American History Timeline - 1651 - 1675

1651 - 1675

William Penn, Founder of Pennsylvania
William Penn, Founder of Pennsylvania. Public Domain

The American Revolution would not commence until 1765, when the Stamp Act Congress, representing the thirteen colonies, disputed the right of the British parliament to tax the colonists without providing them with representation in the House of Commons. The American Revolutionary War would not begin until 1775. During the period from 1651 to 1675, however, attempts by the British government to control commerce in the American colonies gradually created an atmosphere in which rebellion was almost inevitable.


  • England passes the Navigation Act that forbid goods to be imported from the colonies to England in non-English ships or from locations other than where they were produced. This action causes supply shortages hurting colonies and eventually leads to the Anglo-Dutch War which lasts from 1652-1654.


  • New Amsterdam is given permission to form its own city government.
  • Rhode Island passes the first law in America which prohibits slavery.
  • Maine is included within the boundaries of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  • The Anglo-Dutch War begins in July.
  • In defiance of England, Massachusetts Bay declares itself independent.


  • Massachusetts Bay does not support the New England Confederation in declaring war against the Dutch colonists.


  • The first Jewish immigrants arrive in America when they settle in New Amsterdam.
  • The new governor of Maryland, William Fuller, does away with the Toleration Act which gave Catholics the right to practice their religion and removes Lord Baltimore from authority.


  • A civil war between Catholic and Puritan factions after the revocation of the Toleration Act in 1654 results in a Puritan victory.
  • The Dutch, after years of conflict with New Sweden, are able to defeat the Swedes and end royal rule by Sweden in America.


  • Lord Baltimore is returned to power in Maryland and Josias Fendell is named its governor.
  • Quakers who arrive in Massachusetts Bay are treated horribly and banished which is supported by the New England federation. Later in the year, Connecticut and Massachusetts pass laws to allow for the banishment of Quakers.


  • Quakers who arrive in New Amsterdam are punished and then banished to Rhode Island by Governor Peter Stuyvesant.


  • Massachusetts colony passes laws that do not allow for religious freedom of Quakers including the holding of their meetings.


  • Two Quakers are punished by hanging when they return to Massachusetts Bay after being banished.


  • Lord Baltimore is removed from power by the Maryland assembly.
  • The Navigation Act of 1660 is passed requiring only English ships with a three-quarters English crew be allowed to be used for trade. Certain goods including sugar and tobacco could only be shipped to England or English colonies.


  • The English crown, in protest to the rules against Quakers, orders them released and returned to England. They are later forced to stop the harsh penalties against Quakers.
  • The first bible to be printed in America was published in the Algonquin language.


  • Connecticut is given a royal charter.
  • The Massachusetts Bay Colony's charter was accepted by England as long as they extended the vote to all landowners and allows for freedom of worship for Anglicans.


  • The Carolina colony is created by King Charles II and has numerous proprietors.
  • Rhode Island is given a royal charter.
  • All imports to the American colonies are required to come from England on English vessels with the second Navigation Act.


  • The Hudson River valley Indians surrender part of their territory to the Dutch.
  • The Duke of York is given a charter to control lands that include the Dutch area of New Netherland. By the end of the year a naval blockade by the English of the area causes Governor Peter Stuyvesant to surrender New Netherland to the English. New Amsterdam is renamed New York.
  • The Duke of York grants land called New Jersey to Sir George Carteret and John, Lord Berkeley.
  • Maryland and later New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia pass laws that do not allow for the freeing of black slaves.


  • New Haven is annexed by Connecticut.
  • The King's Commissioner's arrive in New England to oversee what is occurring in the colonies. They demand that colonies must comply by swearing allegiance to the King and allowing for the freedom of religion. Plymouth, Connecticut, and Rhode Island comply. Massachusetts does not comply and when representatives are called to London to answer to the King, they refuse to go.
  • The territory of Carolina is extended to include Florida.


  • Maryland prohibits the growing of tobacco for a year due to a glut of tobacco on the market.


  • The Peace of Breda officially ends the Anglo-Dutch War and gives England formal control over New Netherland.


  • Massachusetts annexes Maine.


  • The Fundamental Constitutions are issued in Carolina which provides for religious tolerance.


  • Charles Town (present-day Charleston) is established by Joseph West.
  • The Treaty of Madrid is completed between England and Spain. Both parties agree that they will respect each other's rights in America.
  • The Virginia Assembly only allows landowners the right to vote.


  • Plymouth forces King Philip (Metacomet), chief of the Wampanoag Indians, to surrender his weapons.
  • French explorers claim the interior of North America for King Louis XIV.


  • First copyright law is passed in the colonies by Massachusetts.
  • The Royal Africa Company is given a monopoly for the English slave trade.


  • Virginia is granted by the English crown to Lord Arlington and Lord Culpepper.
  • French explorers Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet travel down the Mississippi River exploring down to the Arkansas River.
  • The Dutch launch a naval attack against Manhattan to try and win back New Netherland during the third Anglo-Dutch War. Manhattan is surrendered. They capture other towns and rename New York to New Orange.


  • The Treaty of Westminster ends the third Anglo-Dutch War with the American Dutch colonies reverting back to England.
  • Father Jacques Marquette establishes a mission at present-day Chicago.


  • Quaker William Penn is granted rights to portions of New Jersey.
  • King Philip's War begins with retaliations for the execution of three Wampanoag Indians. Boston and Plymouth unite to fight against the Indians. Nipmuck Indians unite with the Wampanoags to attack settlements in Massachusetts. The New England Confederation then reacts by officially declaring war on King Philip and raising an army. The Wampanoags are able to defeat settlers near Deerfield on September 18th and Deerfield is abandoned.

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