American History Timeline 1675–1700

Witch Trial
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Between 1675 and 1700, the British colonies on the eastern coast of the North American continent to evolve. Plymouth became part of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania changed from being a proprietary colony to a royal one and then back to a proprietary colony, and North Carolina was designated. Here are the key events that occurred between these years. 

1675

June 20: King Philip's War begins when King Philip (1638–1676, and also known as Metacomet) leads a coalition of his Wampanoag Indians with their allies the Pocumtuc and Narragansett on a raid against the colonial settlement of Swansea.

September 9: The New England Confederation declares war on King Philip and each colony is required to provide men for a combined force.

September 12: King Philip achieves a decisive victory against the forces of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and their Nipmuc allies at Bloody Brook.

1676

February: The Mohawk launch a surprise assault against Metacomet, a turning point in King Philip's War.

March: King Philip's War continues as Metacom's forces attack Plymouth, Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island.

June: Nathaniel Bacon assembles a group of 500 men leading them to Jamestown in what comes to be known as Bacon's Rebellion. Virginia planters agree to support Nathaniel Bacon.

June 12: The colonists with the Mohegan Indians defeat King Philip's men at Hadley.

July: Nathaniel Bacon, the instigator of Bacon's Rebellion or the Virginia Rebellion (1674–1676), is declared a traitor and arrested but quickly freed by his men. He is later pardoned after he admits his guilt.

July 30: Bacon writes the "Declaration of the People of Virginia," criticizing the governor's administration of levying unfair taxes, appointing friends to high places, and failing to protect settlers from attack.

August 22: King Philip's War ends in the English colonies when the Indians surrender and leaders Metacomet and Anawan are killed. Conflict continues in the northern theater (Maine and Acadia)

September 19: Bacon's forces capture and then burn Jamestown to the ground.

October 18: Nathaniel Bacon dies of a fever. The rebel army surrenders when promised amnesty.

1677

January: Virginia Governor Berkeley executes 23 of the rebels from Bacon's Rebellion in direct defiance of the crown. He is later replaced by Colonel Jeffreys as the head of Virginia.

September 14: Increase Mather publishes "The Troubles That Have Happened in New England."

1678

April 12: With the Treaty of Casco, King Philip's War is formally brought to an end.

Winter: The French (Rene Robert Cavalier, Sieur de la Salle, and Father Louis Hennepin) visit Niagara Falls while exploring Canada. The falls were first reported by a westerner (Samuel de Champlain) in 1604.

1679

The Province of New Hampshire is created out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony by royal degree of British King Charles II.

1680

January: John Cutt takes office as the president of New Hampshire and ending Massachusetts' governance.

1681

March 4: William Penn receives a royal charter from Charles II to set up Pennsylvania, to pay off debts owed to Penn's father.

1682

April: Frenchman Sieur de la Salle claims the land at the mouth of the Mississippi for France and calls the territory La Louisiane (Louisiana) in honor of his king Louis XIV.

May 5: William Penn publishes "Frame of Government of Pennsylvania" that provides for a precursor of a bicameral government.

August 24: The Duke of York awards William Penn a deed to the lands that make up Delaware.

1684

October: Frustrated by the unwillingness of the Massachusetts Bay Colony to revise its charter to weaken the power of the church, Charles II revokes its royal charter.

During the Second Anglo-Dutch War, Charles II gives the Province of New Netherland to his brother, the Duke of York.

1685

February: Charles II dies and his brother the Duke of York becomes King James II.

March: Increase Mather is named Acting President of Harvard College.

23 April: James II renames New Netherland to New York and makes it a royal province.

22 October: King Louis XIV revokes the Edict of Nantes that gave the Huguenots to practice their religion, and afterward, the number of French Huguenot settlers in America increases.

1686

King James II creates the Dominion of New England, a mega-colony covering all of New England and combining the colonies of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth Colony, Connecticut Colony, the Province of New Hampshire and the Colony of Rhode Island and Plymouth Plantations—New Jersey and New York would be added in 1688. James names Sir Edmund Andros as governor general.

1687

1688

The extremely unpopular Governor of the Dominion of New England, Edmund Andros, places the militia of New England under his direct control.

April: Governor Andros plunders the home and village of Jean-Vincent d'Abbadie de Saint-Castine (1652–1707), a French military officer and Abenaki chief, considered the start of King William's War, an outgrowth of Europe's Nine Years War between the English and French.

April 18: The earliest known antislavery tract "Petition Against Slavery" is released in the colonies by the Quakers at Germantown, Pennsylvania.

November: The Glorious Revolution occurs in which King James II (Catholic) flees to France and is replaced by William and Mary of Orange (Protestant).

1689

February: The English Parliament presents the English Bill of Rights to William and Mary.

April 11: William and Mary of Orange are officially named King and Queen of England.

April 18: A popular rising of a well-organized mob of provincial militia and citizens forms in the town of Boston and arrest dominion officials in the Boston Revolt.

April 18: Governor Andros surrenders to colonial rebels and is put in jail.

New England colonies begin re-instituting their own governments after Governor Andros is removed from power.

May 24: The Toleration Act of 1688 is passed by Parliament which gives limited Freedom of Religion to all British citizens.

December 16: The English Bill of Rights receives the royal assent by William and Mary and goes into law. It limits monarch powers and sets out the right of Parliament, and the rights of individuals.

1690

King William's War continues in North America when the combined forces of the French and the Indians attack towns in New York, Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

1691

William Penn makes Delaware a separate government from Pennsylvania.

Maryland is declared a royal province, removing Lord Baltimore from political power.

October 7: William III and Mary II establish the Province of Massachusetts Bay, including all Massachusetts Bay Colony, all of Plymouth Colony and part of the Province of New York.

1692

William III suspends William Penn's proprietary charter for Pennsylvania, making it a royal province.

February: Salem Witchcraft trials begin with the trial and conviction of a slave woman named Tituba: 20 persons will be executed before the trial's end.

Increase Mather is named President of Harvard.

1693

February 8: William III and Mary II of England sign a charter creating the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The Carolinas win the right to initiate legislation in the British House of Commons.

Twenty Cherokee chiefs visit Charles Town in Carolina, with an offer of friendship and help with their troubles with other tribes who had carried off some of their kinsmen. Governor Philip Ludwell agreed to help but said the kidnapped Cherokees were already in Spanish hands.

1694

August 15: Colonists from Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, New Jersey, and New York sign a peace treaty with the Iroquois to keep them from allying with the French in the future.

Pennsylvania is once again named a Proprietary Colony when William Penn gets his charter back.

28 December: After Mary dies, William III takes sole rule over England.

1696

The Navigation Acts of 1696 are passed by Parliament that limits all colonial trade to English-built vessels, among other things.

1697

September 20: The Treaty of Ryswick ends King William's War and restores all colonial possessions to pre-war ownership.

1699

July: Pirate Captain Kidd is captured and sent to England eight months later, where he will be executed in 1701.

The Wool Act, one of the Acts of Trade and Navigation, is passed by Parliament to protect the British wool industry. It forbids the export of wool from the American colonies.

1700

Massachusetts, who had banned Catholic priests first in 1647, passed another law requiring all Roman Catholic priests to leave the colony within three months or be arrested.

Boston is the largest city in the American colonies and the overall population of the colonies numbers around 275,000.

Sources and Further Reading

  • Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur M., ed. "The Almanac of American History." Greenwich CT: Barnes & Nobles Books, 1993.
  • Shi, David E., and George Brown Tindall. "America: A Narrative History, Tenth Edition." New York: W. W. Norton, 2016.
  • Turner, Frederic Jackson, and Allan G. Bogue. "The Frontier in American History." Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 2010 (originally published 1920)