United States: History

  1. 1776

    The American Revolutionary War is sparked by the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  The war lasts until 1783, when Britain accepted the loss of their American colonies by virtue of signing the Treaty of Paris.  

  2. 1803

    The United States purchases the Louisiana territories from France.

  3. 1812-1815

    The War of 1812 occurs between the U.S. and Britain, which is due in part to British restrictions on U.S. trade during the Napoleonic Wars.  

  4. 1846-1848

    The U.S. acquires vast amount of Mexican territory, including California and New Mexico, in the wake of the Mexican War.  

  5. 1860

    Eleven southern states secede from the union to form the Confederate States of America and a civil war ensues.  The northern states had an industrial based economy that favored protectionist policies, and were anti-slavery.  The southern states had an agriculturally based economy which was powered by slave labor.  In addition, these states favored free trade policies as the depended on exporting their produce aboard.  The Confederate states are eventually defeated in 1865 and slavery is abolished.  

  6. 1898

    The United States gains Puerto Rico, Guam, the Philippines, and Cuba following the Spanish-American war.  Cuba, however, becomes an independent country rather than a U.S. territory.  

  7. 1914

    The United States completes construction of the Panama Canal.  The canal greatly expedites international maritime trade by linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.  

  8. 1929

    The Wall Street stock market crash triggers the Great Depression, leading to massive unemployment.  

  9. 1941

    The US fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii is attacked by Japanese warplanes; the US declares war on Japan and Germany shortly thereafter.   

  10. 1945

    Nazi Germany is defeated in May, ending the war in Europe.  Japan surrenders in August, following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  

  11. 1948

    The U.S. commits $13 billion to reviving post-war European economies under the Marshall Plan.  

  12. 1964

    The U.S., which had been supporting anti-communist South Vietnamese forces since 1955, escalates its military involvement by deploying regular ground forces.  The proxy war against communist forces, namely the Soviet Union, continued until the signing of the Paris Peace Accord in 1973. 

  13. 1981

    Ronald Reagan wins the presidency and implements his plan of supply side economics, dubbed "Reaganomics".  This economic policy leads to several years of economic expansion, but triples the national debt as a cost.  

  14. 1992

    Congress passes the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  NAFTA establishes free trade between the United States, Mexico, and Canada.  

  15. 2001

    Coordinated terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, and other high profile targets, lead the U.S. to declare a "war on terror", which leads to the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.  

  16. 2008

    The United States faces its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression after Lehman Brothers, a major investment bank, collapses.  "The Great Recession" creates a global financial crisis.  


BBC News