History Timeline 1600s

Picture above: Drawing of a Susquehannock Fort from original plate by Jacob van Meurs, 1671. Courtesy Free Library of Philadelphia via Wikipedia Commons. Right: Drawing of a Puritan Woman, 1897, Percy Moran, G.H. Buck and Co. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Puritan Woman

Pre-Revolution Timeline - The 1600s


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  • Timeline

  • 1640-1649

    1640 - The first book is printed in North America, the Bay Psalm Book, at Cambridge for the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
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  • December 10, 1641 - The Massachusetts Bay Colony establishes its first set of laws in the Body of Liberties.
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  • 1641 - Witchcraft is made a capital crime in English law. The Massachusetts colony becomes the first colony to legalize slavery.

    March 1, 1642 - York, Maine of the Plymouth, then Massachusetts Bay Colony (known as Gorgeana in colonial times) becomes the first incorporated city in the American colonies.
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  • May 19, 1643 - The New England Confederation, a military alliance, is established by the Colony of Connecticut (Saybrook), Massachusetts Bay Colony, Plymouth, and New Haven Colony.
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  • 1643 - The book, A Key into Language of Americas, is published by Roger Williams, co-founder of the Rhode Island colony.

    March 24, 1644 - Roger Williams petitions and receives an official grant to establish the Rhode Island colony from the seperatist Providence Plantation, despite protests from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

    April 18, 1644 - In the last Indian rebellion in the region, Opechanacanough and the Powhatan Indians attack the English at Jamestown, but their effort is repulsed and proves unsuccessful.
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  • May 29, 1647 - The constitution of the General Assembly of Rhode Island is drafted, under the values of separating church and state, as well as permitting public referendums and initiatives in legislation.
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  • April 21, 1648 - Maryland passes the Maryland Toleration Act, allowing freedom of religion.


    1650 - Slavery is legalized in Connecticut and recognized in the American colonies.

    June 9, 1650 - The Harvard Board becomes the first legalized corporation in the American colonies, fourteen years after the estabishment of Harvard College.
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  • September 19, 1650 - Treaty of Hartford signed between the Colony of Connecticut and New Netherlands, trading claims along the Connecticut River for land on Long Island.
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  • October 9, 1651 - English Parliament passes the first in a series of Navigation Acts, banning use of anything but English ships in commerce with its colonies.
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  • May 18, 1652 - Rhode Island passes the first law in the American colonies restricting slavery, making it illegal for more than ten years.
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  • August 22, 1654 - Jewish settlement in the American colonies begins with the arrival of twenty-three settlers from Brazil in New Amsterdam.
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  • April 26, 1655 - Dutch West Indies Company denies Peter Stuyvesant, Director-General, request to deny Jews into New Amsterdam.

    September 15, 1655 - Peach Tree War begins with attack on New Amsterdam and Pavonia along Hudson (North) River by Susquehannock Indians and their allies as retaliation for the loss of New Sweden to the Dutch. Indian victory forced many Dutch settlers back to Fort Amsterdam.
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  • September 15, 1655 - Colony of New Sweden in today's Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey is defeated by Dutch and incorporated into the Colony of New Netherlands.
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  • December 27, 1657 - Flushing Remonstrance signed in New Amsterdam for Quaker religious freedom.

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