TimeLine Assignment -  Development 103: Origins to  1877 (End of Reconstruction)

                Working from your textbook,  you are to develop timelines, over the course of the semester, for each period, century, or decade from 1450 to 1877.   You may define these periods as you wish, but I suggest that you begin with centuries and work toward decades: 1450s-1550s, 1550s-1650s, 1650s-1750s, 1750s-1800, 1800-1820, 1820s, 1830s, 1840s, 1850s, 1860s, 1870s.   The book contains tables of "important events" that will help you, but at least five of the events on each timeline page (century or decade)  must be followed by a two setence description and  a specific page reference where the event is discussed in the chapter.  This will, then, constitute a journal or set of outlines of early American history.

Second,  for FIVE  of the events over the course of the semester, you are to assume that you were a participant or eye-witness to the event, and you are to compose a journal entry describing the event and your reaction to it.  You can draw on the text, the secondary readings for the course, or a google search for information about the event, but you must use your own words and write in the first person.

The journal will be collected twice during the semester -- keep up with it as you go.    


Your Timeline will be evaluated for both content and presentation.  You can enhance the presentation and content by:

a) illustrating your timeline.  You can draw your own images, get them on line, or print out images and paste them to a hand-drawn timeline

b) including events from World history or World/American cultural history -- see the sources below and the example of 1450-1550 below. -- that is,  include events in European or World history that influenced America, and/or include literary  (major works published) or cultural history  works  occuring/produced in America.

On-Line Timeline Resources (in addition to NOT instead of your text)

David Kimmel,
Timeline of American Literature, 2001.  http://www.heidelberg.edu/~dkimmel/american/1850.html. Note: simple timeline with literature and world history events both listed from 1500 to 1950.  Best viewed in Netscape.

Phyllis Matthews Ziller, Genwriters: Writing for Future Generations, 2005.  http://www.genwriters.com/chronologies.htmlNote; links to numerous commercial sites with numerous American history timelines, many with "pop-ups," beware, but several very good, used mostly by genealogists.

Houghton-Mifflin, Timeline, 2005.  http://college.hmco.com/english/lauter/heath/4e/students/timeline/   Note: This site allows you to do a year-specific search for any year from 1530 to 2000.    The yearly timeline includes listings for literature, history, and culture.  Created to accompany Paul Lauter,  The Heath Anthology of American Literature.

Campbell, Donna. Brief Timeline of American Literature and Events: Pre-1620 to 1920, 2005. http://guweb2.gonzaga.edu/faculty/campbell/enl311/timefram.html Note: This site includes timelines by centuries or decades from 1500 to 1930.  The timeline is divided into categories of history and literature.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, Timeline of Art History,  2005.  http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/splash.htmNote: numerous timelines that feature holdings in their collection, but especially good for North American Art,

Paul Clemens, Sources for the United States Survey Course, 2005

TimeLine Example, 1450-1550  (Note: five of the  listings have been annotated  and the pages from  the Foner text  used for the annotation  has been included.  This is the model you should follow in developing your own timeline.)




Culture and the Arts

1485: Henry VII: King of England


1487:  Portuguese seafarers reach Cape of Good Hope.  Europe's chief supply of gold had long been Africa, and most had been carried across the Sahara to the Mediterranean by Muslim merchants.  In 1434, Potuguese sailors first traveled down the west coast of Africa below the Sahara and returned, thus opening the way for direct trade with sub-Saharan Africa states for gold, and incidentally, slaves.  In the next half century they established trading posts (forts) along the African coast and reached the Cape of Good Hope, the "doorway to the Indies" (India, East Indies and China).  In this same period they colonized the islands of the northwest coast of Africa (Madeira, Azores) and began planting sugar using slaves from the Muslim kingdoms in Africa and Eastern Euopean serbs.  The Portuguese thus estbalished the connection between sugar and slavery that would fuel the colonization of the New World. (Give Me Liberty!, pp. 8-9)

1492: Ferdinand and Isabella force Mores to capitulate in Spain and expel Jews.


1492: Columbus (Italian sailing for Spain) crosses Atlantic to Bahamas and Hispaniola


1494: Spain and Portugal agree on division of New World


1497: John Cabot (Italian sailing for England) reaches Newfoundland



1500: Portuguese seafarers claim "Brazil" for Portugal


1502: African slaves first imported to New World


1513: Juan Ponce de Leon explores Florida for Spain


1519: Cortes lands on Mexico and invades Aztec empire.  Aided by a Mayan slave, Malitzin, who helped him interpret the Aztec's speech, by tributary peoples who were willing to aid his conquest of the Aztecs, and by smallpox which devasted the Aztec capital, Cortes with only a few hundred European soldiers conquered the Aztec empire.  Mexico and later Peru would provide the Spanish with silver and gold (from mines in which Native Americans were worked to death), and this wealth, in turn, would fuel the dreams of other Europeans to invade the "New" World.  (Give Me Liberty!, p. 15-16).


1533: Henry VIII divorces Catherine of Aragon and begins English Reformation.


1553: Mary ("Bloody Mary") tries to restore Catholic rule to England


1558: Elizabeth I, Queen of England



1585-90: Sir Walter Raleigh promotes Roanoke colony ("Lost Colony").  Raleigh had sent 100 settlers to Roanoke, on the outer banks of modern North Carolina, in 1585, but they abandoned the colony within a year; a second group was sent in 1586, but when supply ships arrived in 1590, the colony had virtually disappeared.  John White, one of the original settlers in 1585, and the governor of the second expedition, painted water colors of the indigeneous peoples and of the plants and animals of the Carolinas that are our best testimony of what 16th century America looked like.  The colony may have been destroyed by the Spanish, whose possession of Florida Roanoke threatened, or the settlers may have moved away with various Native American peoples.  (Give Me Liberty!, p. 32)





1456: Guttenberg Bible published


1474: Leonardo de Vinci paints Ginevra de' Benci



1477: Publication of Marco Polo's Travels - travelogue and fantasy about splendors of "Indies"

1501: Michelangelo completes sculpture David.

1502: Leonardo de Vinci paints La Joconde

1513: Niccolo Machiavelli publishes The Prince

1516: Thomas More's Utopia

1517: Martin Luther begins "Protestant Reformation."  Luther, a German Catholic priest, angry at what he felt was the church's corruption, began a reform effort that led to the creation of new churches (called "Protestant") independent of Rome and the Catholic church.  Luther and other Protestant reformers called for believers to learn to read the Bible for themselves, and take greater responsibility for their own relationship of God (rather than relying on priests and the veneration of saints).  The struggle between Catholics and Protestant was long and bloody, and provided ideological justification for the warfare that would occu in the New World between rival European powers. (Give Me Liberty!, p. 18)

1541: John Calvin takes up residence in Geneva furthering Protestant Reformation.

1543: Copernicus publishes revolutionary work on astronomy.

1552: Bartolome de Las Casas publishes Destruction of the Indies.  Las Casas had participated in the conquest and plunder of Peru, but he became convinced that the enslavement of Native Peoples (but not, Africans) was against God's law.  He became a major critic of Spain's exploitation of Native American labor, and his writings not only led to an official Spanish ban on the enslavement of Native Americans but also were used as propaganda by the English and the Dutch to bolster their claims that they, not the Spanish, were doing God's work in the New World.  (Give Me Liberty!, pp. 19-20).

1564: Shakespeare born.

1584: Richard Hakluyt writes Discourse Concerning Western Planting, justifying and encouraging English colonization.

Updated:  August 8, 2005