1501African Slaves in the New World
Spanish settlers bring slaves from Africa to Santo Domingo (now the capital of the Dominican Republic).
1522Slave Revolt: the Caribbean
Slaves rebel on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which now comprises Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
1562Britain Joins Slave Trade
John Hawkins, the first Briton to take part in the slave trade, makes a huge profit hauling human cargo from Africa to Hispaniola.
1581Slaves in Florida
Spanish residents in St. Augustine, the first permanent settlement in Florida, import African slaves.
1705Slaves as Property
Describing slaves as real estate, Virginia lawmakers allow owners to bequeath their slaves. The same law allowed masters to kill and destroy runaways.
1712Slave Revolt: New York
Slaves in New York City kill whites during an uprising, later squelched by the militia. Nineteen rebels are executed.
1739Slave Revolt: South Carolina
Crying Liberty! some 75 slaves in South Carolina steal weapons and flee toward freedom in Florida (then under Spanish rule). Crushed by the South Carolina militia, the revolt results in the deaths of 40 blacks and 20 whites.
1775American Revolution Begins
Battles at the Massachusetts towns of Lexington and Concord on April 19 spark the war for American independence from Britain.
Anthony Benezet of Philadelphia founds the worlds first abolitionist society. Benjamin Franklin becomes its president in 1787.
1776Declaration of Independence
The Continental Congress asserts that these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.
1783American Revolution Ends
Britain and the infant United States sign the Peace of Paris treaty.
Congress narrowly defeats Thomas Jeffersons proposal to ban slavery in new territories after 1800.
1790First United States Census
Nearly 700,000 slaves live and toil in a nation of 3.9 million people.
1793Fugitive Slave Act
The United States outlaws any efforts to impede the capture of runaway slaves.
Eli Whitney patents his device for pulling seeds from cotton. The invention turns cotton into the cash crop of the American Southand creates a huge demand for slave labor.
1808United States Bans Slave Trade
Importing African slaves is outlawed, but smuggling continues.
Missouri is admitted to the Union as a slave state, Maine as a free state. Slavery is forbidden in any subsequent territories north of latitude 36°30´.
1822Slave Revolt: South Carolina
Freed slave Denmark Vesey attempts a rebellion in Charleston. Thirty-five participants in the ill-fated uprising are hanged.
1831Slave Revolt: Virginia
Slave preacher Nat Turner leads a two-day uprising against whites, killing about 60. Militiamen crush the revolt then spend two months searching for Turner, who is eventually caught and hanged. Enraged Southerners impose harsher restrictions on their slaves.
Southern states expel abolitionists and forbid the mailing of antislavery propaganda.
Defeated, Mexico yields an enormous amount of territory to the United States. Americans then wrestle with a controversial topic: Is slavery permitted in the new lands?
1847Frederick Douglasss Newspaper
Escaped slave Frederick Douglass begins publishing the North Star in Rochester, New York.
1849Harriet Tubman Escapes
After fleeing slavery, Tubman returns south at least 15 times to help rescue several hundred others.
1850Compromise of 1850
In exchange for Californias entering the Union as a free state, northern congressmen accept a harsher Fugitive Slave Act.
1852Uncle Toms Cabin Published
Harriet Beecher Stowes novel about the horrors of slavery sells 300,000 copies within a year of publication.
Setting aside the Missouri Compromise of 1820, Congress allows these two new territories to choose whether to allow slavery. Violent clashes erupt.
1857Dred Scott Decision
The United States Supreme Court decides, seven to two, that blacks can never be citizens and that Congress has no authority to outlaw slavery in any territory.
1860Abraham Lincoln Elected
Abraham Lincoln of Illinois becomes the first Republican to win the United States Presidency.
South Carolina secedes in December. More states follow the next year.
1861-65United States Civil War
Four years of brutal conflict claim 623,000 lives.
President Abraham Lincoln decrees that all slaves in Rebel territory are free on January 1, 1863.
The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution outlaws slavery.