelphia.
1690 First colonial newspaper, Publick Occurrences, published by Benjamin Harris but shut down after one issue for lack of official permission. Harris also published New England Primer for use as elementary school textbook. Large-scale whaling operations began in Nantucket, MA.
1697 The Essays of Sir Francis Bacon, first published in England in 1597, was published in America; it became a best seller.
1704 Indians and French allies attacked Deerfield, MA, Feb. 29; killed 40, captured and marched off 100. Boston News Letter, first regular newspaper, started by postmaster John Campbell.
1710 British-colonial troops captured French fort, Port Royal, Nova Scotia, in Queen Anne’s War, 1702-13. France yielded Nova Scotia by treaty, 1713.
1712 Slaves revolted in New York City Apr. 6; 21 were executed. Second uprising, 1741; 13 slaves hanged, 13 burned, 71 deported.
1716 First theater in colonies opened in Williamsburg, VA.
1733 Influenza epidemic swept through New York City and Philadelphia.
1735 Editor John Peter Zenger was acquitted of libel Aug. 5 in New York City after criticizing the British governor’s conduct in office.
1739 A series of slave uprisings put down in South Carolina.
1741 Famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” delivered July 8 at Enfield, MA, by Jonathan Edwards, one of the most important preachers in the Great Awakening religious revival. Danish navigator Vitus Bering, commanding Russian expedition, reached Alaska.
1744 King George’s War pitted British and colonials versus French. Colonials captured Louisbourg, Cape Breton Isl., Nova Scotia, June 17, 1745. Returned to France 1748 by Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.
1752 According to legend, Benjamin Franklin, flying kite in thunderstorm, proved lightning is electricity, June 15; invented lightning rod.
1757 First streetlights appeared in Philadelphia.
1770 British troops fired Mar. 5 into Boston mob, killed five including Crispus Attucks, a black man, reportedly leader of group; later called Boston Massacre.
1773 East India Co. tea ships turned back at Boston, New York, and Philadelphia in May. Cargo ship burned at Annapolis, Oct. 14; cargo thrown overboard at Boston Tea Party, Dec. 16, to protest the tea tax.
1774 “Intolerable Acts” of Parliament curtailed Massachusetts self-rule; barred use of Boston Harbor until dumped tea was paid for. First Continental Congress held in Philadelphia Sept. 5-Oct. 26; called for civil disobedience against British. Rhode Island abolished slavery.
1775 Patrick Henry addressed Virginia convention, Mar. 23, said, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”
1776 Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, famous pro-independence pamphlet, published Jan. 10; quickly sold some 100,000 copies. France and Spain agreed May 2 to provide arms to U.S. In Continental Congress June 7, Richard Henry Lee (VA) moved “that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states.” Resolution adopted July 2. Declaration of Independence approved July 4, signed Aug. 2. Col. Thomas Jefferson’s final draft of the Declaration of Independence eliminated a phrase in an early draft that called slavery “an execrable commerce.”
1777 Washington defeated Lord Charles Cornwallis at Princeton, NJ, Jan. 3. Continental Congress, June 14, authorized an American flag, the Stars and Stripes. 1778 France signed treaty of aid with U.S. Feb. 6; sent fleet. British evacuated Philadelphia, June 18.
1780 Charleston, SC, fell to the British May 12, but Loyalists were defeated in battle of Kings Mountain, NC, Oct. 7 in what Thomas Jefferson called “the turn of the tide of success.” Benedict Arnold found to be a traitor Sept. 23. Arnold escaped, made brigadier general in British army.
1782 New British cabinet agreed in March to recognize U.S. independence. Preliminary agreement signed in Paris, Nov. 30. Use of scarlet letter A, sewn on clothing or branded on skin of adulterers, discontinued in New England.
1783 Massachusetts Supreme Court decision in final Quock Walker trial declared slavery illegal.
1784 Thomas Jefferson’s proposal to ban slavery in new territories after 1802 was narrowly defeated.
1788 Constitution adopted June 21 after being ratified by the requisite ninth state (New Hampshire); also ratified by Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia, and New York throughout the year. First U.S. senators elected Sept. 30, from Pennsylvania.
1789 George Washington chosen president by all electors voting (73 eligible, 69 voting, 4 absent); John Adams, vice president, got 34 votes. First Congress met at Federal Hall, New York City, and declared Constitution in effect, Mar. 4; Washington inaugurated there Apr. 30; first inaugural ball held May 7. U.S. State Dept. established by Congress July 27. (Thomas Jefferson installed as first secretary of state Feb. 1790.)
1790 First Supreme Court session held Feb. 2 in New York City.
1791 Bill of Rights, submitted to states, Sept. 25, 1789, went into effect Dec. 15. First Bank of the United States, first bank chartered by federal government, established in Philadelphia.
1793 Washington inaugurated for second term.
1796 Washington’s farewell address as president delivered Sept. 17 warned against permanent alliances with foreign powers, big public debt, large military establishment, and devices of “small, artful, enterprising minority.”
1797 John Adams inaugurated as second president Mar. 4, having received 71 electoral votes; Thomas Jefferson became vice president, having received 68. U.S. frigate.
1800 Federal government moved to Washington, DC.
1801 John Marshall named Supreme Court chief Justice, Jan. 20.
1803 Supreme Court, in Marbury v. Madison, overturned U.S. law for first time, Feb. 24.
1808 Legislation outlawing slave imports goes into effect. Some 250,000 slaves were illegally imported 1808-60.
1818 Connecticut expanded suffrage among white male voters. Massachusetts followed suit in 1820, and New York in 1821, reducing or eliminating property qualifications.
1819 Spain ceded Florida to U.S. Feb. 22.
1820 First organized immigration of blacks to Africa from U.S. began with 86 free blacks sailing to Sierra Leone in Feb.
1826 Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died July 4.
1829 Andrew Jackson inaugurated as president, Mar. 4.
1838 Cherokee Indians forced to walk “Trail of Tears” from southeast U.S. to area in present-day Oklahoma. At least 4,000—nearly one-fifth of Cherokee population—are estimated to have died.
1844 First message over first telegraph line sent May 24 by inventor Samuel F. B. Morse from Washington to Baltimore: “What hath God wrought?”
1846 Mexican War began after Pres. James K. Polk ordered Gen. Zachary Taylor to seize disputed Texan land settled by Mexicans.
1847 First adhesive U.S. postage stamps—Benjamin Franklin 5¢, Washington 10¢—sold July 1. Henry Wads-worth Longfellow’s Evangeline published.
1854 Republican Party formed at Ripon, WI, Feb. 28.
1860 Shoe workers in Lynn, MA, went on strike Feb. 22. Within a week, strike spread to include 20,000 shoe workers throughout New England in country’s largest strike to date.
1861 Seven southern states set up Confederate States of America Feb. 8, with Jefferson Davis as president. Civil War began as Confederates fired on Ft. Sumter in Charleston, SC, Apr. 12; they captured it Apr. 14. Pres. Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers Apr. 15. Lincoln blockaded Southern ports Apr. 19, cutting off vital exports and aid. By May, 11 states had seceded. Confederates repelled Union forces at first Battle of Bull Run, July 21. First transcontinental telegraph line put in operation.
1862 Union forces were victorious in Western campaigns, took New Orleans May 1. Battles in East were largely inconclusive despite heavy casualties.
1863 Pres. Lincoln issued Emancipation Proclamation Jan. 1, freeing “all slaves in areas still in rebellion.”
1865 Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered 27,800 Confederate troops to Gen. Grant at Appomattox Court House in VA, Apr. 9. J. E. Johnston surrendered 31,200 to Sherman at Durham Station, NC, Apr. 18. Last rebel troops surrendered May 26. Pres. Lincoln shot Apr. 14 by John Wilkes Booth in Ford’s Theater, Washington, DC; died the following morning. Vice Pres. Andrew Johnson was sworn in as president. Booth was hunted down and fatally wounded, perhaps by his own hand, Apr. 26. Four co-conspirators were hanged July 7. 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, ratified Dec. 6.
1867 Alaska sold to U.S. by Russia for $7.2 mil.
1868 Pres. Andrew Johnson dismissed Sec. of War Edwin M. Stanton without Senate approval. Johnson impeached by the House Feb. 24 for violation of Tenure of Office Act, though charges were actually made in response to his opposition to congressional Reconstruction. He was acquitted by the Senate Mar.-May. 14th Amendment, providing for citizenship of all persons born or naturalized in U.S. and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, ratified July 9. Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women published.
1870 15th Amendment, making race no bar to voting rights, ratified Feb. 8. First U.S. boardwalk completed, in Atlantic City, NJ. U.S. Weather Bureau founded.
1871 Great Chicago fire destroyed city Oct. 8-11. National Rifle Association (NRA) founded.
1875 Congress passed Civil Rights Act Mar. 1, giving equal rights to blacks in public accommodations and jury duty. Supreme Court invalidated Act in 1883. First Kentucky Derby held May 17. First Jim Crow segregation law enacted, in Tennessee.
1876 Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone Mar. 7.
1878 First commercial telephone exchange opened, New Haven, CT, Jan. 28. Thomas A. Edison founded Edison Electric Light Co. on Oct. 15.
1881 Pres. James A. Garfield shot in Washington, DC, July 2, by mentally disturbed office seeker; died Sept. 19.
1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, barring immigration of Chinese laborers for 10 years, later made permanent, passed by Congress May 6; prohibited naturalization of Chinese resident aliens.
1896 Supreme Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson, May 18, approved racial segregation under the “separate but equal” doctrine.
1898 U.S. declared war on Spain Apr. 24; destroyed Spanish fleet in Philippines May 1; took Guam June 20. U.S. took Puerto Rico July 25-Aug. 12. Spain agreed Dec. 10 to cede Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam, and approved independence for Cuba. Annexation of Hawaii signed by Pres. William McKinley, July 7.
1903 Treaty between U.S. and Colombia to have U.S. dig Panama Canal signed Jan. 22, but rejected by Colombia’s Congress. Panama declared independence from Colombia with U.S. support Nov. 3; recognized by Pres. Roosevelt Nov. 6. U.S., Panama signed canal treaty Nov. 18.
1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, Apr. 18-19, caused more than 3,000 deaths and $400 mil in damages.
1907 Financial panic and depression started Mar. 13. Pres. Roosevelt sent “Great White Fleet” of 16 U.S. battleships around the world in show of power.
1909 Adm. Robert E. Peary claimed to have reached North Pole Apr. 6 on sixth attempt, accompanied by black explorer Matthew Henson and four Inuit; may have fallen short.
1910 Boy Scouts of America founded Feb. 8. Former Pres. Roosevelt called for “new nationalism” in famous speech in Kansas, Aug. 10.
1912 American Girl Guides founded Mar. 12; name changed in 1913 to Girl Scouts.
1913 16th Amendment, authorizing federal income tax, ratified Feb. 3.
1916 US entered in WWI
1917 Jones Act, passed Mar. 2, made Puerto Rico a U.S. territory, its inhabitants U.S. citizens.
1919 18th Amendment, providing for prohibition of manufacture, sale, or transportation of alcoholic beverages, ratified Jan. 16, to take effect on Jan. 16, 1920.
1925 In so-called “Monkey Trial,” John T. Scopes found guilty of having taught evolution in Dayton, TN, high school and fined, July 24. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby published.
1929 Stock market crash Oct. 29 marked end of past prosperity as stock prices plummeted. Stock losses for 1929-31 estimated at $50 billion; beginning of Great Depression.
1939 U.S. declared its neutrality in European war Sept. 5. Pres. Roosevelt proclaimed limited national emergency Sept. 8, unlimited emergency May 27, 1941. Both ended by Pres. Harry Truman, Apr. 28, 1952.
1940 U.S. Oct. 24. Pres. Roosevelt elected Nov. 5 to third presidential term.
1941 Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 7:55 AM Hawaiian time, Dec. 7; 19 ships sunk or damaged, 2,403 dead. Pres. Roosevelt called it “a date which will live in infamy.” U.S. declared war on Japan Dec. 8. Germany and Italy declared war on U.S.
1942: Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt orders the relocation of 110,000 Japanese-Americans to detention camps for the duration of the war.
1944 U.S., Allied forces invaded Europe at Normandy, France, on “D Day,” June 6, in massive amphibious operation.
1945 Yalta Conference met in the Crimea, USSR, Feb. 4-11. Pres. Roosevelt, Prime Min. Churchill, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin agreed that their countries, plus France, would occupy Germany and that the Soviet Union would enter war against Japan.
1949 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) established Aug. 24 by U.S., Canada, and 10 Western European nations, agreeing that an armed attack against one would be considered an attack against all.
1950 North Korean forces invaded South Korea June 25. UN asked for troops to restore peace. Pres. Truman ordered Air Force and Navy to Korea June 27. Truman approved ground forces, airstrikes against North Korea June 30.
1951 22nd Amendment, limiting presidential term of office, ratified Feb. 27.
1952 Pres. Truman ordered seizure of nation’s steel mills.
1955 Rosa Park refused Dec. 1 to give her seat to white man on bus in Montgomery. Her arrest, detention, and conviction sparked boycott of bus system, organized by Revolutionary Martin Luther King Jr., by Montgomery’s black community, Dec. 5.
1956 Massive resistance to Supreme Court desegregation rulings was called for Mar. 12 by 101 Southern congressmen. U.S. Supreme Court, Apr. 23, unanimously ruled against racial segregation on intrastate buses.
1959 Alaska admitted as 49th state, Jan. 3; Hawaii admitted as 50th,
1960 Sit-ins began Feb. 1 when four black college students in Greensboro, NC, refused to move from a Woolworth lunch counter after being denied service. By Sept. 1961, more than 70,000 students, whites and blacks, had participated in sit-ins. Pres. Eisenhower signed Civil Rights Act May 6.Kennedy defeated Nixon to win presidency, Nov. 8. U.S. announced Dec. 15 its backing of rightist group in Laos, which took power the next day.
1961 U.S. severed diplomatic and consular relations with Cuba Jan. 3, after disputes over nationalizations of U.S. firms, U.S. military presence at Guantánamo base. U.S.-directed invasion of Cuba’s Bay of Pigs Apr. 17 by Cuban exiles unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the regime of Prem. Fidel Castro.
1963 On Aug. 28, 200,000 joined in March on Washington in support of black demands for equal rights led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.; highlight was King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
1964 Panama suspended relations with U.S. Jan. 9 after riots. Three civil rights workers reported missing in Mississippi June 22; bodies found Aug. 4. Eighteen white men tried. On Oct. 20, 1967, an all-white federal jury convicted seven of conspiracy in the slayings. Omnibus civil rights bill signed by Pres. Johnson July 2, banning discrimination in voting, jobs, public accommodations.
1965 In State of the Union address Jan. 4, Pres. Johnson outlined plans for “Great Society,” program of civil rights, antipoverty, and health-care legislation.
1966 U.S. forces began firing into Cambodia May 1. Bombing of Hanoi area of North Vietnam by U.S. planes began June 29. By Dec. 31, 385,300 U.S. troops were stationed in South Vietnam, plus 60,000 offshore and 33,000 in Thailand. Supreme Court ruled June 13, in Miranda v. Arizona, that suspects must be read their rights before police questioning.
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated Apr. 4 in Memphis, TN. James Earl Ray, an escaped convict, pleaded guilty to slaying, was sentenced to 99 years. en. Robert F. Kennedy (D, NY) shot June 5 in Los Angeles after celebrating presidential primary victories, died June 6. Sirhan Sirhan convicted of murder, 1969; death sentence commuted to life in prison, 1972.
Vice Pres. Hubert Humphrey nominated for president at Democratic National Convention in Chicago, marked by clash between police and antiwar protesters, Aug. 26-29. Republican nominee Richard Nixon won presidency, defeating Humphrey in close race Nov. 5. Apollo 8 orbited moon in five-day mission, Dec. 21-27.
1969 U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 mission, became the first person to set foot on the moon, July 20, followed by astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin. Astronaut Michael Collins remained aboard command module.
1970: First female U.S. generals appointed June 11.
1971: Pres. Nixon, Apr. 14, relaxed 20-year trade embargo with China.
1972 Pres. Nixon arrived in Beijing Feb. 21 for eight-day visit to China, in “journey for peace.” Joint communiqué released Feb. 27 called for increased Sino-U.S. contacts. Senate, Mar. 22, approved Equal Rights Amendment banning discrimination on basis of sex; sent measure to states for ratification.
The Godfather, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, is released.
1973 In Roe v. Wade, Supreme Court ruled, 7-2, Jan. 22, fetus not a person with constitutional rights and that right to privacy protected woman’s decision to have abortion; states may not ban abortions during first three months of pregnancy but may regulate, not ban, abortions during second trimester.
Four-party Vietnam peace pacts signed in Paris Jan. 27. End of military draft announced on same day. Last U.S. troops left Vietnam Mar. 29. Vice Pres. Spiro Agnew, Oct. 10, resigned and pleaded no contest to charge of tax evasion while Maryland governor. Gerald R. Ford, Oct. 12, became first appointed vice president under 25th Amendment; sworn in Dec. 6.
1974 Pres. Nixon announced his resignation, Aug. 8, and stepped down the next day. His support in Congress had begun to collapse Aug. 5 after release of tapes appearing to implicate him in Watergate cover-up. Vice Pres. Ford sworn in Aug. 9 as 38th U.S. president. Pres. Ford, Aug. 20, nominated Nelson Rockefeller to be vice president; Rockefeller sworn in Dec. 10. Citing need to move on, Pres. Ford, Sept. 8, issued pardon to Nixon for any federal crimes he committed while president.
1975 Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft, Apr. 4. U.S. launched evacuation from Saigon of Americans and some South Vietnamese Apr. 29 as Communist forces completed takeover of South Vietnam; South Vietnamese government officially surrendered Apr. 30.
1976 In right-to-die case, New Jersey Supreme Court, Mar. 31, allowed comatose Karen Ann Quinlan to be removed from respirator; she survived until 1985. U.S. Supreme Court reinstated death penalty, July 2, subject to conditions.
1978 Egyptian Pres. Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Prem. Menachem Begin reached accord on “framework for peace,” Sept. 17, after Pres. Carter-mediated talks at Camp David. New York’s Chemical Bank Dec. 20 initiated industry-wide move to raise lending rate to near-record 11.75%.
1979 Followers of Ayatollah Khomeini took hostage some 90 people, including 66 Americans, Nov. 4 at American embassy in Tehran, Iran. Khomeini demanded return of ailing former Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi to stand trial.
1980 Pres. Carter announced, Jan. 4, economic sanctions against USSR in retaliation for Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
1981 Minutes after Reagan’s inauguration Jan. 20, 52 American hostages in Iran were freed after being held for 444 days. Pres. Reagan was shot and seriously wounded, Mar. 30, in Washington, DC; also seriously wounded were a Secret Service agent, a police officer, and Press Sec. James Brady. John W. Hinckley Jr. arrested, found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982, and committed to mental institution.
1986 The U.S. officially observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day for first time Jan. 20. Space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff, Jan. 28, killing six astronauts and Teacher in Space Project participant Christa McAuliffe. In four-day extravaganza in July, the U.S. celebrated 100th birthday of the Statue of Liberty.
1988 Phantom of the Opera opened Jan. 26; it would go on to be longest-running Broadway show ever. In report issued May 16, Surgeon Gen. C. Everett Koop
1989 L. Douglas Wilder (D) declared governor of Virginia Nov. 27, first elected black governor in U.S. history. U.S. troops invaded Panama, Dec. 20, overthrowing the government of Manuel Noriega. Noriega, wanted by U.S. authorities on drug charges, surrendered Jan. 3, 1990.
1990 Operation Desert Shield forces left for Saudi Arabia Aug. 7 to defend that country following invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, Aug. 2.
1991 The U.S. and its allies defeated Iraq in Persian Gulf War and liberated Kuwait, which Iraq had invaded. They launched air attacks, Jan. 16, followed by ground war, starting Feb. 24; Bush declared cease-fire, Feb. 27.
1992 Bill Clinton elected 42nd president, Nov. 3, defeating Pres. Bush (R) and independent Ross Perot.
1993 A bomb exploded in a parking garage beneath the World Trade Center in New York City, Feb. 26, killing six. Four men found guilty, Mar. 4, 1994.
1997 Madeleine Albright sworn in as sec. of state Jan. 23, becoming first female State Dept. head.
1998 Media outlets reported Jan. 21 on evidence of sexual relationship between Pres. Clinton and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton initially denied affair, but in grand jury testimony and address to the nation, Aug. 17, acknowledged relationship that was “not appropriate.” On Sept. 9, independent counsel Kenneth Starr sent findings to House; the Judiciary Committee, Oct. 5, voted 21-16 to recommend full inquiry. House, Dec. 19, approved two articles of impeachment charging Clinton with grand jury perjury and obstruction of justice in cover-up.
Pres. Clinton, Nov. 13, settled suit by agreeing to pay $850,000 to Paula Jones, who alleged he had made an unwanted sexual advance in 1991.
1999 Pres. Clinton was acquitted, Feb. 12, at end of Senate impeachment trial. Perjury article failed with 45 votes; obstruction of justice article drew 50-50 vote, short of the needed two-thirds.
2001: The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, kill more than 2,750 people in New York, including 343 firefighters. On morning of Sept. 11, two hijacked commercial airliners struck World Trade Center twin towers in New York City in worst-ever terrorist attack on American soil. A third hijacked plane destroyed a portion of the Pentagon; a fourth crashed in a field near Shanksville, PA. Some 3,000 people were killed, including about 2,750 at World Trade Center. Five people died and 14 became ill from exposure to anthrax through U.S. postal system, Oct. 4-Nov. 21.
U.S. and Britain, Oct. 7, launched airstrike campaign against Afghan-based organization al-Qaeda and Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban militia. Pres. Bush created Office of Homeland Security, Oct. 8, and on Oct. 26 signed USA Patriot Act, with wide-ranging provisions aimed at preventing terrorism. Taliban surrendered Kabul, Nov. 13, and fled from Kandahar, their stronghold, Dec. 7. U.S. government. Dec. 11, indicted al-Qaeda member Zacarias Moussaoui as Sept. 11 co-conspirator; he pleaded guilty, sentenced in May 2006 to life in prison. Operation in Afghanistan’s Tora Bora cave complex, Dec. 12-17, failed to capture al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
2002 Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters captured in Afghanistan flown to U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, starting Jan. 11.
In State of the Union address, Jan. 29, Pres. Bush called Iran, Iraq, and North Korea part of “axis of evil.” By Mar. 6, 1,200 U.S. troops were involved in Operation Anaconda against al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan. Independent prosecutor’s report, Mar. 20, found insufficient evidence that Pres. Clinton or Hillary Clinton committed any crime in connection with White water. U.S. Catholic bishops, Nov. 13, approved revised policies dealing with priests who sexually abuse minors. Cardinal Bernard Law, accused of covering up sexual abuse by priests, resigned as archbishop of Boston Dec. 13. Trent Lott (R, MS) bowed out as new Senate majority leader Dec. 20 after remarks apparently supporting segregation.
2003 U.S.-led military offensive aimed at ousting Saddam Hussein got underway Mar. 19, when 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles hit targets in Baghdad. U.S. forces Mar. 21 seized oil fields near Basra. By Apr. 9, U.S. forces reported control over much of Baghdad. Pres. Bush, speaking from aircraft carrier May 1, declared end of major combat operations in Iraq; insurgents continued to mount attacks.
2004 Pres. Bush reelected Nov. 2, with 286 electoral votes, defeating Sen. John Kerry (D, MA), with 251.
2005 Condoleezza Rice became first black woman sec. of state, Jan. 26.
Hurricane Katrina hit Gulf coast, Aug. 29, causing devastation in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Breaches in levees on Lake Pontchartrain, Aug. 30, flooded New Orleans. Relief efforts widely criticized as insufficient.
2007 Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) chosen Jan. 4 as first woman Speaker of the House.
2008 Barack Obama elected, Nov. 4, as first African-American president in U.S. history, earning 53% of popular vote and 365 of 538 electoral votes. Democrats also increased majorities in House and Senate. California voters approved Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriages in the state.
2009 Inaugurated Jan. 20 as president, Barack Obama issued executive orders Jan. 22 restricting CIA interrogation practices and calling for U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to close (closing blocked by Congress).
2010 More than 75,000 Afghanistan documents, many of them classified, were published July 25 on website run by WikiLeaks and in some news outlets.
2011: On May 2, in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a CIA-led squadron of U.S. Navy SEALs killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
2012 Pres. Obama Feb. 10 announced compromise health insurance mandate. U.S. Supreme Court, June 28, upheld Obamacare penalties for those who do not obtain health insurance. U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked and ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died; report released Dec. 18 blamed State Dept. for “grossly inadequate” security.
2013 Pres. Barack Obama was officially sworn in for second term, Jan. 20. Sen. John Kerry (D, MA) confirmed as secretary of state, Jan. 29;
2015 : A Supreme Court decision effectively legalizes same-sex marriage nationwide.