Brief Timeline of American Literature and Events
|1700-1749||Political and Social History||Literature|
|1700-1704||1700 Massachusetts representative
assembly orders all Roman Catholic priests to vacate the colony within
three months, an action also taken by the New York legislature.
Population of the American colonies: about 275,000 people. Boston has 7,000 people and New York 5,000.
1702-1713 Queen Anne's War (War of the Spanish Succession)
1704 28-29 February. Deerfield, Massachusetts is destroyed and 100 residents are abducted, a consequence of Queen Anne's War.
|1700. 24 June. Judge
Sewall publishes The
Selling of Joseph, an anti-slavery tract.
1702 Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana
1704 (October) Sarah Kemble Knight begins her Private Journal of a Journey from Boston to New York (published 1825).
|1705-1709||1705. Laws restricting the travel
of slaves and banning miscegenation are enacted in New York, Massachusetts,
and Virginia (Virginia Black Code of 1705).
1707 Settlers in Charlestown, South Carolina successfully defend their town against an attack by French and Spanish colonists from Havana and St. Augustine.
|1705 Robert Beverley, History
1706 Cotton Mather, The Good Old Way, a book that laments the declining Puritan influence in America.
1707 John Williams, The Redeemed Captive, a best-selling captivity narrative recounting his abduction during the Deerfield raid.
1708 The Sot-Weed Factor, satirical poem by Ebenezer Cook
1710 3,000 German refugees from
the Palatinate settle near Livingston Manor on the Hudson River in New
York to produce naval stores. When the colony fails, the settlers
go first to the Mohawk Valley (in New York) and finally to eastern Pennsylvania.
|1710 Cotton Mather, Bonifacius (Essays to Do Good), a book that influenced Benjamin Franklin|
|1715-1719||1715 Yamasee tribes attack and kill
several hundred Carolina settlers.
1716 South Carolina settlers and their Cherokee allies attack and defeat the Yamassee.
1717 Scots-Irish immigration begins, with most settling to western Pennsylvania.
1718 French found New Orleans.
City of San Antonio founded by the Spanish.
|1719-41 The Boston Gazette|
|1720-1724||1720 Estimated population of colonies:
The French build forts on the Mississippi, the St. Lawrence, and the Niagara rivers.
1721. A smallpox epidemic in Boston prompts Cotton Mather and Zabdiel Boylston to experiment with inoculation against the disease. Mather had learned of the practice from Onesimus, his slave, who had himself been inoculated as a child and knew inoculation to be a widely accepted medical practice in Africa.
1723 Benjamin Franklin leaves Boston for Philadelphia, a trip that he chronicles in his Autobiography.
1724 Jewish settlers are exiled from the Louisiana colony.
|1722 Benjamin Franklin, the "Dogood Papers"|
Franklin founds the Junto Club. (Image
courtesy of the
Images of American Political History site.)
1728 Prospective brides arrive in Louisiana for the French settlers there; they are known as "casket girls" because they have received dresses in small trunks or caskets as an incentive for immigration.
1728 Col. William Byrd keeps a diary of his travels in determining the boundary between Virginia and North Carolina; it is published in 1841 as History of the Dividing Line.
|1727 Dr. Cadwallader Colden, History
of the Five Indian Nations
1728 God's Mercy Surmounting Man's Cruelty, Exemplified in the Captivity and Redemption of Elizabeth Hanson (captivity narrative of a Quaker woman)
1729 Franklin purchases and publishes the Pennsylvania Gazette, which later becomes The Saturday Evening Post.
|1730-1734||1731.Franklin's Junto club establishes
the Library Company of Philadelphia, the first circulating library in the
1732 Birth of George Washington.
1734 John Peter Zenger, editor of the New York Weekly Journal, is imprisoned in New York for upholding freedom of the press. He is accused of libeling New York Governor William Cosby. In 1735, Zenger is acquitted when his attorney, Andrew Hamilton, says that the charges cannot be libelous because the accusations against Cosby were true.
|1732 Benjamin Franklin begins publishing Poor Richard's Almanac.|
|1735-1739||1738 British preacher George Whitefield
arrives in Savannah; his sermons help to promote the "Great Awakening"
throughout the 1740s. One of the thousands impressed by his eloquence
is Benjamin Franklin, who writes in his Autobiography,
"I happened soon after to attend one of his Sermons, in the Course of which
I perceived he intended to finish with a Collection, & I silently resolved
he should get nothing from me. I had in my Pocket a Handful of Copper Money,
three or four silver Dollars, and five Pistoles in Gold. As he proceeded
I began to soften, and concluded to give the Coppers. Another Stroke of
his Oratory made me asham'd of that, and determin'd me to give the Silver;
& he finish'd so admirably, that I empty'd my Pocket wholly into the
Collector's Dish, Gold and all." Other preachers in this movement included
Theodore Frelinghuysen of the Dutch Reformed Church, Gilbert Tennent (Presbyterian),
1739-42 War of Jenkin's Ear (against Spain in the Southern colonies)
|1740-1744||1741 Vitus Bering surveys the Alaskan coast for Russian Tsar Peter the Great||1741 Jonathan Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, one of the most famous sermons of the Great Awakening|
|1745-1749||1745 French attack and burn Saratoga
during King George's War (1745-8; ended by Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle)
1749 First American repertory acting company established in Philadelphia; it opens with Thomas Keane in Richard III.
1749 Trustees of Georgia colony revoke their prohibition on slavery in the colony, marking a legal recognition of slavery there.
Timeline provides a side-by-side summary of events in Southwestern and
The Early American Paintings site at the Worcester Art Museum has a timeline of American painting.
BlackNewEngland.net has a timeline of early African American history.
For a more comprehensive chronology of historical events in this period:
"Chronicling Black Lives in Colonial New England" (Christian Science Monitor, 1997)
The Chronology on the History of Slavery lists events from 1619 to1789.