American History Timeline - 1626 - 1650

1626 - 1650

6th May 1626, Dutch colonial officer Peter Minuit (1580 - 1638) purchases Manhattan Island from Man-a-hat-a Native Americans, for trinkets valued at $24.
Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Images


  • Peter Minuit arrives in New Netherland and later buys Manhattan from the Native Americans for items worth approximately $24. He then names the island New Amsterdam.


  • Plymouth Colony and New Amsterdam begin trading.
  • A shipload of approximately 1500 kidnapped children is sent from England to the Virginia colony to increase the number of settlers in the colony.


  • A group of settlers led by John Endecott settle at Salem. This begins the Massachusetts Bay Colony.


    • The Massachusetts Bay Colony is given a royal charter.
    • The Dutch West India Company begins to give land grants to patroons who will bring at least 50 settlers to the colonies.
    • John Winthrop is elected the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
    • King Charles I grants Sir Robert Heath a territory in North America that is to be called Carolina.


    • John Winthrop leads over 900 colonists to settle in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
    • John Winthrop also begins writing the History of New England
      Boston is officially established.
    • William Bradford, Governor of Plymouth colony, begins writing History of Plymouth Plantation.


    • Despite the Massachusetts Bay Colony charter, it is decided that only church members are allowed to become freemen who are allowed to vote for colony officials.
    • Sir Ferdinando Gorges is given a land grant and begins to settle which will eventually become Maine.


    • In the Massachusetts Bay Colony issues such as no taxation without representation and representative government are beginning to be addressed.
    • King Charles I grants Lord Baltimore a royal charter to found the Maryland Colony. Since Baltimore is Roman Catholic, the right to religious freedom is granted to Maryland.


    • The first town government is organized in the city of Dorchester within the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
    • The first school in America is founded in New Amsterdam.


      • The first settlers for the new Maryland colony arrive in North America.


      • Confrontations occur between Virginia and Maryland based on boundary disputes between the two colonies.
      • The charter for the Massachusetts Bay Company is revoked. The colony refuses to yield to this, however.
      • Roger Williams is ordered banished from Massachusetts after critizing the colony and promoting the idea of separation of church and state.


      • The Twonship Act is passed in the Massachusetts Bay general court giving towns the ability to govern themselves to some extent.
      • Thomas Hooker arrive in Hartford Connecticut and founds the first church of the territory.
      • Roger Williams founds the present-day city of Providence, Rhode Island.
      • Open warfare begins with Pequot Indians after the death of New England trader John Oldham.
      • Harvard University is founded.


      • After numerous encounters, the Pequot Indians are massacred by a force of Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, and Plymouth colonists. The tribe is virtually eliminated.
      • Anne Hutchinson is banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.



      • The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut are enacted.
      • Sir Ferdinando Gorges is named the governor of Maine by royal charter.
      • New Hampshire Colony settlers sign the Exeter Compact.


      • Dutch colonists settle in the Delaware River area.


      • Massachusetts Bay Colony takes over the jurisdiction of New Hampshire.


      • New Netherland fights against the Hudson River Valley Indians who have been making raids against the colony. Both sides will later sign a truce that will last a year.


      • The New England Confederation, also known as the United Colonies of New England, a confederation of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Plymouth, and New Hampshire, is formed.
      • Anne Hutchinson is murdered by Indians on Long Island.



      • The Dutch and the Hudson River Valley Indians conclude peace after four years of warfare.
      • The New England Confederation sign a peace treaty with the Naragansett Indians.


      • Massachusetts becomes increasingly intolerant as they pass a law making heresy punishable by death.


      • Peter Stuyvesant assumes the leadership of New Netherland.
      • Rhode Island General Assembly drafts a constitution allowing for separation of church and state.


      • The Dutch and the Swedes compete for the land around present-day Philadelphia on the Schuylkill River. They each build forts and the Swedes burn down the Dutch fort twice.


      • King Charles I of the House of Stuart is excommunicated in England. Virginia sides with the house of Stuart.
      • Toleration Act is passed in Maryland allowing for religious freedom.
      • Maine also passes legislation allowing for religious freedom.


      • Maryland is allowed to have a bicameral legislature by order of Lord Baltimore.
      • Virginia is blockaded by England after declaring allegiance to the House of Stuart.

      Source: Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur M., ed. "The Almanac of American History." Barnes & Nobles Books: Greenwich, CT, 1993.