History Timelines 1620s

Image above: Lithograph by Sarony and Major, 1846, of the landing on Plymouth Rock by William Bradford and the pilgrims with the Mayflower in the distance. Courtesy Library of Congress. Right: Painting of the Signing of the Mayflower Compact, 1899, Jean Leon Gerome Ferris. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.

Mayflower Compact

Pre-Revolution Timeline - The 1600s

1620-1639



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  • Timeline

  • 1620-1629

    November 11, 1620 - The Puritan expedition which left England for the New World on September 6, reaches Cape Cod near Provincetown, not their original destination of Virginia. They explore the coastline for an appropriate settlement location.
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  • December 11, 1620 - A landing party searches the coast for a suitable site for a settlement and start to move the entire party to Plymouth Harbor. Plymouth Rock was identified as the first solid land the Pilgrims set foot on.
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  • December 20, 1620 -The Puritans begin to establish settlement in Plymouth. They form the Mayflower Compact, which established a government and legal structure. During the next winter, half of the colonists would perish. Site of the settlement had previously been the location of an Indian village that had been wiped out in 1617 by a plague.
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  • September/October 1621 - The first Thanksgiving celebration is held in the autumn for three days between the Pilgrims and members of the Wampanoag tribe, who had helped them settle and plant the colony's land.
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  • January 1, 1622 - Gregorian calendar changes first day of the year to January 1 from the former date of March 25. England and its colonies continue to use the Julian calendar until September 1752.

    March 22, 1622 - The Indian Massacre of 1622 occurs when Chief Opchanacanough and the Powhatan Confederacy tried to rid the colony of settlers. One third of the colony at the time, three hundred people, were killed.

    1623-1626 - In the area of New Mexico, on Navajo land, warriors of the Jemez Apache tribe war against Spaniards and Tiwas.

    May 6, 1626 - Peter Minuit, one of eight men left by Dutch explorers headed for the Albany area from the ship New Netherland on Manhattan Island, buys the island from the Man-a-hat-a Indians for $24 in trinkets.

    June 7, 1628 - King Charles receives a Petition of Rights from the English Parliament to gain royal subsidies. Petition of Rights would influence the Massachusetts Bay Colony's Body of Liberties and the 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
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  • March 4, 1629 - Royal charter for the Massachusetts Bay Colony granted by King Charles I, further establishing the colony and leading to its expansion.
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  • 1630-1639

    February 20, 1630 - Myth of popcorn introduction to Pilgrim colonists at Plymouth by Indian Quadequine begins.

    April 8, 1630 - The first vessels of Winthrop's eleven ship fleet, eventually totaling seven hundred aboard, leaves England for the Puritan colony already established in Salem, establishing the foundation of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
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  • September 17, 1630 - Settlement of Boston begins when John Winthrop and one hundred and seventy-five of his colonists of the Massachusetts Bay Colony choose the Trimountain to harbor area to establish a town.

    March 25, 1634 - Maryland is founded as a Catholic colony promoting religious tolerance. The subsequent state is named for Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of England's Charles I.

    August 26, 1635 - Great Colonial Hurricane strikes the Atlantic Coast and the colonies of Jamestown, Plymouth, and Massachusetts Bay.
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  • June 1636 - Providence, Rhode Island is founded as a colony by Roger Williams two years after his banishment from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Its charter would be granted eight years later as a democratic colony believing in the separation of church and state.

    July 20, 1636 - Pequot War begins between Pequot tribe and their alliance against the Massachusetts, Plymouth, and Saybrook colonies. War ended on September 21, 1638 with the Treaty of Hartford. Only two hundred Pequot tribe members remained.
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  • October 28, 1636 - Harvard College is founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the first college to be established in North America.
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  • December 23, 1636 - Massachusetts Bay Colony organizes three militias to protect itself from the Pequot Indians. Formation is regarded as the founding of the National Guard.

    September 21, 1638 - Pequot War ends with Treaty of Hartford after three years of battles between the New England colonists and native tribes.
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