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Presentation U.S. History Primary Source Timeline

U.s. history primary source timeline.

Explore important topics and moments in U.S. history through historical primary sources from the Library of Congress

a history timeline

General Knowledge Tutorial

General Knowledge - World History Timeline

The following table illustrates the major events along with respective timeline −

USA History Timeline

On the following pages, organized by decade, we follow the history of the United States from the days before the American Revolution to the present day in the U.S. History Timeline. Each page includes, for most years, five of the most important events that occurred each year during that decade, with a short explanation of the event and its significance, with expanded pop out details for some of the events.

More History

Mesa Verde

Take the time to read about the hows, whens, and whys of history. There's a ton of surprises just around the bend. Did you know the Fax Machine was actually invented before 1900, but nobody cared to use it, ... kinda just like today. Did you know that at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition , the exhibits included the Statue of Liberty's torch and arm, Alexander Graham Bell and the phone, plus Edison and the phonograph.


America's Best History

We'll start out with pre-Revolution history, acknowledging that the 1490's were not the true start, but was, for the most part, the beginning of its recorded history, for both good and bad, then follow the decades to the beginning of the nation through today.

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Decades - Decade Name

Pre-revolution history.

1490-1499 - Columbus/Cabot 1500-1599 - Exploration 1600-1619 - Settlement 1620-1639 - Colonies and Conflict 1640-1659 - Freedom and Navigation 1660-1679 - Anglo-Dutch-France and Fur 1680-1699 - Territorial Claims 1700-1719 - Conflicts of Empire 1720-1739 - Philosophical Ideas 1740-1759 - French, Indian, English Rules 1760-1769 - American Rights

United States History 1700's

1770-1779 - The American Revolution 1780-1789 - The Nascent Democracy 1790-1799 - America Builds

1800-1809 - Exploration 1810-1819 - The War of 1812 1820-1829 - A Decade of Compromise & Doctrine 1830-1839 - Conquering the West 1840-1849 - The Mexican War 1850-1859 - Expansion & the Looming Divide 1860-1869 - The Civil War 1870-1879 - The Nation's Centennial Decade 1880-1889 - America Invents 1890-1899 - The Age of Immigration

Check out our Minute (or two) Walks in History now on our own America's Best History Youtube channel. Watch, Like, Subscribe so you know when we post another.

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History Videos

1900-1909 - The World Begins to Fly 1910-1919 - World War I 1920-1929 - Prosperity and Its Demise 1930-1939 - The Great Depression 1940-1949 - World War II 1950-1959 - Two Cars in Every Garage 1960-1969 - Civil Rights and Turmoil 1970-1979 - The Nation in Flux 1980-1989 - The Reagan Revolution 1990-1999 - Prosperity as the World Turns

History Spotlights

Monthly Spotlight Spotlight Index

National Park History

Parks A-C Parks D-G Parks H-M Parks N-R Parks S-Z Other Important National Park Service Dates

U.S. World's Fair History

United States World's Fairs International World Expo Index T-Shirts and Gifts

Buy Official Souvenirs from America's Best History on the nation's best national parks and historic sites. Sold at Zazzle, Cafepress, Redbubble, and Amazon.

Second Edition America's Best History Timeline

Watch the ad for the Second Edition of the America's Best History Timeline book now available to order at Amazon and other sites in paperback or ebook (searchable). Great gift for the middle school and up student or adult who wants to learn the Timeline of American History in a clean and quick format. Great for home school students as well.

America's Best History Timeline Book

Battle Timelines

Revolutionary war battles.

Revolutionary War Battles 1775 Revolutionary War Battles 1776 Revolutionary War Battles 1777 Revolutionary War Battles 1778 Revolutionary War Battles 1779 Revolutionary War Battles 1780 Revolutionary War Battles 1781 Revolutionary War Battles 1782 Revolutionary War Battles 1783

War of 1812 Battles

War of 1812 Battles 1812 War of 1812 Battles 1813 War of 1812 Battles 1814 War of 1812 Battles 1815

Mexican American War Battles

Mexican War Battles 1846 Mexican War Battles 1847 Mexican War Battles 1848

Civil War Battles

Civil War Battles 1861 Civil War Battles 1862 Civil War Battles 1863 Civil War Battles 1864 Civil War Battles 1865

Spanish American War

Spanish American War 1898

World War I

World War I - 1914-1916 World War I - 1917 World War I - 1918 Treaty of Versailles

World War II

World War II - 1939-1940 World War II - 1941 World War II - 1942 World War II - 1943 World War II - 1944 World War II - 1945

Korean War 1950 Korean War 1951 Korean War 1952 Korean War 1953

Minuteman NHP

USA Historic Parks and Sites

Go visit the places where history happened. It's a lot more interesting than you think and includes such a variety of history from politics to how the United States and nature merged to form the union we have today. Our national parks and historic sites tell that story, including the well known parks of Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon to lesser known spotlights , our Monthly feature, around every corner of the USA.

Visit History

Buy Chronology

Chronology Book Ad

Check out the BOOK from the staff at America's Best History. Makes a great gift for yourself or a history friend, student, or family member. In easy to read, print, and search Digital format or Paperback from and more. Review - "Chronology" offers a fascinating series of snapshots throughout American history, including things I really haven't thought about, such as...what was life like here before the European explorers showed up? Some of the chapters are essays about specific topics or time periods, and others are the actual text of documents from our history. Even if you think you know American history, I'll bet you'll find something you didn't know, or an aspect you never thought about!"

Become our Patron

Coming Soon. Check out how you can support our mission to write, research, and provide you with additional articles within the Timeline of American History and profiles of historic sites by checking out our Patreon page. For as little as $2 per month, cancel at any time, you can become our patron of history. Get special benefits, including FREE books and early access tiers.

Baseball History Book

a history timeline

Book Reviews

This was a gift for my husband since he is an avid sports fan. He loves the book and can't put it down. Interesting facts about the beginning of baseball. Will be reading it after he's done with it.


a history timeline

America's Best History where we take a look at the timeline of American History and the historic sites and national parks that hold that history within their lands. Photos courtesy of the Library of Congress, National Archives, National Park Service, and its licensors.

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a history timeline

World History

History Timelines Ancient and Modern History

Human history, unsurprisingly, is very long and full of more details and events than anyone could remember. Even the earliest histories we have today—some dating back thousands of years—grapple with making sense of everything that came before them. Infoplease is here to help you get everything in order. Check out the 100 Most Significant Events of the Last Thousand Years, an ancient history timeline, world history timelines and more.

Pre-Modern 1 History

Beginning with the Earth's formation, through to the beginning of the modern day, fan favorites like ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, ancient in Mesopotamia, Harappa, the Roman Empire, and Aksum make their debuts. Though they have a less direct impact on the world today, these historic cultures held major influence over the course of history. The inventions of agriculture, fire, megalithic construction, and speech are the foundations of human life, as well as the development of the arts and sciences. Check out our timelines to discover more about these remote (and often unrecognizable) times.

Ancient History

1–999 (A.D.) World History

1000–1099 (A.D.) World History

1100–1199 (A.D.) World History

1200–1299 (A.D.) World History

Early Modern 2 History

With the "rediscovery" of Classical learning in the West, the invention of new economic models like mercantilism, and increased contact around the globe, the world begins to take the shape it has today. Early modernity will see the creation of the nation-state, the rise of capitalism and colonialism, and the beginnings of industrialization. Across the entire world, from Mali to the Maratha, this time period will see the consolidation and rise of thousands of notable polities and countries. Explore some of the highlights from this defining period of human history, including the American Revolution and the French Revolution.

1300–1399 (A.D.) World History

1400–1499 (A.D.) World History

1500–1599 (A.D.) World History

1600–1699 (A.D.) World History

1700–1799 (A.D.) World History

Late Modern 3 History

Late modernity, if it can be meaningfully distinguished from the present day, begins in the 19th century and ends with World War II and the beginning of the atomic era. The late modern period is characterized by industry, locomotion, the peak of colonialism and imperialism in Africa and Asia, and the beginnings of industrialized warfare. By the end of this time period, the multinational empires of the past will begin to break apart, paving the way for the current nations of the world.

1800–1899 (A.D.) World History

1900 – 1909 World History

1910 – 1919 World History

1920 – 1929 World History

1930 – 1939 World History

1940 – 1949 World History

World War I (1914–1918)

The Holocaust (1933–1945)

World War II (1939–1945)

Contemporary History

Contemporary history begins with the splitting of the atom and the rise of computers in the 20th century into the 21st century. These two new technologies more than anything else will fundamentally shape the course of human affairs. The contemporary period is characterized by the end of colonial imperialism, the rise of globalization and neocolonialism, the Cold War, and the rapid growth of global communication. Being the present, it's impossible to say when or how this time period may end.

1950 – 1959 World History

1960 – 1969 World History

1970 – 1979 World History

1980 – 1989 World History

1990 – 1999 World History

2000–2011 (A.D.) World History

Korean War (1950–1953)

Vietnam War

The Persian Gulf War (Jan. 16, 1991–April 6, 1991)

Millennium Milestones

1. The distinction between modern and pre-modern is a bit shaky at times. The most common dispute about when "modern" history begins is whether it starts right before or right after the Middle Ages (being named as such because they fall between Classical history and Modern history). Ultimately the distinction between modern and pre-modern is fairly arbitrary, especially when applied to places outside of Europe.

2. The editors at Infoplease have decided to split the divide around the beginning of the Italian Renaissance. With the Italian Renaissance, things start to look more familiar than in the Middle Ages. Medieval societies were built around systems of government, economic practices, and schools of thought that are often completely alien to today's readers, while by the Renaissance things like standing armies, stock-bond companies, and ethnic states come into play.

3. The division between early modernity and late modernity is also relatively fuzzy, as it's most commonly decided based on industrialization and complex modes of production. These factors arise at different times in different places, and are not universal metrics of "progress." For simplicity's sake, the editors have marked the break with the industrialization of the United Kingdom and the United States.

Here are the facts and trivia that people are buzzing about.

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See our artworks in historical context! Colored tabs help you see milestones  at-a-glance that relate to Art (Blue), American history (Green), Science and Technology (Red), and American literature (Pink). The events selected for this timeline directly relate to the content found throughout this website.

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About the National Archives

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Historical Timeline

For more historical events see  Milestones of the U.S. Archival Profession and the National Archives .

To learn more about the National Archives throughout history visit the National Archives Through the Decades . 


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