History Timeline 1770s

Betsy Ross sewing the first American flag in Philadelphia. Courtesy National Archives.

Boston Tea Party

U.S. Timeline - The 1770s

The American Revolution

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  • Timeline

  • 1775 Detail

    January 31, 1775 - By the end of January 1775, there were thirty-seven newspapers being printed in the American colonies. Seven newspapers were published in Massachusetts; one in New Hampshire; two in Rhode Island; and four in Connecticut. Three papers were published in New York City, with one additional New York paper published in Albany. Nine were published in Pennsylvania; two in Maryland; two in Virginia (both at Williamsburg); two in North Carolina; three in South Carolina, and one in Georgia.

    Boston News-Letter

    Disseminating the news within the American colonies became even more important as the years of American Revolution were to begin, however, the existence of newspapers, all weeklies at first, had become important in the decade prior to keep the citizens informed of what England had in store for their colonial possessions. The first newspaper in the colonies was printed in 1704, the Boston News-Letter, with first issue dated April 24, 1704. For fifteen years it would be the only paper in the Americas. In 1719, two competitors emerged, one in Boston, the Boston Gazette, and one in Philadelphia, the American Weekly Mercury, established by Andrew Bradford. That paper continued publication until 1749. The Boston Gazette, also known as the New-England Weekly Journal, was the bane of England, with the Sons of Liberty meeting there prior to the Boston Tea Party and contributing to its essays against the crown.

    By 1740, sixteen newspapers were in existence in Colonial America. That would grow to the number above, thirty-seven, by the end of January 1775. And what is the significance of that date? Nine days later the British would declare Massachusetts in rebellion against them. Less than three months later, the first battles of the American Revolution at Lexington and Concord would occur.

    List of Colonial American Newspapers 1775

    Boston News-Letter, April 24, 1704 was the first newspaper printed in Colonial America and remained the only one in the colonies until 1719. Original publisher, John Campbell. The Boston News-Letter would be printed for seventy-two years.

    Boston Gazette - Became the first competitor to the Boston News-Letter on December 21, 1719. Would publish until 1798 as both the Boston Gazette and New-England Weekly Journal. Famous contributors included Paul Revere and Samuel Adams. It was founded by Benjamin Edes and John Gill.

    Boston Evening Post - Began publishing on August 1, 1735 through April 24, 1775. Original publisher Thomas Fleet.

    Cape Fear Mercury was established on November 24, 1769 and published until September 1, 1775.

    Connecticut Courant - Published in Hartford from October 29, 1764 through today as the Hartford Courant. Established by Thomas Green.

    Connecticut Gazette and Commercial Intelligencer - From 1773 to 1800. Formerly the New London Gazette, established November 18, 1763.

    Connecticut Journal - Established in New Haven October 23, 1767. Also known as the New Haven Post-Boy. Published until 1792.

    Der Wochentliche Pennsylvanische Staatsbote was a newspaper in German that served Philadelphia from January 5, 1768 until May 1775, continuing both prior and after those dates in various other names.

    Dunlap's Pennsylvania Packet was a continuation of the Pennsylvania Packet and published from October 25, 1773, publishing in Philadelphia and Lancaster.

    Essex Journal was published in Newburyport from December 4, 1773 through February 1777, revived in 1784 with the same name through 1794.

    Georgia Gazette began publication on April 7, 1763, the first newspaper in Georgia. It discontinued publication during the American Revolution on September 20, 1775. Renewed as the Gazette of the State of Georgia after the war on January 30, 1783. Returned to original name in 1788 through end of publication in 1802.

    Maryland Gazette - The original newspaper in Maryland, first established in 1727 by William Parks, and revived in 1745 by Jonas Green. It has continued publication through today now known as the Capital.

    Maryland Journal was the first newspaper published in Baltimore, established on August 20, 1773. Also known as the Baltimore Advertiser, the newspaper published until July 1, 1797.

    Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Post-Boy - Various incarnation led to the establishment of the joint publication on October 2, 1769. Continued until April 17, 1775.

    Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly Newsletter - September 18, 1769 by Richard Draper, with final publication issue of February 22, 1776. The Post-Boy (Monday) and Weekly Newsletter (Thursday) were published in association. Some may consider both as one of the thirty-seven.

    Massachusetts Spy - Originally published in Boston by Isaiah Thomas on July 17, 1770, then later in Worcester, the paper wrote extensively about the American colonial effort and is known for blaming the British for the attack at the Battle of Lexington. It had a circulation of up to three thousand five hundred, the highest in the colonies.

    New York Gazette and the Weekly Mercury was established February 1, 1768 from the original Weekly Mercury. Continued until November 1783.

    Norwich Packet was established in 1773 and published under a variety of names, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island Advertiser, for one, through 1799. Continued as Connecticut Centinel in 1802.

    New York Journal was published in New York City and other New York towns from May 29, 1766 to 1784 by John Holt. Sometimes known as the General Advertiser. Published in Kingston, New York during British Occupation of New York City.

    New Hampshire Gazette was published from October 7, 1756 established by Daniel Fowle in Portsmouth. It was the first newspaper published in the Province of New Hampshire. It is still published today.

    Newport Mercury was Rhode Island's second newspaper of the American Revolution period, starting publication on June 19, 1758, published by Ann Franklin, the first woman publisher and sister in law of Benjamin Franklin. It continued into the 21st century, but is no longer published.

    Norfolk Intelligencer was a colonial newspaper founded circa June 9, 1774. Also known as the Virginia Gazette, it operated until September 30, 1775 when it was seized by British troops. The British then proceeded to publish the paper until February 3, 1776.

    North-Carolina Gazette was the second of two publications with the same name, this edition beginning in 1768 and publishing in Newbern until November 30, 1778.

    Pennsylvania Evening Post was published in Philadelphia from 1775 to 1782, by Benjamin Towne. It was best known as the first newspaper to publish the Declaration of Independence, on July 6, 1776. Also known as the Public or Daily Advertiser in later editions through October 26, 1784. In 1783, the paper became the nation's first daily newspaper.

    Pennsylvania Gazette was established on December 24, 1728 and published in Philadelphia through 1815. During the occupation of Philadelphia by the British in 1777-1778, the paper was published in York, Pennsylvania.

    Pennsylvania Journal, published by William and Thomas Bradford in Philadelphia, first in December 1742, was an anti-British newspaper that wrote many articles about the Continental Congress and included writers such as Thomas Paine. Also known as the Weekly Advertiser. It published until 1793.

    Pennsylvania Ledger began January 28, 1775 and continued publication in Philadelphia until May 23, 1778. It was a Tory newspaper.

    Providence Gazette, and Country Journal was published from 1762 to 1795 by William Goddard as a strong supporter for independence and colonial rights.

    Rivington's New York Gazetter was published from 1763 to 1783, originally headquartered in New York. Published James Rivington and the newspaper were a Loyalist, pro-British publication. Rivington later is thought to have changed his stance and became an American spy for the Continental Army.

    Salem Gazette published from July 1, 1774 until April 21, 1775.

    South Carolina Gazette began publication in 1732 by Thomas Whitmarsh in Charleston, and continued to 1802. Primary source in the South for information about the American Revolution. Pro American viewpoint except for period during the British occupation of Charleston when it was run by Loyalist Robert Wells as the Royal Gazette.

    South Carolina and American General Gazette was founded in 1758 with its first issue on November 1, 1758, edited by Robert Wells and G. Bruce, and later by the son of Robert Wells, John Wells, Jr. Robert Wells, a Loyalist, left Charleston in 1775, allowing his son John, willing to espouse more American views, to publish until the British occupation. Wells returned, and seems to have published this newspaper, and/or the above, as the Royal Gazette.

    South Carolina Gazette and Country Journal was founded in 1765 and published into 1775. It was printed by Charles Crouch.

    Virginia Gazette began publishing on August 6, 1736, published by William Parks. Continued publication in its initial incarnation until April 8, 1780. There have been several concurrent and subsequent publications known by the same name.

    While the above compilation of the newspapers that were in the colonies as of January 30, 1775, prior to the start of the American Revolution, contains most of those within the thirty-seven stated as existing, it is not complete. We have not been able to find the names of three Pennsylvania papers, and one from New York. The missing New York paper could be the Albany Gazette, which had been founded in 1771, but was not technically being published in 1775 (1772-1783), returning in 1784. Some, such as the Pennsylvania newspaper the Lancaster Mercury may be one of those, but no specific date for its start in the 1770's has been found. Some, for example, have been found that contradict the opening statement. It is stated that Virginia had two newspapers, both in Williamsburg, although we have found an additional not in Williamsburg in the Norfolk Intelligencer, which at times was known as the Virginia Gazette, of which three other papers are also known. Any additional information on them or corrections on the above is always appreciated.

    Image above: Front page of the Boston News-Letter, April 24, 1704, first issue. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Image below: Image of the Battle of Lexington, Amos Doolittle. Date unknown, late 1700s, early 1800s. Image courtesy Library of Congress. Info Source: Library of Congress; "A check list of American eighteenth century newspapers in the Library of Congress," 1912, Library of Congress. Periodicals division, Ingram, John Van Ness, Parsons, Henry S.; Americanantiquarian.org; "Top Ten Revolutionary War Newspapers," Journal of the American Revolution; Proceeding and Papers, Volume 2, 1908, Bibliographic Society of America; Wikipedia Commons.

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