Chronography of the USA-Indigenous American Nations

Page last modified 2511/2021


Home page


For history of the USA click here


Indigenous American Nations (see also Alaska, Florida)

21/9/2004, The National Museum of the American Indian opened in Washington DC.

30/6/1980, In the US, the Sioux nation won US$ 122.5 million in compensation and interest for illegal government seizure of their land in 1871.

28/5/1973, Actor Marlon Brando refused an Oscar in protest at the USA�s treatment of indigenous Amerindians.

2/6/1924, The US now allowed indigenous Indians to become full citizens. Indigenous Indian, Learned Hand, became the first Native American judge of the US Court of Appeals, serving until 1956.

1923, The Navajos set uo a Tribal Council, intitally to approve an oil and gas lease.

9/1/1918, U.S troops engaged Yaqui Indian warriors in the Battle of Bear Valley in Arizona, a minor skirmish and one of the last battles of the American Indian Wars between the United States and American Indians.

10/1/1917, William �Buffalo Bill� Cody died, aged 71. He was a pony express rider before the Civil War, in which he fought; after, he supplied meat to the workers of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, hence his name. As chief of scouts for the US military he fought in several battles against the Indians, which made him famous.

23/2/1911, Quanah Parker, 65, Principal Chief of the Comanche Nation, died.

29/1/1907, Charles Curtis became U.S. Senator for Kansas, the first Indigenous American to become a Senator.

29/12/1890. The Battle of Wounded Knee in South Dakota. This was the last major conflict between Red Indians, the Sioux, and US troops.

15/12/1890. Chief Sitting Bull, Sioux leader (born ca.1831), was shot dead in a scuffle with police in South Dakota whilst resisting arrest. He had fled to Canada after his victory over General Custer at Little Bighorn in 1876. He returned to the USA in 1881 and was jailed for 2 years. He performed for several years with Buffalo Bill�s travelling Wild West Show, but the suffering of his people led him to join the new Ghost Dance Movement, dedicated to destroying the Whites and restoring the lost Indian world. The US Government sent troops to suppress the Ghost Dance Movement and arrest its leaders; Sitting Bull was shot in the skirmish.

2/5/1890. The Federal Territory of Oklahoma was created; it was formerly known as the Indian Territory. On 22/4/1889 the US government, via a single shot fired at noon, had signalled the start of a great race for land by white settlers. An estimated 200,000 people crossed into the land once home to 75,000 Indians, who had to move on. By nightfall 22/4/1889 almost all of Oklahoma�s 2 million acres had been claimed.

8/2/1887. The USA passed the Dawes Act. This granted US citizenship to Amerindians living outside the reservations, but also allowed the President to overrule Indian governments and sell traditional communally-owned tribal lands to private owners.


Geromimo�s last days, surrender to the US

17/2/1909. Geronimo, the last Apache chief to surrender, died at his ranch on an Oklahoma reservation, aged 90.

4/9/1886. The Apache chief Geronimo surrendered to General Nelson Miles of the US army. He was born in what is now New Mexico in 1829.After returning home to find his wife and three children murdered by Spanish troops from Mexico he terrorized European settlements. He was the leader of the last American Indian force to surrender, and had outwitted the US army with its superior numbers for 10 years. His ten years of guerrilla action was intended to deter white settlers from New Mexico and Arizona. He died a prisoner in 1909, unable to return to his homeland, and was buried in the Apache cemetery at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

1883, An Apache traitor led US forces under Generals George Crook and Nelson A Miles to Geronimo�s headquarters. Taken by surprise, the Apache surrendered and agreed tp live on the White Mountain reservation. In 1885 the Apoache again began raiding, but in 1886 they were finally overcome by US forces. Geronimo and other Apache were sent to a Federal prison in Florida, but later allowed to return to the West, where he li8ved the rest of his life near Fort Siull, Oklahoma.


Impossibility of rerervation life; suppression of Amerindian culture

1885, Numbers of bison in the US were down to 2,000, from 15 million in 1860. Many were killed to provide meat for the railway construction gangs. More sinisterly, the bison were killed to remove the Amerindian basis of livelihood; they depended on the bison for food, clothing, shelter and fuel. Amerindian nations were forced onto reservations and expected to grow crops. However they were accustomed to hunting and saw farming as a lowly occupation; many nations all but died out.

10/4/1883, On the instructions of the US Secretary for the Interior (Henry M Teller), the Commissioner for Indian Affairs distributed instructions to eradicate �demoralising and barbarous� traditions. The document defined �Indian Offenses� that included having more than one wife, holding religious feasts and dances such as the Sun Dance, and practising traditional medicine. Other indigenous traditions such as purchasing a wife by leaving property at her father�s house and showing grief by destroying property were also outlawed.

11/1877, General Carleton ordered Apache Indians in Arizona off their Chiricahua Reservation at Warm Springs and on to San Carlos. Here, summer temperatures reached 40 C, and there was no game or other food. Any Indian found leaving San Carlos would be shot.


4/10/1877, The Amerindian leader of the Nez Pierce tribe, Chief Joseph, surrendered tp the US Army. His people were cold and exhausted after a long march from the tribe�s lands in Oregon after gold was discovered on their lands. Joseph and his people were sent to live on the non Nez Pierce reservation of Colville, eastern Washington, where Joseph died in 1904.

15/9/1877, Crazy Horse, Sioux Chief, one of the leaders at the victory of Little Big Horn in 1876, died.

6/5/1877. Chief Crazy Horse and his Sioux Indians gave themselves up to US troops, abandoning claims to Nebraska.

25/6/1876. Custer�s Last Stand took place at Little Bighorn, Montana. Custer died with all 264 men of his 7th cavalry. The killing was done by Sioux Indians led by Chiefs Crazy Horse and Gall. The Battle was the result of a confused policy by the US government towards the Indians. The Indians, Eastern Sioux, and Northern Cheyennes, had been guaranteed exclusive possession of the Dakota territory west of the Missouri River, but white miners were settling in the Black Hills area searching for gold. The US government refused to move the miners and so conflict became inevitable. The Indians were asked to leave or be considered hostile and in June 1876 US soldiers moved in. However Custer, with his 650 men, was unaware that the Indians had 1,500 warriors close by. After the disaster of Little Bighorn, the US army flooded the area with soldiers, forcing the Indians to surrender.

31/1/1876, All American Indians were ordered to move to reservations.

2/7/1874, The US Government ordered General George A Custer to lead a reconnaissance expedition into the Black Hills territory of the Sioux Indians.

9/6/1874, Cochise, Apache chief and war leader against White settlers, died.

4/1873, Geronimo and other Chiefs, worn down by lack of food and ammunition and continually harried by US troops, gavfe up the fight and agreed to live on reservations. However after a few years, unable tpo bear the restrictions of reservation life and facing continued agreement-breaking by White settlers, some Amerindians resumed raiding. Game and other food was scarce on these reservations. Soime Amerindians would flee across the border to Mexico when US troops closed in, where they could not follow.

1872, Cochise, Apache Chief, finally signed a peace treaty with the European settlers and agreed to his people living on a reservation. Other Chiefs siuch as Geronimo fought on.

3/3/1871, US Congress passed the Indian Appropriation Act. Many Amerindians had already ceded their lands by treaty and then been moved to reservations. However this Act now made all tribes wards of the US Government and voided all previous treaties recognising each tribe�s reservation status as a separate nation.

27/11/1868, Lieutenant Colonel George Custer and his 7th cavalry attacked the village of Cheyenne Indian chief Black Kettle. The Indians had been resisting the building of a railway in their territory.

6/11/1868. Oglala Sioux Indians, led by Chief Red Cloud, signed a peace treaty with General William Sherman, representing the US Government, at Fort Laramie. This ended 2 years of fighting between Indians and gold miners.

12/8/1868, Under duress, Navajo Chiefs signed a Treaty with the US Government agreeing to live on a 3.5 million reservation which was only a small portion of the former Navajo domain. The reservation later grew to 14.5 million acres, but was mostly desert and semi-desert, with just 68,000 acres of farmland. Meanwhile during a 5-year period of Navajo internment their population had fallen from 10,000 to 8,000 and of their former 200,000 sheep, just 940 were left.

21/5/1867, Frances Theresa Densmore was born in Red Wing, Minnesota. She recorded and documented the songs and music of over 30 Amerindian tribes before her death at age 87.


Apache aned Navajo War 1860-65

1865, End of the Apache and Navajo War 1860-65. Conflict between the Amerindians and White settlers grew as the latter encroached on Indian lands, backed up by US military forts erected in the 1850s. In 1861 Cochise, anApache Chief, was wrongly accused with 6 others of kidnap and cattle rustling. The othe r5 were executed but Cochise escaoed, with US Federal forces drawn away from the area by the US civil wat, was able to create considerable trouble for the Europeans. However in 1863 and 1864 Colonel Christopher �Kit� Carson (1809-69) led the Forst New Mexico Volunteers ina determined foght against the Amerindians. Thye men were to be killed and the women and children taken prisoner.In 1865 the Navajo surrendered and were resettled on a reservation on the Pecos River, new Mexico. The Apache under Cochise, however, retreated to the mountains and made continued guerrilla raids on the White settlers.

30/4/1860, Fort Defiance, New Mexico, was attacked by 1,000 Navajo Indians, angered by the shooting of their sheep and goats by the fort�s soldiers. The Navajo, with bows and arrows, almost succeeded in capturing the fort. |However they retreated when the fort fired cannon on them.


29/11/1864, The Sand Creek massacre; Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians were waiting to surrender to US forces when soldiers under the command of Colonel Chivington slaughtered them.

3/3/1863. Congress provided for the forcible removal of all Indians from the state of Kansas.

17/8/1862, A Sioux uprising in Minnesota led by Little Crow was suppressed.

1858, Only about 150 Seminole Indians remained in the remoter areas of Florida after a war on them (Second Seminole War) by Federal soldiers. Between 1835 and 1842, some 3,000 soldiers were killed, and only some 300 Seminoles escaped death or deportation. The Army returned again in 1855 in the Third Seminole War.

11/9/1858, The Mountain Meadows Massacre in Utah. 135 migrants on the Fancher wagon train were ambushed, and nearly all killed, by Pahute Indians; however the Indians were acting under instructions from the Mormon leader, Brigham Young.

23/7/1851, Sioux Chieftains ceded all their land in Iowa, as well as some in Minnesota, to the US Government.

27/11/1847, Cayeuse Amerindians killed 14 White settlers in the Oregon area, whom they blamed for the measles epidemic that had killed many of the Cayeuse.

5/12/1839, Birth of George Armstrong Custer, US cavalry commander famous for �Custer�s Last Stand� against the Cheyenne and Sioux Indians.

1838, Indian title to the lands of Minnesota was extinguished by the US Government.

23/5/1838, General Winfield-Scott ordered the forced removal of the Cherokee Indians from their original lands into reservations 800 miles west in what is now Oklahoma. About 4,000 of the 14,000 Cherokees died along the �Trail of Tears�.

25/12/1837, Seminole Indians were defeated at US forces under 53-year-old Colonel ZacharyTaylor. Meanwhile Seminole leader Osceola was tricked into emerging from hiding to sign a truce, and arrested amnd taken to Fort Moultrie, South Carolina, where he died in 1838. Most of the Seminole in Florida were killed over the next few years. See 1858.

1835, A Second Seminole War (see 1819) began after a 31-year-old Seminole man killed a chief who had signed the 1832 Treaty, also a US agent at Fort King. A 2-year guerrilla war now began against US forces led by General Thomas S Jesup

29/12/1835, The Treaty of New Echota was signed between the US Government and the Amerindian Cherokee Nation, after which the Cherokees were moved to the Oklahoma Territory along the �Trail of Tears�.

28/12/1835. Over 100 US troops were killed by Seminole Indians resisting attempts to drive them out of Florida.

28/10/1834, Florida Seminole Indians were ordered to move to an Indian Territory set up west of the Mississippi (see 9/5/1832).

30/6/1834, US Congress set up a Department of Indian Affairs.

14/10/1832, The Chicasaw Indians ceded their land east of the Mississippi to the United States.

21/9/1832, The Sauk and Fox Amerindian tribes agreed to remain west of the Mississippi.

2/8/1832, Illinois militiamen massacred Indian warriors at Bad Axe River in Wisconsi Territory, during the Black Hawk War.

9/5/1832, Seminole Indians in Florida ceded their land to the United States and agreed to move west of the Mississippi. See 28/10/1834.

24/3/1832, The Creek Indians ceded all their land east of the Mississippi to the United States.

3/3/1832, The US Supreme Court ruled, in the case of Worcester v. Georgia, that the US Government had exclusive authority over tribal Indians and their lands in any State.

27/5/1831, Comanche Indians on the Cimarron killed Jeremiah Smith.

18/3/1831, The US Supreme Court ruled that indigenous Amerindian tribes could not sue for their rights in a Federal Court�because they weren�t full citizens, and their reservations weren�t foreign nations�.

15/9/1830. The Choctaw Indians ceded their lands east of the Mississippi River.

28/5/1830. The USA passed the Indian Removal Act, giving the Indians perpetual title to western lands. The Indians were wary, aware of valuable mineral deposits beneath these western lands.

20/12/1828. Cherokee Indians ceded their traditional lands in Arkansas territory to the USA and agreed to migrate to lands west of the Mississippi River.

11/3/1824, The Bureau of Indian Affairs was created by US Secretary of War, John C Calhoun.

1823, The Arikara War. The Arikara Amerindians began attacking White trappers who were encroaching on their landsUS troops under Colonel Henry H Leavenworth (1783-1834) now mounted a punitive expedition agaoinst the SArikara, who were eventually resettled on a reservation at Fort Berthold, North Dakota, in the 1860s.

14/10/1823, Chicksaw Indian tribal chiefs ceded land east of the Mississippi River to the United States Government.

1819, First Seminole War; The US army under Major General Andrew Jackson, having taken Florida from Spain, now set about evicting the local Seminole Indians from the best farmland. The four thousand Seminoles refused to move, and the First Seminole War lasted until 1826. See 1835.

29/9/1817, Under the Fort Meigs Treaty, 6,000 square miles of land previously belonging to the Ohio Indians was ceded to the US Government. In return the Indians received 144 square miles, the �Grand Reserve, on the Upper Sandusky.

9/8/1814. By the Treaty of Fort Jackson the Creek Indians ceded their claims to about half of present day Alabama, and by a further series of treaties in 1830 and 1835 the Indians were transferred further west.

22/7/1814. Five Indian tribes in Ohio made peace with the USA and declared war on the British.

9/11/1813, In the USA, General Andrew Jackson defeated Cree Indians at Taledega in a retaliatory attack following a Cree attack in August 1813 in which 500 White settlers were massacred.

7/11/1811, The Battle of Tippecanoe. The Shawnee Indians were heavily defeated by US General Harrison.

30/9/1809, The Treaty of Fort Wayne was signed by Governor Harrison and Chiefs of the Delaware, Miami and Potawatomi Indian tribes, ceding 5,500 square miles of territory to the Federal Government. Two tribal leaders, Tecumseh and Tensquatawa, refused to sign.

24/11/1807, Joseph Brant, American Indian chief of the Mohawks, died (born 1742).

8/3/1782, The Gnadenhutten Massacre in Delaware. 160 volunteers under Colonel David Williamson attacked the Moravian mission town of Gnadenhutten. 90 Christian indigenous American Indian men women and children were slaughtered, and the mission church burnt down. A few survivors managed to flee to Canada.

7/8/1790, Alexander McGillivray, chief of the Muskogian Indians, signed a treaty of peace and friendship with President Washington.

26/11/1789. Thanksgiving was celebrated across America for the first time.In 1621 the indigenous Americans had taught early Plymouth settlers how to tap the maple trees for sap and how to plant the Indian corn. The harvest was very successful and the Pilgrims found they had enough food to see them through the winter. The Pilgrim Governor William Bradford proclaimed a Day of Thanksgiving to be shared by all colonists and invited the Indians to join them for three days. During the American Revolution of the late 1770s, a Day of National Thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress and was celebrated nationwide in 1789. Since then each President has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, usually designating the fourth Thursday in November as the holiday.

20/4/1777, The Cherokee Nation ceded all their land in South Carolina to the US federal government by the De Witts Corner Treaty.

20/4/1769, Pontiac, indigenous American leader, died.

5/11/1768. William Johnson, the Northern Indian Commissioner, signed a treaty with the Iriquois Indians to acquire much of the land between the Tennessee and Ohio rivers for future settlement.

15/2/1764, The city of St Louis, Missouri, was founded as a trading post between Europeans and Indians.

7/5/1763. Four Indian tribes united to lay siege to the British stronghold of Fort Detroit. However the British had forewarning of the plan by the Delaware, Chippawa, Shawnee, and Ottawa tribes and had strengthened their fortifications. The Indians were concerned at the loss of their fur trade to the British, and wanted a return to the old Indian customs. In November 1763 the Indians lifted the siege after failing to gain French support.

28/11/1729, In Louisiana, Natchez Indians massacred over 200 White settlers after the colonists tried to appropriate the Indians traditional burial grounds.

1725, End of the Third Abnaki War, 1722-25. Engtlish settlers had encroached on Abnaki lands, and the French Jesuit missionary Sebastien Rasles encourage dthem to resist. The English attempted to seize rasles, and the Abnakiintensified their raids on Englisah settlements at Brunswick, Arrowsick and Merry Meeting Bay. The English then also fought back harder, killing Rasles at the battle of Norridgewock (1724), also Fryburg (1725). The War was ended by peace conferences at Boston and Casco Bay.

1712, End of Second Abnaki War, 1702-12. Allied French and Abnaki forces attacked English settlers, but when the English and French started to make peace, in 1712, the Abnaki, now alone, were forced to sue for peace with the English. See also First Abnaki War 1678, and Third Abnaki War 1725,

23/6/1683, William Penn signed a treaty of peace and friendship with chiefs of the Lenapi Indian tribe, at Shakamaxon.

1680, Revolt by the Arizona Amerindians against the Spanish.

1678, End of the First Abnaki War (1675-78). The Abnaki People, living in what is now Maine, new Hampshire and Vermont, had allied with the French against the English, harrying them for much of the 1600s. In 1675 hostilities intensified, and the English were forced to conclude a peace treaty in 1687, paying an annual tribute to the Abnaki. See also 1712, Second Abnaki War.

29/5/1677, The Treaty of Middle Plantation established peace between the Virginia colonists and the local Indians.

12/8/1676, King Philip, American Indian Chief, was killed.The Indian War in New England ended.

1659, Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, was bought from the American Indians by Thomas Macy for �30 and two beaver hats.

1641, The Algonquian-Dutch War, 1641-45. Algonquian Indians, angered by Dutch settlers 9on Staten Island taking theor lands, attacked the Europeans. A truce was arranged in 1642 but in 2/1643 thye Dutch enlisted the Mohawk as allies, armed them and attacked the Algonquians. The Dutch imposed a final peace settlement in 8/1645.

26/5/1637, The English massacred women and children of the Pequot Indians, in revenge for the murder of a slave trader, John Oldham, in July 1636. The Pequot men were away from their villages, tending the fields, so the English massacre was a very one-sided affair. Other Amerindian tribes were either enemies of the Pequot, or intimidated into not assisting them, and a guerrilla war by the Pequot finally ended when these other tribes captured and killed the Pequot leader, Sassacus.

13/12/1636, The Massachusetts Bay Colony organised three militia regiments to defend against the Pequot Indians.This was the founding of the United States National Guard.

22/3/1622, The Jamestown Massacre.Algonquin Indians killed 347 English settlers outside Jamestown, Virginia, a third of the colony�s population, and burnt the Henricus settlement.

21/3/1617, Algonquin Indian princess Pocohontas, born ca.1595,died.

5/4/1614. An Indian Princess, Pocahontas, was married to John Rolfe, a Jamestown settler, in an effort to bring peace to the settlement between the Powhatan Indians and the British.

1598, The Spanish led by Don Juan de Onate marched into what is now Arizona from Zapateca in Mexico, bringing thousands of sheep, cattle and goats, They subjugated the local Amerindians into acting as herders, looking after these animals.

1513, The Spanish landed in Florida under Ponce de Leon. They were unable to subjugate the local Amerindians, whom they termed cimarrones, or �wild ones�. They are now known as the Seminole.

1397, Physician and mapmaker Paolo Toscanelli was born in Florence, Italy. It was his incorrect map, showing Asia just 3,000 miles west of Europe, that persuaded Columbus to sail west from Europe.

2,000 BCE, Squashes, maize and beans were being cultivated across the south west of the present-dasy USA. Long distance trade routes were now established.

7,500 BCE, Earliest known cemetery in North America; the Sloan burial site.

11,500 BCE, Earliest date associated with the Clovis Culture of North America.

36,000 BCE, First humans reached North America,, across the Bering Strait.


Back to top