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1539: Marcos de Niza a Spanish Franciscan Friar was first to explore Arizona.
1598: Don Juan de Onate led an expediation to establish San Juan de los Caballeros colony in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. He subsequently extended the territory 700 miles from Santa Barbara, Chihuahua in Mexico.
26 April 1607: Jamestown Settlement, Virginia was founded, first permament English colony.
1609: Dutch colony established at Nieuw Amsterdam, Nieuw Nederlands (now New York City)
1620: Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts established, lasted until 1691 when it was dissolved and absorbed by the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Before 1625 the Dutch built Fort Goede Hoop, also known as Huys de Hoop as part of their New Netherland colony. It was turned over to the English in 1633 and became Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut
1629: Massachusetts Bay Colony established.
1632: Maryland colony established by Lord Baltimore as a refugee for the Catholics from England.
1655: Peach Tree War, Nieuw Nederlands colony.
1769: The first permanent settlement was made by the Spanish in the San Diego Bay area of California.
3 September 1783: Great Britain acknowledges American independence in the Treaty of Paris, formally ending the Revolutionary War.
13 July 1787: The Northwest Ordinance was the first of over 300 laws passed by the federal government to help encourage settlement, to survey the land, and to establish a legal record-keeping system. The rectangular survey system was established dividing most of the land in the public domain into townships and sections.
2 May 1803: The Louisiana Purchase: 885,000 square miles of land between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains that the United States purchased from France.
18 July 1812: War of 1812 broke out.
23 March 1815: War of 1812 ended with the Treaty of Ghent.
22 February 1819: Spain ceded the remainder of West Florida and all of East Florida to the United States for five million dollars as the result of Spain's difficulties of putting down rebellions in their South American colonies.
2 December 1823: Monroe Doctrine: President James Monroe declared that the American continents were off limits for further colonization by European powers—later justifying U.S. imperialism in the Western Hemisphere.
1839: Manifest Destiny: The popular notion that the United States was "destined" to expand from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.
15 June 1846: Oregon Treaty The border of Canada and the United States was established at the 49th parallel and the U.S. acquired the Oregon Territory covering the states of Oregon, Washington and parts of Idaho and Montana.
25 April 1846: The Mexican War was fought between the United States and Mexico over U.S.'s claim to the area between Rio Grande and Neuces River.
2 February 1848: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the war, a treaty gave the U.S. land extending from Oklahoma to California formerly known as Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico (now California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming).
24 June 1853: Gadsden Purchase, acquired the southern portion of Arizona and New Mexico, and defined the border from Texas to California.
12 April 1861: Civil War broke out with shelling of Fort Sumter, South Carolina.
20 May 1862: Homestead Act Land was distributed after 1862 to homesteaders who could receive a patent (title) to the land by residing on it and making improvements for five years. Subsequent laws modified the requirements and the amount of land one could obtain by homesteading.
9 April 1865: The ending of the Civil War opened opportunities for land ownership especially west of the Missouri River.
30 March 1867: The United States purchased Alaska from Russia. 1869 The first trans-continental railroad was completed.
12 August 1898: The end of the Spanish-American War brought Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines under the control of the United States.
15 June 1898: The United States annexed Hawaii.
2 December 1899: The United States acquired American Samoa per the Tripartite Convention.
after 3 November 1903: The United States acquired the Panama Canal Zone after Panama gained independence from Colombia.
31 March 1917: The United States acquired the Virgin Islands (formerly the Danish West Indies), becoming the United States Virgin Islands
6 April 1917 More than 26 million men from the United States ages 18 through 45 registered with the Selective Service. World War I over 4.7 million American men and women served during the war.
11 November 1918: Armistace was reached, ending the World War I.
29 October 1929 to 7 December 1941: The Great Depression closed many factories and mills. Many small farms were abandoned, and many families moved to cities.
7 December 1941: Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, marking the entry of United States in the World War II. Over 50.6 million men ages 18 to 65 registered with the Selective Service. Over 16.3 million American men and women served in the armed forces during World War II.
4 July 1946: The Philippines became an independent republic, delayed from 1941 as the result of World War II with Japanese occupation.
25 June 1950: Korean Conflict broke out with invasion by the North Korea armies of South Korea. Over 5.7 million American men and women served.
25 July 1952: Puerto Rico became a commonwealth of the United States.
27 July 1953:
1956–1972: The original building of interstate highways made it easier for people to move long distances. More people in Alabama live in cities with a population of at least 2,500.
1964–1972: Over 8.7 million American men and women served in the Vietnam War.
7 September 1977: Torrijos-Carter Treaties, with Panama taking control of the Canal Zone on 31 December 1979.
11 September 2001: War on Terrorism was declared against the al Qaeda terror group after the air attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and aborted 4th flight resulting in crash in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.