chapter
United States of America
Pages 38

England for supplies returned in 1590 but found the settlement abandoned with no evidence of the colonists they had left behind. 14 May 1607: Captain Christopher Newport, in the service of the London Company during the reign of King James I of England, arrived with a group of 140 English settlers on three ships at an island in south-eastern Virginia. There they founded Jamestown, named in the King’s honour; this was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. 1614: Dutch entrepreneurs founded a trading post on the right (west) bank of the Hudson River, in the territory of the Mahicans, at the place where the city of Albany now stands. This trading station, known as Fort Nassau, was the first Dutch presence in the future USA. Although true colonization would come a decade later, Fort Nassau marked the beginning of New Netherlands, which would become New York state. 1616: An epidemic of smallpox-unknown in the Americas prior to the arrival of Europeans-killed more than one-half the indigenous population of the area corresponding to the six modern states of New England. 30 July 1619: The first European representative assembly in American history, the House of Burgesses, met in James City, as Jamestown had been renamed; 22 delegates attended, representing 11 constituencies in the Virginia colony. August 1619: A Dutch warship, having defeated a Spanish ship in a confrontation on the high seas and seized its cargo, delivered to the James City colony some 20 African labourers. This is the first documented arrival of Africans into the future USA. There is no evidence that these earliest African-Americans were held in slavery, although they may, in common with many European immigrants, have been indentured servants. 16 September 1620: The ship Mayflower sailed with the tide from the English port of Plymouth, carrying 102 men, women and children, some but not all of whom were Puritan Christians escaping persecution in England, bound for the Virginia colony at Jamestown, where they had permission to settle. November 1620: After a storm had blown the ship off course, the Mayflower landed in Cape Cod Bay, in what is now Massachusetts, some 800 km north of Jamestown. A party went ashore to find a suitable location for a colony, which they named Plymouth. 21 November 1620: The adult male passengers of the Mayflower were required to sign an agreement, the Mayflower Compact, in which they pledged to ‘covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politik, for our better ordering and preservation’ and to ‘enact, constitute and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony’. This was the first constitution ever written in the ‘New World’. early 1621: The Plymouth colonists signed a peace treaty and shared knowledge with the Wampanoag people. 1621: The States-General in the Netherlands granted a charter to the Dutch West India Company, with a monopoly over Dutch trade with and colonization in the Americas and Africa. late 1621: Although the exact date is not known, the Plymouth colonists held a feast of

f the Fort Nassau trading post. Dutch colonization of New Netherlands began. In the same year, Dutch entrepreneurs founded the New Amsterdam trading post on the southern tip of Manhattan Island. 1626: The German-born Dutch Director-General of the New Netherlands colony, Peter Minuit, purchased Manhattan Island from an Algonquin-speaking tribe. 1630s: Further groups of British colonists arrived, founding settlements along the eastern American coast, some proceeding to the interior to found further colonies. 12 June 1630: John Winthrop arrived at what is now Salem, Massachusetts, with some 1,800 mostly-wealthy Puritans to found the Massachusetts Bay Colony, first at Salem, then briefly at Charleston and then shortly thereafter at Boston. 28 October 1636: Harvard College, now Harvard University, was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1638: The Dutch West India Company, and especially Minuit, persuaded the Swedish Government to recruit Swedish and Finnish settlers to establish a permanent settlement; Fort Christina, named after the Swedish monarch, would be the beginning of the colony of New Sweden, which subsequently became the colony and state of Delaware. 1639: The Connecticut colony adopted the Fundamental Orders, which abolished religious affiliation as a requirement for citizenship. 1640: Three black indentured servants in the Virginia colony escaped, were captured and were tried. One of them, John Punch, received a sentence of servitude for life. This is the first documented case of full slavery in the English colonies of North America. In the same year, another black resident of the Virginia colony, Anthony Johnson, was a free man and a landholder. 1643: The first confederation of the American colonies was a defensive association of Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay and New Plymouth against the Dutch, the French and certain indigenous groups with which these had formed alliances. 1661: The Virginia House of Burgesses enacted the so-called ‘Black Codes’, which institutionalized slavery in the colony. 1664: In the Second Anglo-Dutch War, British forces seized the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, although the Dutch successfully recaptured it shortly afterwards. 1667: The Treaty of Breda ended the Second Anglo-Dutch War and confirmed the acquisition of New Netherlands by the British; both the city of New Amsterdam and the colony of New Netherlands were renamed New York, and Fort Orange was renamed Albany. Although the number of Dutch people arriving in the New York colony declined sharply, the Dutch language and way of life endured. The first US President ever to be born within the independent USA, Martin Van Buren (who served from 1837-41), was a native speaker of Dutch. 1670: With slavery laws removing the rights of black people in the Virginia colony, and similar legislation having been enacted in other colonies, Johnson had his lands confiscated. 1671: Denmark captured St Thomas Island, in the archipelago now known as the US Virgin Islands.