US History Timeline (

1900 Galveston hurricane
1901 McKinley's 2nd inauguration. Shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz ,
1903 U.S. acquires Panama Canal Zone . Wright brothers first flight
1905 Theodore Roosevelt's second inauguration (March 4).
1908 Bureau of Investigation, forerunner of the FBI, is established (July 26).
1909 William Howard Taft is inaugurated
1913 Woodrow Wilson inaugurated.
1914–1918 World War I: U.S. enters World War I, declaring war on Germany (April 6, 1917) and Austria-Hungary (Dec. 7, 1917) three years after conflict began in 1914. Armistice ending World War I is signed (Nov. 11, 1918).
1914 Panama Canal opens to traffic
1918 Worldwide influenza epidemic, by 1920, nearly 20 million (0.5 million in US) are dead.
1919 League of Nations meets for the first time; U.S. is not represented (Jan. 13). Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, prohibiting the manufacture, sale, and transportation of liquor (Jan. 16). It is later repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment in 1933. Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, granting women the right to vote (Aug. 18). President Wilson suffers a stroke (Sept. 26). Treaty of Versailles, outlining terms for peace at the end of World War I, is rejected by the Senate (Nov. 19).
1921 Warren G. Harding is inaugurated as the 29th president (March 4). He signs resolution declaring peace with Austria and Germany (July 2).
1923 President Harding dies suddenly (Aug. 2). He is succeeded by his vice president, Calvin Coolidge. Teapot Dome scandal breaks, as Senate launches an investigation into improper leasing of naval oil reserves during Harding administration (Oct.)
1925 Coolidge's second inauguration (March 4). Tennessee passes a law against the teaching of evolution in public schools (March 23), setting the stage for the Scopes Monkey Trial (July 10–25).
1927 Charles Lindbergh makes the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight in his plane The Spirit of St. Louis (May 20–21).
1929 Herbert Hoover is inaugurated as the 31st president (March 4). Stock market crash precipitates the Great Depression (Oct. 29).
1931 The Star-Spangled Banner is adopted as the national anthem (March 3).
1932 Hattie Wyatt Caraway of Arkansas is the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate, to fill a vacancy caused by the death of her husband (Jan. 12). She is reelected in 1932 and 1938. Amelia Earhart completes first solo nonstop transatlantic flight by a woman (May 21).
1933 Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution, sometimes called the “Lame Duck Amendment,” is ratified, moving the president's inauguration date from March 4 to Jan. 20 (Jan. 23). Franklin Roosevelt is inaugurated as the 32nd president (March 4). New Deal recovery measures are enacted by Congress (March 9–June 16). Twenty-First Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, repealing Prohibition (Dec. 5).
1935 Works Progress Administration is established (April 8). Social Security Act is passed (Aug. 14). Bureau of Investigation (established 1908) becomes the Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover
1937 F. Roosevelt's second inauguration (Jan. 20).
1938 Fair Labor Standards Act is passed, setting the first minimum wage in the U.S. at 25 cents per hour (June 25).
1939–1945 World War II: U.S. declares its neutrality in European conflict (Sept. 5, 1939). F. Roosevelt's third inauguration (Jan. 20, 1941). He is the first and only president elected to a third term. Japan attacks Hawaii, Guam, and the Philippines (Dec. 7, 1941). U.S. declares war on Japan (Dec. 8). Germany and Italy declare war on the United States; U.S. reciprocates by declaring war on both countries (Dec. 11). Allies invade North Africa (Oct.–Dec. 1942) and Italy (Sept.–Dec. 1943). Allies invade France on D-Day (June 6, 1944). F. Roosevelt's fourth inauguration (Jan. 20, 1945). President Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin meet at Yalta in the USSR to discuss postwar occupation of Germany (Feb. 4–11). President Roosevelt dies of a stroke (April 12) and is succeeded by his vice president, Harry Truman. Germany surrenders unconditionally (May 7). First atomic bomb is detonated at Alamogordo, N.M. (July 16). President Truman, Churchill, and Stalin meet at Potsdam, near Berlin, Germany, to demand Japan's unconditional surrender and to discuss plans for postwar Europe (July 17–Aug. 2). U.S. drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan (Aug. 6). U.S. drops atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan (Aug. 9). Japan agrees to unconditional surrender (Aug. 14). Japanese envoys sign surrender terms aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo harbor (Sept. 2).
1945 United Nations is established (Oct. 24).
1946 The Philippines, which had been ceded to the U.S. by Spain at the end of the Spanish-American War, becomes an independent republic (July 4).
1947 Presidential Succession Act is signed into law by President Truman (July 18). Central Intelligence Agency is established.
1948 Congress passes foreign aid bill including the Marshall Plan, which provides for European postwar recovery (April 2). Soviets begin blockade of Berlin in the first major crisis of the cold war (June 24). In response, U.S. and Great Britain begin airlift of food and fuel to West Berlin (June 26).
1949 Truman's second inauguration (Jan. 20). North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is established (April 4). Soviets end blockade of Berlin (May 12), but airlift continues until Sept. 30.
1950–1953 Korean War: Cold war conflict between Communist and non-Communist forces on Korean Peninsula. North Korean communists invade South Korea (June 25, 1950). President Truman, without the approval of Congress, commits American troops to battle (June 27). President Truman removes Gen. Douglas MacArthur as head of U.S. Far East Command (April 11, 1951). Armistice agreement is signed (July 27, 1953).
1950–1975 Vietnam War: Prolonged conflict between Communist forces of North Vietnam, backed by China and the USSR, and non-Communist forces of South Vietnam, backed by the United States. President Truman authorizes $15 million in economic and military aid to the French, who are fighting to retain control of French Indochina, including Vietnam. As part of the aid package, Truman also sends 35 military advisers (May 1950). North Vietnamese torpedo boats allegedly attack U.S. destroyer in Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of North Vietnam (Aug. 2, 1964). Congress approves Gulf of Tonkin resolution, authorizing President Johnson to take any measures necessary to defend U.S. forces and prevent further aggression (Aug. 7). U.S. planes begin bombing raids of North Vietnam (Feb. 1965). First U.S. combat troops arrive in South Vietnam (March 8–9). North Vietnamese army and Viet Cong launch Tet Offensive, attacking Saigon and other key cities in South Vietnam (Jan.–Feb. 1968). American soldiers kill 300 Vietnamese villagers in My Lai massacre (March 16). U.S. troops invade Cambodia (May 1, 1970). Representatives of North and South Vietnam, the Viet Cong, and the U.S. sign a cease-fire agreement in Paris (Jan. 27, 1973). Last U.S. troops leave Vietnam (March 29). South Vietnamese government surrenders to North Vietnam; U.S. embassy Marine guards and last U.S. civilians are evacuated (April 30, 1975).
1951 Twenty-Second Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, limiting the president to two terms (Feb. 27). President Truman speaks in first coast-to-coast live television broadcast (Sept. 4).
1952 Puerto Rico becomes a U.S. commonwealth (July 25). First hydrogen bomb is detonated by the U.S. on Eniwetok, an atoll in the Marshall Islands (Nov. 1).
1953 Dwight Eisenhower is inaugurated as the 34th president (Jan. 20). Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed for passing secret information about U.S. atomic weaponry to the Soviets (June 19).
1954 Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy accuses army officials, members of the media, and other public figures of being Communists during highly publicized hearings (April 22–June 17). Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kans.: Landmark Supreme Court decision declares that racial segregation in schools is unconstitutional (May 17).
1957 Eisenhower's second inauguration (Jan. 21). President sends federal troops to Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., to enforce integration of black students (Sept. 24).
1958 Explorer I, first American satellite, is launched (Jan. 31).
1959 Alaska becomes the 49th state (Jan. 3) and Hawaii becomes the 50th (Aug. 21).
1961 U.S. severs diplomatic relations with Cuba (Jan. 3). John F. Kennedy is inaugurated as the 35th president (Jan. 20). Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba fails (April 17–20). A mixed-race group of volunteers sponsored by the Committee on Racial Equality—the so-called Freedom Riders—travel on buses through the South in order to protest racially segregated interstate bus facilities (May).
1962 Lt. Col. John Glenn becomes first U.S. astronaut to orbit Earth (Feb. 20). Cuban Missile Crisis: President Kennedy denounces Soviet Union for secretly installing missile bases on Cuba and initiates a naval blockade of the island (Oct. 22–Nov. 20).
1963 Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivers his “I Have a Dream” speech before a crowd of 200,000 during the civil rights march on Washington, DC (Aug. 28). President Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Tex. (Nov. 22). He is succeeded in office by his vice president, Lyndon B. Johnson.
1964 President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act (July 2).
1965 In his annual state of the Union address, President Johnson proposes his Great Society program (Jan. 4). L. Johnson's second inauguration (Jan. 20). State troopers attack peaceful demonstrators led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., as they try to cross bridge in Selma, Ala. (March 7). President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discriminatory voting practices (Aug. 6). In six days of rioting in Watts, a black section of Los Angeles, 35 people are killed and 883 injured (Aug. 11–16).
1966 Miranda v. Arizona: Landmark Supreme Court decision further defines due process clause of Fourteenth Amendment and establishes Miranda rights (June 13).
1967 Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, outlining the procedures for filling vacancies in the presidency and vice presidency (Feb. 10).
1968 Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., is assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. (April 4). Sen. Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated in Los Angeles, Calif. (June 5–6).
1969 Richard Nixon is inaugurated as the 37th president (Jan. 20). Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, Jr., become the first men to land on the Moon (July 20).
1970 Four students are shot to death by National Guardsmen during an antiwar protest at Kent State University (May 1).
1971 The Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 (July 1).
1972 Nixon makes historic visit to Communist China (Feb. 21–27). U.S. and Soviet Union sign strategic arms control agreement known as SALT I (May 26). Five men, all employees of Nixon's reelection campaign, are caught breaking into rival Democratic headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, DC (June 17).
1973 Nixon's second inauguration (Jan. 20). Roe v. Wade: Landmark Supreme Court decision legalizes abortion in first trimester of pregnancy (Jan. 22). Senate Select Committee begins televised hearings to investigate Watergate cover-up (May 17–Aug. 7). Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigns over charges of corruption and income tax evasion (Oct. 10). President Nixon nominates Gerald R. Ford as vice president (Oct. 12). Ford is confirmed by Congress and sworn in (Dec. 6). He is the first vice president to succeed to the office under the terms laid out by the Twenty-Fifth Amendment.
1974 House Judiciary Committee recommends to full House that Nixon be impeached on grounds of obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress (July 27–30). Nixon resigns; he is succeeded in office by his vice president, Gerald Ford (Aug. 9). Nixon is granted an unconditional pardon by President Ford (Sept. 8). Five former Nixon aides go on trial for their involvement in the Watergate cover-up (Oct. 15); H. R. Haldeman, John D. Ehrlichman, and John Mitchell eventually serve time in prison. Nelson Rockefeller is confirmed and sworn in as vice president (Dec. 19).
1977 Jimmy Carter is inaugurated as the 39th president (Jan. 20). President Carter signs treaty (Sept. 7) agreeing to turn control of Panama Canal over to Panama on Dec. 31, 1999.
1978 President Carter meets with Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin at Camp David (Sept. 6); Sadat and Begin sign Camp David Accord, ending 30-year conflict between Egypt and Israel (Sept. 17).
1979 U.S. establishes diplomatic ties with mainland China for the first time since Communist takeover in 1949 (Jan. 1). Malfunction at Three Mile Island nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania causes near meltdown (March 28). Panama takes control of the Canal Zone, formerly administered by U.S. (Oct. 1). Iranian students storm U.S. embassy in Teheran and hold 66 people hostage (Nov. 4); 13 of the hostages are released (Nov. 19–20).
1980 President Carter announces that U.S. athletes will not attend Summer Olympics in Moscow unless Soviet Union withdraws from Afghanistan (Jan. 20). FBI's undercover bribery investigation, code named Abscam, implicates a U.S. senator, seven members of the House, and 31 other public officials (Feb. 2). U.S. mission to rescue hostages in Iran is aborted after a helicopter and cargo plane collide at the staging site in a remote part of Iran and 8 servicemen are killed (April 25).
1981 Ronald Reagan is inaugurated as the 40th president (Jan. 20). U.S. hostages held in Iran are released after 444 days in captivity (Jan. 20). President Reagan is shot in the chest by John Hinckley, Jr. (March 30). Sandra Day O'Connor is sworn in as the first woman Supreme Court justice (Sept. 25).
1982 Deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution passes without the necessary votes (June 30).
1983 U.S. invades Caribbean island of Grenada after a coup by Marxist faction in the government (Oct. 25).
1985 Reagan's second inauguration (Jan. 21).
1986 Space shuttle Challenger explodes 73 seconds after liftoff, killing all seven crew members (Jan. 28). It is the worst accident in the history of the U.S. space program. U.S. bombs military bases in Libya in effort to deter terrorist strikes on American targets (April 14). Iran-Contra scandal breaks when White House is forced to reveal secret arms-for-hostages deals (Nov.).
1987 Congress holds public hearings in Iran-Contra investigation (May 5–Aug. 3). In a speech in Berlin, President Reagan challenges Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” and open Eastern Europe to political and economic reform (June 12). Reagan and Gorbachev sign INF treaty, the first arms-control agreement to reduce the superpowers' nuclear weapons (Dec. 8).
1989 George H. W. Bush is inaugurated as the 41st president (Jan. 20). Oil tanker Exxon Valdez runs aground in Prince William Sound, spilling more than 10 million gallons of oil (March 24). It is the largest oil spill in U.S. history. President Bush signs legislation to provide for federal bailout of nearly 800 insolvent savings and loan institutions (Aug. 9). U.S. forces invade Panama in an attempt to capture Gen. Manuel Noriega, who previously had been indicted in the U.S. on drug trafficking charges (Dec. 20).
1990 Iraqi troops invade Kuwait, leading to the Persian Gulf War (Aug. 2).
1991 Persian Gulf War: U.S. leads international coalition in military operation (code named “Desert Storm”) to drive Iraqis out of Kuwait (Jan. 16–Feb. 28). Iraq accepts terms of UN ceasefire, marking an end of the war (April 6).
1991 U.S. and Soviet Union sign START I treaty, agreeing to further reduce strategic nuclear arms (July 31). Senate Judiciary Committee conducts televised hearings to investigate allegations of past sexual harassment brought against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas by Anita Hill, a law professor at the University of Oklahoma (Oct. 11–13).
1992 Following the breakup of the Soviet Union in Dec. 1991, President Bush and Russian president Boris Yeltsin meet at Camp David and formally declare an end to the cold war (Feb. 1). The acquittal of four white police officers charged in the 1991 beating of black motorist Rodney King in Los Angeles sets off several days of rioting, leading to more than 50 deaths, thousands of injuries and arrests, and $1 billion in property damage (April 29). President Bush authorizes sending U.S. troops to Somalia as part of UN relief effort (Dec. 4). President Bush grants pardons to six officials convicted or indicted in the Iran-Contra scandal, leading some to suspect a cover-up (Dec. 24).
1993 Bill Clinton is inaugurated as the 42nd president (Jan. 20). Bomb explodes in basement garage of World Trade Center, killing 6, injuring 1,000, and causing more than $500 million in damage (Feb. 26). After 51-day standoff with federal agents, Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Tex., burns to the ground, killing 80 cult members (April 19). President Clinton orders missile attack against Iraq in retaliation for alleged plot to assassinate former President Bush (June 26). Eighteen U.S. soldiers are killed in ambush by Somali militiamen in Mogadishu (Oct. 3–4). President Clinton signs North American Free Trade Agreement into law (Dec. 8).
1994 Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee, files a federal lawsuit against President Clinton for sexual harassment (May 6).
1995 Bombing of federal office building in Oklahoma City kills 168 people (April 19). U.S. establishes full diplomatic relations with Vietnam (July 11). President Clinton sends first 8,000 of 20,000 U.S. troops to Bosnia for 12-month peacekeeping mission (Dec.). Budget standoff between President Clinton and Congress results in partial shutdown of U.S. government (Dec. 16–Jan. 6).
1997 Clinton's second inauguration (Jan. 20).
1998 President Clinton denies having had a sexual relationship with a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky (Jan. 17). President Clinton releases 1999 federal budget plan; it is the first balanced budget since 1969 (Feb. 2). In televised address, President Clinton admits having had a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky (Aug. 17). U.S. launches missile attacks on targets in Sudan and Afghanistan following terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (Aug. 20). U.S. and Britain launch air strikes against weapons sites in Iraq (Dec. 16). House of Representatives votes to impeach President Clinton on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice (Dec. 19).
1999 Senate acquits Clinton of impeachment charges (Feb. 12). NATO wages air campaign against Yugoslavia over killing and deportation of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo (March 24–June 10). School shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., leaves 14 students (including the 2 shooters) and 1 teacher dead and 23 others wounded (April 20). U.S. and China sign historic trade agreement (Nov. 15).
2000 According to the census, the nation's population numbers more than 280 million (April 1). No clear winner is declared in close presidential election contest between Vice President Al Gore and Texas governor George W. Bush (Nov. 7). Bush's tiny lead prompts automatic recount of votes in Florida (Nov. 8). More than a month after presidential election, U.S. Supreme Court determines the outcome by ruling against a manual recount of ballots in certain Florida counties (Dec. 12). Bush formally accepts the presidency, having won a slim majority in the electoral college but not a majority of the popular vote (Dec. 13).
2001 George W. Bush is inaugurated as the 43rd president (Jan. 20). Two hijacked jetliners ram twin towers of World Trade Center in worst terrorist attack against U.S.; a third hijacked plane flies into the Pentagon, and a fourth crashes in rural Pennsylvania. More than 3,000 people die in the attacks (Sept. 11). U.S. and Britain launch air attacks against targets in Afghanistan after Taliban government fails to hand over Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks (Oct. 7). Following air campaign and ground assault by Afghani opposition troops, the Taliban regime topples (Dec. 9); however, the hunt for bin Laden and other members of al-Qaeda terrorist organization continues.
2002 In his first State of the Union address, President Bush labels Iran, Iraq, and North Korea an “axis of evil” and declares that U.S. will wage war against states that develop weapons of mass destruction (Jan. 29). President Bush signs legislation creating new Cabinet Department of Homeland Security. He nominates Tom Ridge as secretary. (Nov. 25).
2003 President Bush presents case for Iraqi war in State of the Union speech (Jan. 28). Space shuttle Columbia explodes upon reentry into Earth's atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts on board (Feb. 1). War in Iraq begins with an air strike on Baghdad (March 20). U.S. forces enter Baghdad; city falls 4 days later (April 5–9). President declares victory in Iraq (May 1). Bush signs $350 billion tax-cut bill (May 28).