1565 Spain founded the first permanent European settlement in what is now the United States at Saint Augustine, Florida. However, Native Americans had lived on the continent for thousands of years.
1763 Britain gained control of eastern North America at the end of the Seven Years’ War, known in America as the French and Indian War.
1776 The Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence at Philadelphia.
1781 American forces decisively defeated the British at the Siege of Yorktown. Two years later, Britain recognized American independence in the Treaty of Paris.
1787 The Constitutional Congress met in Philadelphia and wrote the Constitution of the United States. All 13 states ratified the Constitution by 1790.
1803 The United States nearly doubled in size after President Thomas Jefferson acquired the territory of Louisiana from France in a transaction known as the Louisiana Purchase.
1848 The United States gained large amounts of territory as a result of winning the Mexican War. The new land, coupled with the acquisition of the Oregon country in 1846, extended the western border of the United States to the Pacific Ocean.
1861 Several Southern slave states seceded in January and formed the Confederate States of America. The American Civil War broke out in April.