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The Chronology Challenge: earliest verifiable date of a historical event?

The Chronology Challenge: earliest verifiable date of a historical event?

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If we go backwards in time using verifiable dates, what is the earliest event which can be associated with a specific day without question?

I am most interested in answers that actually show the chain of dates, not just an empty assertion (professor so and so said May 5, 2050 BC, is the earliest date… ). For example, we know that the Inter gravissimas was issued on February 24, 1582, (old style) and that thereby October 4, 1582, was to be followed by October 15, 1582.

Therefore, given that in the Cronica Majora by Matthew of Paris it says that Harold Godwinson crowned himself king of England on the day that Edward was buried, which was "die Epiphaniae" (the day of the Epiphany, January 6th) in MLXVI Anno Domini. Since this was a date by the Roman calendar we can presume by the Gregorian calendar the event occurred exactly on the day 16 January 1066, 10 days later, assuming the Roman calendar used by Matthew was fully intact and continuous to 1582. Now, if you read any history book, such as the one cited by the Wikipedia, DeVries, K. (1999). "The Norwegian Invasion of England in 1066." (Woodbridge, UK: Boydell Press), it will say Harold became king on Jan 6, 1066, but we have just proved this is not true.

By this exercise we have shown that the dates you find in history books are often wrong. So, this brings us to the question again, going backwards from verifiable evidence what is the earliest event we can positively assign to a particular day. I have shown that we can assign the ascension of Harold to 16 January 1066, but I assume it is possible to go backwards much farther. The question is how much farther?

What is Meant by a Verifiable Date

By a verifiable date, I mean one where we can show absolutely the passage in time by days to the present day. For example, if the ascension of Harold occurred on January 16, 1066, and today is August 21, 2014, then we might think that the ascension of Harold took place 346461 days ago, or 948 years, 7 months, and 5 days ago. But is this really true? For example, if we consider that in 1066 the New Year occurred on April 1, not January 1st, then it is possible he ascended 949 years ago, not 948 years ago. An interesting question.

Aside from any calendar, how far back can we name the number of days to a particular event in history with confidence? Now, the person most expert at doing this was Joseph Scaliger, who invented the concept of the Julian Day for this exact purpose, and I am familar a little bit with some of the things he wrote, but since theoretically we have progressed in the last 200 years since Scaliger, I am thinking maybe someone has improved on his work. Hence the question.

I know this would not be to OP's liking (considering his expressed opinion of Chinese history), but other people might find this interesting.

The earliest event in Chinese history with a verifiable year is the Interregnum following the expulsion of King Li from the Zhou Kingdom. With the king exiled, his chief ministers ruled the realm in his stead. They declared the year, 841 B.C. , to be the first year (epoch) of the Joint Harmony era.

That event's significance is that it marked the beginning of consistent and preserved record keeping in China. The epoch changes with whenever the person on the throne changes - the Joint Harmony era terminated after 14 years, with the coronation of King Xuan becoming the new epoch. However, records were kept and added to year after year by every subseqeunt Chinese governement. Major events and government affairs were hence forth recorded by contemporary court historians in official annals - as opposed to being written down by a later historian.

Most of the early records have, unfortunately, been lost over time. The earliest annal in continuous survival is that of the State of Lu. Here is the year 722-721 B.C., from the State of Lu's official annals with rough translations:

隱公元年 春,王正月。 //Spring, January 三月,公及邾儀父盟于蔑。 //March, pact made with the Baron of Zou 夏,五月,鄭伯克段于鄢。 //Summer, May, Count of Zheng defeated his brother. 秋,七月,天王使宰咺來歸惠公仲子之賵。 //Autumn, July, emissary from the King 九月,及宋人盟于宿。 //September, pact made with the Duke of Song 冬,十有二月,祭伯來。 //Winter, December, the Count of Zhai visited. 公子益師卒。 //Lord Yi passed away. 二年 春,公會戎于潛。 //Spring, met with barbarians. 夏,五月,莒人入向。 //Summer, May, Ju's lord visited 無駭帥師入極。 //General Zhan attacked Ji. 秋,八月,庚辰,公及戎盟于唐。 //Autumn, August, day of gēngchén, pact with barbarians 九月,紀裂繻來逆女。 //September, bridal escort arrived from Ji 冬,十月,伯姬歸于紀。 //Winter, October, princess leaves for Ji 紀子帛莒子,盟于密。 //Barons of Zi and Ju allied 十有二月,乙卯,夫人子氏薨。 //December, day of yǐmǎo, the Duchess passed away. 鄭人伐衛。 //Zheng attacked Wey

Of special interest are the August and December entries (Lu's pact with the barbarians, and the death of Lu's duchess), which specified the dates. As far as I know, these are the earliest events in Chinese history that have verifiable exact dates.

Note that these records are made in the traditional Chinese calendar, but that can be of course be converted to Gregorian dates.

There are lots of documents in Sumerian and Akkadian with precise dates mentioned in the documents themselves. These go back well into the 3rd millennium BC. These can be converted without difficulty into Julian or Gregorian dates.

But of course, all this depends on what you mean by “events”. If you include astronomical events visible on earth (eclipses, novae etc) then these can be dated down to a fraction of a second by astronomical science; this will take you back millions of years.

The Early History of the NAACP: A Timeline

The NAACP is the oldest and most recognized civil rights organization in the United States. With more than 500,000 members, the NAACP works locally and nationally to “ensure political, educational, social, and economic equality for all, and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.”

Since its founding in 1909, the organization has been responsible for some of the greatest achievements in civil rights history.

Fotoresearch / Getty Images

A group of African American and White men and women establish the NAACP. Founders include W.E.B. Du Bois (1868–1963), Mary White Ovington (1865–1951), Ida B. Wells (1862–1931), and William English Walling (1877–1936). The organization is originally called the National Negro Committee.

Keystone / Staff / Getty Images

The Crisis, the official monthly news publication of the organization, is founded by W.E.B. Du Bois, who is also the publication's first editor. This magazine will go on to cover events and issues relevant to Black Americans throughout the United States. During the Harlem Renaissance, many writers publish short stories, novel excerpts, and poems in its pages.

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Following the debut of "The Birth of a Nation" in theaters across the United States, the NAACP publishes a pamphlet titled "Fighting a Vicious Film: Protest Against 'The Birth of a Nation.'" Du Bois reviews the film in The Crisis and condemns its glorification of racist propaganda. The NAACP calls for the movie to be banned throughout the country. Although protests are not successful in the South, the organization successfully stops the film from being shown in Chicago, Denver, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City.

Library of Congress / Getty Images

On July 28, the NAACP organizes the "Silent Parade," the largest civil rights protest in United States’ history. Beginning on 59th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City, an estimated 10,000 marchers move silently up the streets holding signs that read, "Mr. President, why not make America safe for democracy?” and "Thou Shall Not Kill." The goal of the protest is to raise awareness about lynching, Jim Crow laws, and violent attacks against Black Americans.

Library of Congress / Getty Images

The NAACP publishes the pamphlet "Thirty Years of Lynching in the United States: 1898–1918." The report is used to appeal to lawmakers to end the social, political, and economic terrorism associated with lynching.

From May to October 1919, a number of race riots erupt in cities throughout the United States. In response, James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938), a prominent leader in the NAACP, organizes peaceful protests.


Dickens and Hablot Browne travel to Yorkshire to see boarding schools. This is research for Nicholas Nickleby.

Dickens’s daughter, Mary, is born.

Publication of Nicholas Nickleby begins.

The world’s first commercial electric telegraph line comes into operation alongside the Great Western Railway line from London Paddington station to West Drayton.

His daughter, Kate, is born on October 29, 1839.

Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert of of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha on February 10, 1840.

Frederick de Moleyns of England is granted the first patent for an incandescent lamp. The design uses platinum wires contained within a vacuum bulb.

Barnaby Rudge is published. Charles and Catherine tour Scotland. Their son, Walter, is born.

Sketch of Charles Dickens in 1842 (Small image on the bottom left is his sister, Fanny)

Charles and Catherine travel to America. Late in 1842 or early in the next year Dickens begins work on Martin Chuzzlewit.

In September of 1843 Dickens and Clarkson Stanfield visit the Field Lane Ragged School.

A Christmas Carol is published on December 19, 1843.

His son Francis Jeffrey (Frank) is born on January 15, 1844.

Dickens and family travel to Italy. Dickens treats Madame de la Rue with mesmerism.

The Corn Laws are repealed.

Dickens and his family travel to Switzerland. Publication of Dombey and Son begins.

Sydney Smith Haldimand Dickens

Fanny Dickens around 1842

His son, Henry Fielding Dickens, is born. The publication of David Copperfield begins.

Catherine Dickens suffers a nervous collapse. John Dickens, the father of Charles Dickens, dies. Dora Dickens dies when she is only eight months old. What Shall we have for Dinner?, a cookbook by Catherine Dickens is published.

The publication of Bleak House begins. His son, Edward or “Plorn”, is born.

Dickens gives his first public reading of one of his works.

Hard Times as serialized in Household Words

Dickens has a disappointing reunion with Maria Winter (Maria Beadnell). Publication of Little Dorrit begins.

Dickens works with Wilkie Collins on The Frozen Deep. Dickens purchases Gad’s Hill Place.

Hans Christian Anderson is entertained at Gad’s Hill Place. Dickens meets Ellen Ternan.

Title page of first edition of Great Expectations

Publication of Great Expectations begins in All the Year Round. His daughter, Katie, marries. Ten days later his brother, Alfred, dies. Dickens burns his personal papers.

The American civil war begins. Also,Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, dies.

Elizabeth Dickens, the mother of Charles Dickens

Dickens’ mother, Elizabeth, dies. Dickens begins work on Our Mutual Friend.

His son, Walter, dies in India. The first installment of Our Mutual Friend is printed.

The American civil war ends.

The Staplehurst railway accident as depicted in the Illustrated London News

On June 9, 1865 Dickens is involved in the Staplehurst railway accident. Ellen Ternan and her mother were also on the train with him that day.

“Charles Dickens as he appears when reading.” Illustration in Harper’s Weekly, December 1867.

Dickens tours America for the second time.

He gives his first Murder of Nancy reading.

Dickens is ordered by doctors to discontinue readings. Dickens begins writing The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Dickens gives his final public reading. Publication of The Mystery of Edwin Drood begins. Charles Dickens dies at Gad’s Hill Place on June 9, 1870.

Genocide Timeline

This timeline notes the major conceptual and legal advances in the development of " genocide ." It does not attempt to detail all cases which might be considered as genocides. Rather, the timeline focuses on how the term has become a part of the political, legal, and ethical vocabulary of responding to widespread threats of violence against groups.

1900: Raphael Lemkin

Raphael Lemkin, who would later coin the word genocide , was born into a Polish Jewish family in 1900. His memoirs detail early exposure to the history of Ottoman attacks against Armenians (which most scholars believe constitute genocide), antisemitic pogroms, and other histories of group-targeted violence as key to forming his beliefs about the need for legal protection of groups.

1933: Rise of Adolf Hitler

With the appointment of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor on January 30, 1933, the Nazi Party took control of Germany. In October, German delegates walked out of disarmament talks in Geneva and Nazi Germany withdrew from the League of Nations. In October, at an international legal conference in Madrid, Raphael Lemkin (who later coined the word genocide ) proposed legal measures to protect groups. His proposal did not receive support.

1939: World War II

World War II began on September 1, 1939. Germany invaded Poland, triggering a treaty-mandated Anglo-French declaration of war on Germany. On September 17, 1939, the Soviet army occupied the eastern half of Poland. Lemkin fled Poland, escaping across the Soviet Union and eventually arriving in the United States.

1941: A Crime Without a Name

On June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union. As the German forces advanced further east, SS, police, and military personnel carried out mass shootings of Jewish men, women, and children, as well as other perceived enemies. The British became aware of these atrocities through intercepted radio communications. They moved British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to state in August 1941: “We are in the presence of a crime without a name.”

1944: Genocide Coined

Nazi leadership embarked on a variety of population policies aimed at restructuring the ethnic composition of Europe by force, using mass murder as a tool. Included among these policies and involving mass murder were the attempt to murder all European Jews, which we now refer to as the Holocaust the attempt to murder most of the Roma (Gypsy) population of Europe and the attempt to physically liquidate the leadership classes of Poland and the former Soviet Union. Also included in these policies were numerous smaller scale resettlement policies involving the use of brutal force and murder that we now refer to as a form of ethnic cleansing. In 1944, Raphael Lemkin, who had moved to Washington, DC, and worked with the US War Department, coined the word genocide in his text Axis Rule in Occupied Europe . This text documented patterns of destruction and occupation throughout Nazi-held territories.

19451946: International Military Tribunal

Between November 20, 1945, and October 1, 1946, the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg tried 22 major Nazi German leaders on charges of crimes against peace, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and conspiracy to commit each of these crimes. It was the first time that international tribunals were used as a post-war mechanism for bringing national leaders to justice. The word genocide was included in the indictment, but as a descriptive term, not as a legal term.

19471948: Creating an International Convention on Genocide

Raphael Lemkin was a critical force for bringing genocide before the nascent United Nations (UN), where delegates from around the world debated the terms of an international law on genocide. On December 9, 1948, the final text of t he United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide was adopted unanimously. It entered into force on January 12, 1951, after more than 20 countries from around the world ratified it.

19501987: Cold War

Massive crimes against civilian populations were all too common in the years after World War II and throughout the Cold War. Whether these situations constituted genocide was scarcely considered by the countries that had undertaken to prevent and punish that crime by joining the Genocide Convention.

1988: The United States Signs the Genocide Convention

On November 4, 1988, US President Ronald Reagan signed the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. The Convention had strong supporters, but also faced ardent opponents, who argued it would infringe on US national sovereignty. One of the Convention’s strongest advocates, Senator William Proxmire from Wisconsin, delivered more than 3,000 speeches advocating the Convention in Congress from 1968–1987.

19911995: Wars of the Former Yugoslavia

The wars of the former Yugoslavia were marked by massive war crimes and crimes against humanity. The conflict in Bosnia (1992 –19 95) brought some of the harshest fighting and worst massacres to Europe since World War II. In one small town, Srebrenica, as many as 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were murdered by Serbian forces.

1993: Resolution 827

In response to the atrocities occurring in Bosnia, the United Nations Security Council issued resolution 827, establishing the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. It was the first international criminal tribunal since Nuremberg. Crimes the ICTY could prosecute and try were: grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, violations of the laws or customs of war, genocide, and crimes against humanity. Its jurisdiction was limited to crimes committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia.

1994: Genocide in Rwanda

From April until mid-July, between 500,000 and one million Rwandans, predominantly Tutsis, were killed in Rwanda. It was killing on a devastating scale and scope, and at a devastating speed. In October, the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the ICTY to include a separate but linked tribunal for Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), located in Arusha, Tanzania.

1998: First Conviction for Genocide

On September 2, 1998, the ICTR issued the world’s first conviction for genocide in an international tribunal when Jean-Paul Akayesu was judged guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity for acts he engaged in and oversaw as mayor of the Rwandan town of Taba.

Through an international treaty ratified on July 17, 1998, the International Criminal Court (ICC) was permanently established to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The treaty reconfirmed the definition of genocide found in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. It also expanded the definition of crimes against humanity and prohibits these crimes during times of war or peace.

While the ICTY and ICTR, other ad hoc tribunals, and the ICC have helped establish legal precedents and can investigate crimes within their jurisdictions, punishment of genocide remains a difficult task. Even more difficult is the continuing challenge to prevent genocide.

2004: Genocide in Darfur

For the first time in US government history, an ongoing crisis was referred to as a genocide. On September 9, 2004, Secretary of State Colin Powell testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He stated:

"We concluded—I concluded—that genocide has been committed in Darfur and that the Government of Sudan and the Janjaweed bear responsibility—and that genocide may still be occurring."

March 17, 2016: Genocide in Iraq and Syria

Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) had committed genocide against Yezidi, Christian, and Shia Muslim populations in areas under its control across Syria and Iraq. This was only the second time that the US Government made a finding of genocide. Secretary Kerry also stated that IS committed "crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups and in some cases also against Sunni Muslims, Kurds, and other minorities."

The National Rifle Association was founded by a pair of Union soldiers in 1871, not as a political lobby but in an effort to promote the shooting of rifles. The organization would grow to become the face of America's pro-gun lobby in the 20th century.

The first major effort to eliminate private ownership of firearms came with the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA). A direct response to the rise of gangster violence in general and the St. Valentine’s Day massacre in particular, the NFA sought to circumvent the Second Amendment by controlling firearms through a tax excise—$200 for each gun sale. The NFA targeted fully automatic weapons, short-barreled shotguns and rifles, pen and cane guns, and other firearms defined as “gangster weapons.”

1848 Gold Rush

The Gold Rush of 1848 is often credited as the single largest event that brought millions of citizens to the western stretches of America. Before this, much of the west coast was still seen as barbaric lands unfit for civilized eastern citizens. But with the opportunity of so called “free wealth”, millions flocked from all over the world to get a piece of their own American dream. San Francisco was heavily affected by this mining craze and in 1849 its population boomed from 1,000 to 25,000. Also, as a result of this boom, there was an increased presence of Chinese workers who were often the ire of many ‘true’ Anglo Saxon Americans.

Fun Fact: Levi Strauss & Co. clothing, Ghirardelli chocolate, and Wells Fargo bank were all founded in the wake of the gold rush.

What is the earliest recorded date that we can determine accurately?

I know it can be hard to establish actual dates relative to our own system because of the difficulty comparing modern dating to ancient, but what is the earliest year we can be certain was recorded accurately?

This is a really bizarre question, but I like it.

Part of the problem with answering it is that everything eventually blurs into relativistic time, until dates are totally gone forever. Eventually history turns into, "well, we know this thing happened before this other thing, and people say it was a couple harvests prior".

There are a lot of really interesting things that have gone into the development of astronomy and time-keeping and there was no uniformity to how things were measured relative to other people.

We just know the order that things happened, mostly, and then we use modern tools to set it up on a timeline.

"Earliest" thing I know of is Egyptian hieroglyphs which were established to talk about 3200 BC. (I am not 100% on this, this is just how I understand it)

The only really ancient year I cling to personally is the first Olympic games in 776.

The biggest problem with Egyptian dates is that they are all relative, each new king dated according to their coronation: Month x Day x of Year 6 of Ramesses.

It is a huge mess when counting backwards as we don't always know what year a succession occurred so we could have a Year 10 of King A and Year 3 of King B but we don't know how many years were in between. Then you get large swaths of Egyptian history where multiple kings rules the country, of course each with their own dates and we're not counting instances where kings are pretty much removed from the record, damnatio memoriae.

Dates regularly move up and down, there's a discussion going on in the email lists now about moving the 2nd Intermediate Period around by a good few years. There is potential for almost absolute dates from astrological records but there are issues in identifying which stellar body the Egyptians are talking about. One of the generally accepted ones is the rising of Sirius but even with such dates you need to work out where the sighting was made which will not always be the location of the inscription, you also need to take into account artistic license.

Long short of it, Egyptian chronologies vary in each academic article and change practically every year.

Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous nations tell their own stories about the origins of the world and their place in it all claim their ancestry dates to Time Immemorial. At the same time, there is considerable archeological debate about when humans first came to North America, though broad assumptions suggest waves of migration from northeastern Asia, by both land bridge and boat, between 30,000 and 13,500 years ago. Note: This timeline presents key events and developments in Indigenous history in what is now Canada, from Time Immemorial to present. While no timeline can be exhaustive in its coverage, it provides a broad chronological overview to support educators and students.

Evidence of Human Occupation in North America

Irrefutable archeological evidence of human occupation in the northern half of North America, including in the Tanana River Valley (Alaska), Haida Gwaii (British Columbia), Vermilion Lakes (Alberta), and Debert (Nova Scotia).

Haudenosaunee Confederacy Try Resolving Disputes in Lower Great Lakes Region

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy (Iroquois League), organized by Dekanahwideh (the Peacemaker) and Hiawatha, tries to provide a peaceful and equitable means to resolve disputes among member nations in the lower Great Lakes region.

“Doctrine of Discovery” is Decreed

The papal bull Inter Caetera — the “Doctrine of Discovery” — is decreed a year after Christopher Columbus’ first voyage to America. Made without consulting Indigenous populations nor with any recognition of their rights, it is the means by which Europeans claim legal title to the “new world.”

Indigenous Population Ranges From 200,000 to 500,000

Estimates for the Indigenous population range from 200,000 to 500,000 people, though some suggest it was as high as 2.5 million, with between 300 and 450 languages spoken.

Contact between European fisherman and Indigenous Peoples on Atlantic Coast Begins

Continual contact between European fishermen and Indigenous peoples on the Atlantic coast begins.

Pope's Proclamation on Indigenous People

Pope Paul III proclaimed that Indigenous people "are truly human" and so should not be enslaved, and that they should receive the Roman Catholic faith. (See also Enslavement of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.)

Trade Alliances Between Indigenous Peoples and Europeans Form

Indigenous technology and knowledge of hunting, trapping, guiding, food, and disease prove crucial to the survival of Europeans and early colonial economy and society, particularly in the supply of beaver pelts and other furs. The establishment of alliances gives Indigenous peoples access to European weaponry and other goods.

Disease Devastates Indigenous Populations

Tuberculosis, smallpox, and measles spread, intentionally or inadvertently, across North America, devastating Indigenous populations.

Champlain Explores Haudenosaunee Country

Samuel de Champlain explored Haudenosaunee country, entering the Rivière des Iroquois (Richelieu), paddling upriver and reaching a great lake that would later bear his name.

Champlain Battles the Haudenosaunee

Champlain and his First Nations allies battled the Haudenosaunee on Lake Champlain, beginning 150 years of war between Iroquois and French. Champlain's musket kills three and astonishes the enemy.

Covenant Chain Agreements Established

The Two-Row Wampum (Kaswentha) establishes the Covenant Chain, a series of agreements between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and European representatives. They agree to work toward peace as well as economic, political, and cultural sovereignty gift exchanges honour promises and renew alliances.

European Missionaries Arrive in North America

The first European missionaries (Récollets and later Jesuits) arrive to convert Indigenous populations to Catholicism.

Champlain's Third Battle with the Haudenosaunee

Champlain and his allies arrived at a Haudenosaunee fort on Lake Onanadaga, just north of present-day Syracuse. The Haudenosaunee routed the invaders, wounding Champlain with two arrows.

Samuel de Champlain was wounded twice in the leg by arrows when he and his Huron-Wendat allies stumbled upon an Haudenosaunee fort.

Jesuit missionaries Jean de Brébeuf and Charles Lalemant were executed by the Haudenosaunee.

Wendake Defeated by Haudenosaunee

Weakened by disease and cultural interference by the French, the Huron-Wendat homeland known as Wendake was destroyed by the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois). Between 1649 and 1650, about 500 Huron-Wendat left Georgian Bay to seek refuge close to the French, in the Quebec City region. Many were either killed or adopted into Haudenosaunee nations. However, the Huron-Wendat First Nation still remains — in Wendake, Quebec.

Dollard and the Haudenosaunee

Adam Dollard des Ormeaux, with 16 Frenchmen and 44 Huron-Wendats and Algonquins, held a Haudenosaunee war party at bay for days before capitulating all the French defenders were killed.

Hudson’s Bay Company is Established

The Hudson’s Bay Company is established, forming a monopoly and increasing the volume of goods in the fur trade. For centuries to come, blankets are widely traded, including the iconic HBC Point Blanket, first made in 1779 and still available today. Seen by some as an item of cultural importance, it reminds others of the forces of colonialism.

Silver Covenant Chain Treaty

This wampum treaty between Britain and the Haudenosaunee represented an open and honest communication between two peoples. Subsequent wampum treaties reinforce this idea, as well as the idea of mutual interest and peace. Such wampum treaties oblige the parties to help each other, in war if necessary, should they be asked.

Lachine was attacked by 1,500 Haudenosaunee in the fiercest assault in the history of the colony 24 French colonists were killed, and 42 of 90 prisoners never returned.

Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Peace Treaty

The Haudenosaunee concluded a peace treaty with the English and the tribes of the Great Lakes.

Three dozen Indigenous groups and the French colonial government sign the Great Peace of Montréal, forging peaceful relations that end nearly a century of war between the Haudenosaunee and the French (and their Indigenous allies).

The Seven Years’ War is the first global war, fought in Europe, India, America, and at sea. In North America, Britain and France (aided by Indigenous allies) struggled for supremacy. With the Treaty of Paris, France formally cedes Canada to the British.

A treaty was concluded between the Huron-Wendat and the British. The Huron-Wendat agreed to put down their arms. In return they would receive safe passage, free exercise of religion, local government and justice. The treaty was recognized in 1990 by the Supreme Court.

The terms of the Treaty of Oswegatchie, confirmed at Kahnawake, were for the Haudenosaunee to remain neutral. In return they would not be deprived of their lands or treated as enemies by the British.

Pontiac’s Resistance provides a strong show of Indigenous unity. Under the leadership of Ottawa chief Obwandiyag (Pontiac), an Indigenous alliance tries to resist European occupation by ridding the lower Great Lakes region of English settlers and soldiers.

King George III's Royal Proclamation

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 lays down the basis for how colonial administration would interact with First Nations peoples in the centuries that followed. The Proclamation guarantees certain rights and protections for First Nations peoples, and establishes the process by which the government could acquire their lands. It also provides guidelines for negotiating treaties on a nation-to-nation basis.

Ottawa chief Pontiac signed a treaty with the British ending the uprising he initiated three years earlier. The treaty helped to establish Indigenous rights for the future.

Pontiac was murdered at the site of present-day St Louis, Missouri.

Brant Tries to Forge Alliance

Joseph Brant spoke to an Indigenous council at Lower Sandusky, Ohio, attended by Shawnees, Cherokees and others to unite them with the Six Nations and to encourage them to speak with "the United Voice of us all."

The Haldimand Proclamation grants land, negotiated nine years earlier by Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant), to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy in return for helping Britain during the American Revolution.

Haida Chief Koyah Organizes First Attacks on the British

Haida chief Koyah organizes the first of many attacks on the British, who had begun coastal explorations in an emergent west coast fur trade.

William Henry Harrison, governor of the Indiana Territory, attacked Tecumseh's Western Confederacy at the Shawnee village of Prophetstown, Indiana. Angered, Tecumseh entered an alliance with Britain as a means to counter American expansion into their lands.

The War of 1812 sees tens of thousands of Indigenous people fight for their land, independence, and culture, as allies of either Great Britain or the United States. In British North America, the Western Confederacy, led by Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa, plays a crucial role in protecting Upper and Lower Canada from American invasion. By the end of hostilities, almost 10,000 Indigenous people had died from wounds or disease. The Treaty of Ghent, which is supposed to return lands and “all possessions, rights and privileges” to Indigenous peoples affected by the war, is ignored.

Peace talks between Great Britain and the United States took place in Belgium in August and ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent on Christmas Eve. The British insisted the treaty be ratified by both governments before it took effect because the Americans refused to ratify three previous treaties.

The War of 1812 ends with the peace Treaty of Ghent. However, the First Nations allies of the British and Canadian cause suffered they lost warriors (including the great Tecumseh), lost hope of halting American expansion in the west, and their contributions were quickly forgotten by their allies.

Shawnadithit was captured by English furriers in 1823, and her drawings and descriptions of the Beothuk are valuable records of her people. Like so many Beothuk, she died of tuberculosis.

Mohawk Institute Begins to Accept Boarders

Run by the Anglican Church, the Mohawk Institute in Brantford, Upper Canada [Ontario], becomes the first school in Canada’s residential school system. At first, the school only admits boys. In 1834, girls are admitted.

An American Fur Company boat arrived at Fort Union, setting off a smallpox epidemic across the praries, killing an estimated three-quarters of the Blackfoot, Blood, Peigan, Sarcee and Assiniboine peoples of the prairies.

The Bagot Commission (1842-1844) report is presented to the Legislative Assembly. It proposes that separating Indigenous children from their parents is the best way to assimilate them into Euro-Canadian culture. The commission also recommends that the Mohawk Institute be considered a model for other industrial schools.

The inquiry into the attack at Mica Bay, Quebec began with the testimony of agent John Bonner of the Quebec Mining Company. The Mica Bay Incident occurred in November 1849 when First Nations and Métis people, led by white businessman Allan Macdonell, attacked the company's mining installations in a dispute over mining rights in the area.

The Robinson-Superior and Robinson-Huron treaties are signed in what is now Ontario, as are the Douglas treaties in what is now British Columbia. The controversial agreements allow for the exploitation of natural resources on vast swaths of land in return for annual cash payments, and make evident the differing understandings of land ownership and relationship-building through treaties.

The Gradual Civilization Act

The Gradual Civilization Act requires male Status Indians and Métis over the age of 21 to read, write and speak either English or French, and to choose a government-approved surname. It awards 50 acres of land to any “sufficiently advanced” Indigenous male, and in return removes any tribal affiliation or treaty rights.

In 1861, a pack-train trail was established from the Bella Coola Valley through Tsilhqot'in territory to the developing gold mine centres to the east, and work was begun on a wagon road from Bute Inlet to the interior. Resisting these intrusions, a small group of Tsilhqot'in killed several workers on this road in what is known as the Chilcotin War of 1864. Six Tsilhqot'in were eventually tried and executed for these killings. On 26 March 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau exonerated the Tsilhqot'in chiefs of any wrongdoing, and on 2 November 2018, Trudeau formally apologized.

Under the Constitution Act (British North America Act), the federal government takes authority over First Nations and land reserved for First Nations (see Reserves). This authority would later extend to education of Status Indians.

Political Organization and Activism

With 120 men,Louis Riel occupied Upper Fort Garry in the Red River Colony to block the transfer of Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) to Canada. Known as the Red River Resistance, the Métis — led by Riel — and First Nations allies defended the Red River Colony from White settlers and government encroachment on their lands. Louis Riel was hanged for treason, and Cree chiefs Mistahimaskwa (Big Bear) and Pitikwahanapiwiyin (Poundmaker) were imprisoned. Promises to protect the Métis were still unfulfilled more than a decade later, sparking the Northwest Resistance in 1885. In 2019, Poundmaker was exonerated by the federal government.

The 11 Numbered Treaties are signed by the Canadian government and Indigenous nations. These treaties, still controversial and contested today, make vast areas of traditional Indigenous territory available for white settlement and development in exchange for a system of reserves (treaty lands), cash payments, access to agricultural tools, and hunting and fishing rights. Elders note that the initial spirit and intent of the treaties have been disregarded.

The first post-Confederation treaty was signed at Lower Fort Garry, Man. The first of many “Numbered Treaties,” Treaty 1 was signed between the Crown and the Ojibwe and Swampy Cree Nations. The treaty included the provision of livestock, agricultural equipment and the establishment of schools in exchange for ceding large tracts of Indigenous hunting grounds.

Treaty 2 was concluded with Chippewa of Manitoba, who ceded land from the mouth of Winnipeg River to the northern shores of Lake Manitoba across the Assiniboine River to the United States frontier.

A gang of wolf hunters looking for a stolen horse killed 20 Assiniboine camped in the Cypress Hills. Some of the attackers were tried but none convicted. The event sped up the arrival of police.

Treaty 3 was signed by the Saulteaux (Chippewa) of northwestern Ontario and of Manitoba. For the surrender of a tract comprising about 55,000 sq. miles, the Dominion Government reserved not more than one square mile for each family of five and agreed to pay $12 per head and an annuity of $5 per head.

Treaty 4 was signed at Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan, with Cree, Saulteaux (Chippewa) and other First Nations.

Treaty 5 was concluded at Lake Winnipeg ceding an area of approximately 100,000 sq. miles inhabited by Chippewa and Swampy Cree (Maskegon) of Manitoba and Ontario.

The Indian Act is introduced. The Act aims to eradicate First Nations culture in favour of assimilation into Euro-Canadian society.

Treaty 6 was signed at Carlton and at Fort Pitt with the Plains Cree, Woodland Cree and Assiniboine. It ceded an area of 120,000 sq. miles of the plains of Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Plains Indigenous Negotiations

Canadian government officials met with Crowfoot and his fellow chiefs to discuss the future of Indigenous peoples on the Plains. After some disagreements among the Indigenous groups, Red Crow said he would sign a treaty if Crowfoot would. Crowfoot agreed.

Treaty 7 was signed at Blackfoot Crossing in southern Alberta by the Siksika, Kainai, Piikani, Tsuut'ina and Stoney. Canadian officials understood that by the treaty First Nations surrendered some 35,000 sq miles of land to the Crown in return for reserves, payments and annuities.

Amendment to the Indian Act (1880)

An amendment to the Indian Act formally disenfranchises and disempowers Indigenous women by declaring they “cease to be an Indian in any respect” if they marry “any other than an Indian, or a non-treaty Indian.”

Residential Schools Authorized

Based on the recommendations of the Davin Report, Sir John A. Macdonald authorizes the creation of the residential school system, designed to isolate Indigenous children from their families and cut all ties to their culture.

Potlatch and Tamanawas Banned

The federal government outlaws the potlatch ceremony and Tamanawas winter dances of Indigenous peoples in British Columbia, bowing to pressure from missionaries.

Creation of Residential Schools

Amendments to the Indian Act of 1876 provide for the creation of residential schools, funded and operated by the Government of Canada and Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian and United churches.

The Nile Voyageurs, Canada's first official participants in an overseas war, set sail for Egypt, comprising a force of 386 lumbermen, Caughnawaga men and Ottawa boatmen under the command of F.C. Denison.

Wandering Spirit and other Cree in Chief Big Bear's band killed nine white men at Frog Lake, Sask, during the North-West Resistance.

Big Bear (Mistahimaskwa) surrendered at Fort Carlton. Though always counselling peace, he was sentenced to three years in prison.

The great Cree chief Crowfoot died at Blackfoot Crossing. He was a perceptive, farseeing and diplomatic leader who became disillusioned with the Canadian government.

Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux warrior and chief Tatanka Iyotake, also known as Sitting Bull, died at Standing Rock, South Dakota. Sitting Bull was a leader in indigenous resistance against American westward expansion. He and his people sought refuge in Canada, but left when the Canadian government refused to establish a reserve for them. Sitting Bull was killed during a gunfight with American authorities trying to execute a warrant for his arrest.

Growing Number of Residential Schools

The number of schools across Canada quickly climbs to over forty. Each school was provided with an allowance per student, which led to overcrowding and an increase in illnesses within the institutions.

Cree, Beaver, Chipewyan and Slavey First Nations ceded territory south and west of Great Slave Lake in northern Alberta to the federal government in Treaty 8.

Chief Capilano Meets King Edward VII

Chief Joe Capilano of the Squamish Nation went to London to meet King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. The chief, accompanied by other Indigenous representatives, presented a petition to the king concerning Indigenous land rights.

Health at Residential Schools

After visiting 35 residential schools, Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce, chief medical officer for Canada’s Department of the Interior and Indian Affairs (1904–21), reveals that Indigenous children are dying at alarming rates – with the mortality rate of enrolled students as high as 25 per cent. This number climbs to 69 per cent after students leave school.

Between 4,000 and 6,000 Indigenous people serve in the Canadian military during the First World War. They are denied veterans’ benefits on their return, despite many winning military awards, like Francis Pegahmagabow, whose medals are pictured above.

Political Organization and Activism

Fred Loft Forms the League of Indians

The League of Indians forms to advocate for improved living conditions and the protection of Indigenous rights and practices. Though its effectiveness is weakened by government harassment, police surveillance, and disunity among Indigenous groups, it forms the basis for Indigenous political organizing in the future.

Indian Act Amendment Allows for Forced Enfranchisement of Status Indians

The Indian Act is amended to allow for the forced enfranchisement of First Nations whom the government thought should be removed from band lists. Enfranchisement was the most common of the legal processes by which First Nations peoples lost their Indian Status under the Indian Act.

Residential Schools Become Mandatory

Deputy Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, Duncan Campbell Scott, makes attendance at residential school mandatory for every First Nations child between 7 and 16 years of age. This policy was also inconsistently applied to Métis and Inuit children.

Indigenous People Cede Mackenzie

Slave, Dogrib, Hare, Loucheux and other bands ceded the Mackenzie River region of the Northwest Territories to the federal government.

The Story of a National Crime Published

Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce publishes The Story of a National Crime, exposing the Canadian government’s suppression of information on the health of Indigenous peoples. Bryce argues that Duncan Campbell Scott and the ministry of Indian Affairs neglected Indigenous health needs and notes a “criminal disregard for the treaty pledges.”

Political Organization and Activism

Cayuga Chief Deskaheh Sails to Geneva

Cayuga Chief Deskaheh (Levi General) campaigns to have the League of Nations recognize the Six Nations of Grand River as a sovereign nation.

Birth of Kenojuak Ashevak

Inuk artist Kenojuak Ashevak, who is perhaps the best-known Inuk artist because of her famous print The Enchanted Owl, was born at Ikirasaq camp, South Baffin Island, NWT.

Complaints About Inuit Names Begin

Complaints about Inuit not bearing traditional Christian names arise, beginning decades of government labelling strategies to ease the recording of census information and entrench federal authority in the North. Among the failed initiatives are metal discs with ID numbers, and Project Surname.

Residential School Network Expands

More than 80 institutions are in operation across Canada — the most at any one time — with an enrolment of over 17,000.

Inuit Education Research Conducted by Federal Government

For the first time, the Canadian government conducts research into Inuit education. J. Lorne Turner, Director of Lands, Northwest Territories and Yukon Branch, Department of the Interior urges the government to provide formal education to Inuit children.

Between 5,000 and 8,000 Indigenous soldiers fight for Canada in the Second World War, serving in all major battles and campaigns. Most do not receive the same support or compensation as other veterans upon returning home.

Sled dogs are killed as part of the Sled Dog Slaughter, a government assimilationist initiative to force the Inuit of Northern Québec to deny their nomadic lifestyle and move them away from their traditional lands.

Indian Act Amendment Gives Elected Band Councils More Powers

Indigenous lobbying leads to Indian Act amendments that give elected band councils more powers, award women the right to vote in band elections, and lift the ban on the potlatch and sun dances. Some soldiers who fought alongside Indigenous men and women support the change.

In the High Arctic Relocation, the federal government forcefully moves 87 Inuit from Inukjuak in northern Québec to Ellesmere and Cornwallis Islands. The relocation is part of the government’s effort to secure northern territorial sovereignty during the Cold War. Adequate support for the communities does not follow.

Elsie Marie Knott Becomes First Female Chief of a First Nation

Elsie Marie Knott becomes the first female chief of a First Nation in Canada when she is elected to lead the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) Curve Lake First Nation near Peterborough, Ontario. She holds the position for 16 years.

Royal Totem Presented to Queen Mother

Kwakwaka'wakw Chief Mungo Martin ( N ak a'p a nk a m ) presented the Royal Totem to Her Majesty the Queen Mother in London, who accepted on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, to mark the centennial of the creation of the colony of British Columbia.

As residential schools closed, thousands of Indigenous children were taken from their families by provincial and federal social workers and placed in foster or adoption homes. Often, these homes were non-Indigenous. Some children were even placed outside of Canada. (See also Sixties Scoop.)

Right to Vote for Status Indians

Status Indians receive the right to vote in federal elections, no longer losing their status or treaty rights in the process. (See also Indigenous Suffrage in Canada.)

Coroner’s Inquest Into Charlie Wenjack’s Death

A coroner’s inquest into Chanie Wenjack’s death is held. The all-White jury finds that residential schools cause tremendous emotional and psychological problems. They recommend that “A study be made of the present Indian education & philosophy. Is it right?”

Political Organization and Activism

Voice of Alberta Native Women's Society Founded

The Voice of Alberta Native Women's Society (VANWS) was founded by Indigenous activists, including Métis war veteran Bertha Clark Jones, to advocate on behalf of Status and Non-Status women in the years before Bill C-31 made it possible for those who had lost their status in marriage to regain it. VANWS would evolve into the Native Women's Association of Canada, which has been active since 1974.

A federal White Paper on Indian Affairs proposes abolishing the Indian Act, Indian status, and reserves, and transferring responsibility for Indigenous affairs to the provinces. In response, Cree chief Harold Cardinal writes the Red Paper, calling for recognition of Indigenous peoples as “Citizens Plus.” The government later withdraws the proposal after considerable opposition from Indigenous organizations.

Authority for Residential Schools Transferred to Government

The Canadian government takes over responsibility for the remaining residential schools from the churches.

Inuit Territory Discussions Begin

Eastern Arctic Inuit of the Northwest Territories begin discussions about forming an Inuit territory.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is Formed

The Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, renamed Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami in 2001, is formed as a national organization advocating for self- government, social, economic, environmental, health, and political welfare of Inuit in Canada, and preservation of language and history.

Supreme Court Acknowledges Indigenous Land Titles

The Supreme Court of Canada agrees that Indigenous peoples held title to land before European colonization, that this title existed in law, and that it continues unless specifically extinguished. Named for Nisga’a chief Frank Calder, the Calder Case forces the government to adopt new policies to negotiate land claims with Indigenous peoples not covered by treaties.

The federal government established a committee to negotiate land claims in the Yukon.

The first First Nations reserve in the Northwest Territories was created at Hay River.

NWT Court Allows Land Claim

The Northwest Territories Supreme Court allowed the Indian Brotherhood of the NWT to file a land claim for one-third of the NWT.

Political Organization and Activism

Native Women's Association of Canada Founded

The Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) was founded by Indigenous women and their allies, including non-Indigenous feminists active in the women’s movement. Members concerned themselves with the preservation and continuation of Indigenous culture on a local level, while focusing nationally on addressing the inequity in status conditions for women under the Indian Act. NWAC's first president was Métis war veteran and activist Bertha Clark Jones.

Ralph Steinhauer Appointed Lieutenant-Governor

Ralph Steinhauer was appointed lieutenant-governor of Alberta, the first Indigenous person to hold vice-regal office in Canada.

Greenpeace Anti-Sealing Campaign

An anti-sealing campaign led by Greenpeace attacks Inuit hunting practices, economically devastating Inuit communities for years. Greenpeace publicly expresses regret in 2014.

First Inuit to Enter Parliament

Willie Adams was appointed to the Senate for the Northwest Territories, the first Inuit person to hold a seat in Parliament.

The Indian Brotherhood of the Northwest Territories became the Dene Nation during the 8th Dene National Assembly held in Fort Norman, NT.

28 Residential Schools Remain

Thousands of Indigenous students are enrolled at the 28 residential schools that were running in Canada at the time.

Political Organization and Activism

Standoffs Occur On Disputed Lands

Several politically charged standoffs occur on disputed lands. More than 800 people are arrested during the “War in the Woods” when Tla-o-qui-aht and environmentalists fight to protect ancient forests from loggers in Clayoquot Sound, British Columbia. The Oka Crisis sees Mohawk activists clash with Québec provincial police for 78 days. Tensions over the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation occupation at Ipperwash Provincial Park contribute to protestor Dudley George’s death at the hands of an Ontario Provincial Police officer.

Political Organization and Activism

"Constitution Express" Begins

Activists travel by train from Vancouver to Ottawa aboard the “Constitution Express” to raise awareness about the lack of recognition of Indigenous rights in the proposed Canadian constitution.

Indigenous Peoples Political Organization and Activism

Assembly of First Nations is Formed

The Assembly of First Nations is formed out of the National Indian Brotherhood to promote the interests of First Nations in the realm of self-government , respect for treaty rights , education , health , land , and resources.

Political Organization and Activism

Canadian Constitution is Patriated

The Canadian Constitution is patriated, and thanks to the advocacy of Indigenous peoples, Section 35 recognizes and affirms Aboriginal title and treaty rights. Later, Section 37 is amended, obligating the federal and provincial governments to consult with Indigenous peoples on outstanding issues. (See also Duty to Consult.)

Death of Pitseolak Ashoona

Pitseolak Ashoona, Inuk graphic artist known for her lively prints showing "the things we did long ago," died at Cape Dorset, NWT (now Nunavut).

Inuvialuit Final Agreement Signed

The Inuvialuit and the federal government sign the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, a massive Western Arctic land claim.

Indian Act Amendment to Restore Status (1985)

Bill C-31 amends the Indian Act to address gender discrimination in the Act. The Act no longer requires women to follow their husbands into or out of status. Women who “married out” could apply for the reinstatement of status rights. The work of First Nations women like Jeannette Corbiere Lavell and Sandra Lovelace Nicholas helped make change a reality. However, Bill C-31 limited the ability to transfer status to one’s children. The bill created new categories of Status Indian registration – 6(1) and 6(2) – and stipulated that status cannot be transferred if one parent is registered under section 6(2). In what is known as the “Second-Generation Cut-Off rule,” children would no longer be eligible for status after two generations of intermarriage with non-status partners. (See also Women and the Indian Act.)

Political Organization and Activism

Meech Lake Accord Collapses

The Meech Lake Accord collapsed after the self-imposed deadline passed. The collapse owed much to Premier Clyde Wells' blockage in Newfoundland and failure to pass in Manitoba thanks to MLA Elijah Harper. It led to further constitutional wrangles and the renewal of the separatist movement in Québec.

A standoff began at Oka, Québec, when police attempted to storm a barricade erected by the Mohawk to block the expansion of a golf course onto land claimed by the Mohawk. The protesters surrendered to soldiers on September 26, after a 2-month-long siege.

Canadian Forces Called in at Oka

Québec premier Robert Bourassa asked that the Canadian Forces replace the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) to resolve the Oka Crisis, a standoff by the Mohawk of the Kanesatake Reserve who had set up a blockade to protest the expansion of a golf course across land they claimed. Corporal Marcel Lemay, of the SQ, was killed on July 11 when the SQ stormed the blockade. The standoff ended peaceably 78 days after it began.

Phil Fontaine’s Testimony of Abuse at Residential Schools

Phil Fontaine, Head of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, speaks publicly of the abuse he suffered at Fort Alexander Residential School. He calls for a public inquiry into the schools, which the federal government initiates in 1991.

In Delgamuukw et al v The Queen, the BC Supreme Court ruled that, according to treaties, the Gitksan do not have Aboriginal title to the land, but they do have the right to use it for subsistence.

The Spicer Commission recommended that the government foster a sense of country, that Québec be recognized as a unique province, that there be a prompt settlement of Indigenous land claims and that the Senate be reformed or abolished.

Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples Initiated

In the wake of the Oka Crisis, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney initiates the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, with a mandate to study the evolution of the relationship between Indigenous peoples, the Government of Canada and Canadian society as a whole.

The Inuit endorsed the creation of Nunavut, a semi-autonomous territory, in a referendum.

Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Signed

Inuit and the governments of the Northwest Territories and Canada sign the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, the largest in Canada’s history. A new territory, Nunavut, is created from the central and eastern portions of the Northwest Territories in 1999.

Douglas Lake Ranch Blockade

Members of the Upper Nicola First Nations Band agreed to end a 2-week blockade of the Douglas Lake Ranch in exchange for talks with the BC government over fishing rights.

Gustafsen Lake Standoff Begins

A tense standoff between RCMP and armed Ts'peten Defenders at Gustafsen Lake, BC, began when Ts’peten Defenders fired at Emergency Response Team officers of the RCMP. Indigenous occupiers believed that the privately-owned ranch land on which they made their stand was a sacred place and part of a larger tract of unceded Shuswap territory. (See also Gustafsen Lake Standoff.)

Gustafsen Lake Standoff Ends

A tense standoff between RCMP and armed Ts'peten Defenders at Gustafsen Lake, British Columbia, ended. Indigenous occupiers believed that the privately-owned ranch land on which they made their stand was a sacred place and part of a larger tract of unceded Shuswap territory. (See also Gustafsen Lake Standoff.)

James Bay Cree Referendum

The James Bay Cree held a referendum to decide if their territory should remain a part of Canada should Québec vote to separate in its own forthcoming referendum. With a voter turnout of 77 per cent, 96.3 per cent voted in favour of staying with Canada. The vote was a political statement to the Government of Québec, asserting sovereignty over traditional Cree lands that had been appropriated without consent in 1898 and 1912, and formalizing opposition to Québec separatism.

Last Federally Operated Residential School Closes

The last federally-run facility, Gordon’s Residential School in Punnichy, Saskatchewan, closes.

Indigenous Peoples Self-Government

Nisga'a Land Claim Agreement

Federal and provincial officials signed an agreement of land claims with the Nishga'a in northwestern British Columbia. The Final Agreement calls for cash payments to the Nisga'a of approximately $190 million over a period of years, and recognizes the communal ownership and self-governance of about 2,000 km 2 of Nisga’a lands in the Nass River Valley.

Bridging the Cultural Gap

The preliminary report of the royal commission into Indigenous affairs recommended that First Nations should be able to set up their own justice systems, appropriate to their own cultures.

Final Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples

The 1996 report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples stated that many of the Indian Act’s measures were oppressive, and noted that “Recognition as 'Indian' in Canadian law often had nothing to do with whether a person was actually of Indian ancestry.”

Revised Dating of Americas

A team of scientists announced that the dating of early human remains in Chile showed that human ancestors lived in the Americas 1300 years prior to previous estimates.

Court Rules on Sentencing of Indigenous People

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the lower courts should apply traditional disciplinary practices when sentencing Indigenous persons found guilty of criminal offences.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously to open Indigenous band elections to off-reserve band members, stating that excluding them violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Mi'kmaq Fishing Rights Upheld

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that treaties from the 1760s guaranteed Mi'kmaq rights to fish, hunt and log year round. The ruling sparked controversy, as the Mi'kmaq began to fish lobster out of season. Angry non-Indigenous fishermen destroyed lobster traps and other equipment, sunk a boat and carried out an armed blockade of Yarmouth Harbour, NS. The conflict ended when an agreement was reached that allowed the Mi’kmaq to fish for subsistence only.

A US scientific panel concluded that the bones of a skeleton found in Washington State bore more resemblance to Polynesians than to Indigenous people in North America, challenging the view that the first humans came to North America from Siberia.

The Supreme Court of Canada clarified its earlier ruling (September 17) regarding Mi'kmaq (Micmac) fishing rights, stating that the ruling had been misinterpreted. It stated that the ruling applied did not guarantee open season on fishing.

Indigenous Peoples Self-Government

The House of Commons voted 217-48 in favour of a bill that would give the Nisga'a of northwest BC the right to self-government. The band received 2000 sq km of land and $253 million. In return they agreed to pay taxes and relinquish future claims.

Indigenous Peoples Self-Government

The Nisga'a Treaty was given royal assent by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.

Indigenous Peoples Self-Government

The Nisga'a Final Agreement, recognizing Nisga'a lands and self-government, went into effect.

Nuu-chah-nulth Agree to Treaty

The Nuu-chah-nulth tribal council, the largest Indigenous group in British Columbia, agreed to a treaty with the provincial and federal governments, giving it more autonomy over its territories on Vancouver and Meares islands and a large one-time payment.

For the second time in 10 years, the Mohawks of Kahnawake rejected by referendum the proposal to build a casino on the reserve.

The Kelowna Accord follows 18 months of consultation among federal, provincial, territorial, and Indigenous leaders on health, education, social, and economic improvements for Indigenous peoples. While 5 billion dollars is promised, no formal agreement on how to dispense the money is reached. A federal election is called, and the Accord is not implemented by the new government.

The Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement Comes Into Effect

The Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement comes into effect, addressing ownership of land and resources in James Bay, Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, and Ungava Bay, as well as part of northern Labrador.

Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement Comes into Effect

The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement provides compensation to Survivors, including the Common Experience Payment, which is based on the number of years they attended residential school. Claims of sexual and physical abuse are assessed through an independent process. The Agreement focuses on funding and supporting Indigenous health and healing services and also establishes funds for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada Formally Acknowledges Crown’s “Duty to Consult" Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada formally acknowledges Supreme Court rulings on the Crown’s “duty to consult” and, if appropriate, accommodate when the Crown considers initiating activities or decisions – often dealing with natural resource extraction – that might impact Indigenous peoples’ treaty rights.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is Established

The Canadian government authorizes the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada to document the truth of Survivors, families and communities and inform all Canadians about what happened in residential schools. It is funded by the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement.

Formal Apology to Former Residential Schools Students

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on behalf of the Government of Canada, delivers a formal apology in the House of Commons to former students, their families, and communities for Canada's role in the operation of residential schools. Provincial and territorial apologies follow in the years ahead.

The Tsawwassen First Nation treaty in British Columbia legally took effect, providing Indigenous members of the Lower Mainland region financial support to help increase the economic vitality of the area. It is was the first urban treaty ever negotiated in British Columbia.

First National Truth and Reconciliation Event

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada hosts its first national event, in Winnipeg, MB. It explores the history of the residential school system, the experience of former students and their families and the impact such institutions had on Indigenous peoples in Canada. Over the next five years, six more events follow in cities around the country, with a national closing ceremony in Ottawa.

Political Organization and Activism

Idle No More Movement Begins

Four women start Idle No More as a national (and online) movement of marches and teach-ins, raising awareness of Indigenous rights and advocating for self-determination.

Kenojuak Ashevak, a Nunavummiuq artist whose work became an icon of the Canadian Arctic, died at age 85 in her home at Cape Dorset, Nunavut.

First Totem Pole Erected in Gwaii Haanas in 130 Years

The Gwaii Haanas Legacy Pole, carved by a team of Haida craftsmen led by Jaalen Edenshaw, was erected in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site on Haida Gwaii. The totem pole was the first erected on Gwaii Haanas in 130 years. It marked the site of the 1985 standoff over a proposed clear-cut logging operation that led, eight years later, to the 1993 South Moresby Agreement. That agreement created Gwaii Haanas, an ecological and heritage partnership between the Haida Nation and Parks Canada.

First Indigenous Constitution in Ontario

Members of the Nipissing First Nation voted in favour of adopting their own constitution , or Gichi-Naaknigewin, believed to be the first such document among First Nations communities in Ontario . Its purpose is to allow the nation to define its membership and create laws. Legal experts say it is unclear, however, whether this constitution will run up against Canadian laws such as the Indian Act , which it is designed to replace.

Final National Truth and Reconciliation Event

The seventh and final national event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) takes place over three days in Edmonton, Alberta inviting individuals, families, and communities to share their experiences at residential schools.

National Operational Review on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women

The RCMP released the National Operational Review on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women. Research identified 1,181 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canadian police databases: 164 missing (dating back to 1952) and 1,017 murdered (between 1980 and 2012).

Residential School Monument in Winnipeg

A monument to honour the Survivors of residential schools was unveiled in Winnipeg, Manitoba, at the Peace Garden outside of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Summary Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Released

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission releases the summary of its final report on the residential school system and the experiences of survivors, characterizing Canada’s treatment of Indigenous peoples as “cultural genocide.” The report includes 94 calls to action aimed at redressing the legacy of residential schools and assisting in the process of reconciliation.

First Official Indigenous Pride Event in Canada

An LGBTQ pride celebration — b elieved to be the first on-reserve event of its kind in Canada — was held at the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation in Ontario. Remarks from local leaders including Chief Ava Hill honoured the community's two-spirited people.

Anishinaabe author, storyteller and educator Basil Johnston died in Wiarton , Ontario , at age 86. A survivor of the residential school system , Johnston published his first book in his 40s and went on to publish over 20 more — many of them devoted to the history, stories and language of the Anishinaabe people. Five of his books were written in the Anishinaabemowin language. Johnston, who was a member of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, had a profound impact on a younger generation of First Nations writers, including Tomson Highway , Drew Hayden Taylor and Joseph Boyden .

REDress Project Calls for Donations

The REDress Project, an art installation commemorating Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women, asked for the donation of red dresses, and for Canadians to hang their own. Métis artist Jaime Black initiated the project, which has displayed hundreds of red dresses in public spaces such as the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Opens

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, a permanent archive of materials, documents and testimonies on residential schools gathered during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,opens at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.

Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Released

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission releases its final report, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who attended the ceremonial release of the report,commits his government to implementing all of the 94 recommendations set out in the June 2015 summary report.

Last Fluent Nuchatlaht Speaker Dies

Alban Michael, the last fluent speaker of the Nuchatlaht language , died in Campbell River , British Columbia , at age 89. Raised on Nootka Island, Michael spoke only Nuchatlaht until he was forced to learn English at a residential school in Tofino as a child. He nevertheless maintained his fluency in Nuchatlaht so that he could speak with his mother, who did not speak English.

Supreme Court Ruling Changes Legal Definition of “Indian”

The Supreme Court of Canada rules unanimously that the legal definition of “ Indian ” — as laid out in the Constitution — includes Métis and non-status Indians . While this ruling did not grant status to Métis and non-status Indians, it helped facilitate possible negotiations over traditional land rights , access to education and health programs, and other government services.

Canada Supports UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights

Indigenous Affairs minister Carolyn Bennett announced Canada’s full support of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Conservative government under Stephen Harper had endorsed the declaration in 2010, but with qualifications that gave Canada “objector” status at the UN with respect to the document. Bennett's announcement removed this status. The declaration recognizes a wide range of Indigenous rights , from basic human rights to land, language and self-determination rights.

Indigenous Peoples Reconciliation

Premier Wynne Issues Residential Schools Apology

In response to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne formally apologizes on behalf of the provincial government for the abuses committed against Indigenous peoples in the residential school system, as well as for the oppressive policies and practices supported by past Ontario governments. The province announces a $250-million, three-year investment in several initiatives aimed at reconciliation.

Death of Annie Pootoogook

The body of artist Annie Pootoogook , 47, was found in the Rideau River in Ottawa , Ontario . An internationally exhibited winner of the Sobey Art Award, Pootoogook came from a family of accomplished Inuit artists . She moved from Cape Dorset, Nunavut, to Ottawa in 2007, after achieving international recognition.

Days after her death, Ottawa police officer Chris Hrnchiar wrote remarks widely condemned as racist in the comments section of an article on Pootoogook’s death in the Ottawa Citizen. The incident resulted in an internal investigation and, ultimately, a three-month demotion for Hrnchiar, who pleaded guilty to two charges under the Police Services Act.

Ottawa police were still investigating suspicious elements of the case several months after Pootoogook’s death.

First Victory of a Sixties Scoop Lawsuit

Ontario Superior Court judge Edward Belobaba ruled in favour of Sixties Scoop victims, finding that the federal government did not take adequate steps to protect the cultural identity of on- reserve children taken away from their homes. This was the first victory of a Sixties Scoop lawsuit in Canada.

Death of Richard Wagamese

Anishinaabe ( Ojibwa) novelist and journalist Richard Wagamese died in Kamloops, British Columbia, at the age of 61. A member of the Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, Wagamese was taken from his family as a young child, during the Sixties Scoop , and only reunited with them as an adult. The experience informed his exploration of his Anishinaabe roots in his writing. He published more than a dozen works in his lifetime, in addition to penning a popular Indigenous affairs column and working in broadcasting.

Trudeau Announces Renaming of Langevin Block

On National Aboriginal Day 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that, in the spirit of reconciliation, Parliament’s Langevin Block would be renamed Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council. Sir Hector-Louis Langevin (after whom the building was named) played an important role in Confederation but was also one of the original architects of the residential schools system , which was designed to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian culture.

Supreme Court Rules on Pipeline Projects

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Indigenous peoples do not have the power to veto resource development projects such as pipelines . It stated that while the government has a duty to consult with Indigenous communities, the National Energy Board (NEB) is the “final decision maker.” The Chippewas of the Thames First Nation had appealed the NEB’s approval of a modification to Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline, which runs through traditional Chippewa territory near London , Ontario .

Dissolution of INAC and introduction of two new ministries

Implementing a recommendation by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996), the federal government dissolved Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and replaced it with two new ministries: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and Indigenous Services. The government described this restructuring as a “next step” to abolishing the Indian Act .

Montréal Changes Coat of Arms and Announces Amherst Street Renaming

Montréal mayor Denis Coderre announced the addition of a white pine to the city’s coat of arms to recognize the contributions of Indigenous people over its history. The initiative was tied to the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Coderre also announced that Amherst Street — named after British general Jeffrey Amherst — would be renamed. Amherst supported the genocide of Indigenous peoples, including the spreading of epidemics by distributing smallpox -carrying blankets.

Sayisi Dene Reclaim Part of Traditional Territory

The Manitoba government signed an agreement to revert a portion of the Sayisi Dene ’s traditional territory near Little Duck Lake into reserve land for the First Nation. In 1956, the Sayisi Dene were forcibly relocated from this land to the outskirts of Churchill , where they suffered years of extreme hardship.In August 2016, on the 60th anniversary of the forced relocation, Indigenous Affairs minister Carolyn Bennett issued a formal apology to survivors on behalf of the federal government .

Political Organization and Activism

Energy East Pipeline Project Cancelled

TransCanada announced that it had cancelled plans to build the Energy East pipeline , which would have carried crude oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Québec and New Brunswick . From there, oil would have been exported to other countries. The company cited changing market conditions and delays in assessments carried out by the National Energy Board as reasons for its decision. The project’s supporters, including premiers Rachel Notley and Brad Wall , expressed disappointment and criticized the federal government ’s approach to the review process. Energy East’s opponents, including municipalities in Québec and Indigenous communities along the proposed path of the pipeline, hailed it as a victory.

Sixties Scoop Survivors Receive Settlement

The federal government announced a settlement of $800 million with Sixties Scoop survivors. The Sixties Scoop refers to the forced removal of Indigenous children from their homes and their subsequent adoption into predominantly non-Indigenous, middle-class families across Canada and the United States in the 1960s. Survivors of these federal and provincial government policies experienced lasting trauma as a result of their separation from their birth families, communities and cultures.

Trudeau Issues Newfoundland and Labrador Residential Schools Apology

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologizes to the Survivors of residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador who were excluded from Stephen Harper’s 2008 apology because residential schools there were not run by the federal government and were established before Newfoundland joined Confederation in 1949. Survivor Toby Obed, who was instrumental in the class-action lawsuit against the federal government, accepted Trudeau’s apology on behalf of his community. However, Gregory Rich, Innu Nation Grand Chief, refused Trudeau’s apology on behalf of the Innu Nation, saying it was too narrow.

Toronto's oldest artifact trusted to the care of the city over 80 years after its discovery

An Indigenous arrowhead, estimated to be between 4,000 and 6,000 years old, has been trusted to the care of the city of Toronto by the woman who discovered it during a class trip to Fort York in 1935. Jeanne Carter discovered what is now considered the oldest artifact discovered on the present-day territory of the city of Toronto.

Indigenous Peoples Political Organization and Activism

RCMP Arrest 14 People at BC Pipeline Protest

Enforcing a BC Supreme Court injunction that was passed in December, RCMP officers entered a roadblock south of Houston, BC, and arrested 14 members of the Wet'suwet'en Nation. The protestors had been preventing workers from Coastal GasLink, a subsidiary of TransCanada Corp., from entering the area on the grounds that they did not have the consent of hereditary leaders to build a pipeline carrying natural gas from Dawson Creek to Kitimat. The following day, protests were held in cities across Canada in a show of support for the Wet'suwet'en Nation.

Federal Government Proposes Stat Holiday for Reconciliation

Bill C-369 would make September 30 a statutory holiday called “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.” (See also Truth and Reconciliation Commission.) September 30 currently recognizes residential school survivors as “Orange Shirt Day.” The goal of the stat holiday would be to ensure that “public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools and other atrocities committed against First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.” The bill requires approval from the House of Commons and Senate to become law. It would then need approval from the provinces and territories to be officially observed.

Jody Wilson-Raybould Resigns from Cabinet Amid SNC-Lavalin Scandal

Jody Wilson-Raybould, who had been Justice Minister until a Cabinetshuffle on 14 January, resigned from Cabinet days after news broke that the Prime Minister’s Office allegedly pressured her to help Quebec constructionfirm SNC-Lavalin avoid facing criminal prosecution. In the wake of the news, Justin Trudeau’s principal secretary Gerald Butts resigned on 18 February and a federal hearing on the issue was held beginning on 20 February. In her testimony to the hearing on 27 February, Wilson-Raybould claimed that almost a dozen senior government officials made a “sustained effort” to convince her to drop charges against SNC-Lavalin. Trudeau disagreed with her recollection of events and claimed that he and his staff “always acted appropriately and professionally” on the matter.

Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Released

The final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls reveals that persistent and deliberate human rights violations are the source of Canada’s staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls and LGBTQ2S people. The report gives 231 calls for justice to governments, police forces and institutions.

Political Organization and Activism

Wet'suwet'en First Nation Protests Against Trans Mountain Pipeline

Environmental activists held protests on Vancouver Island and at the Toronto office of Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, calling for the federal government to stop construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline through the Wet'suwet'en First Nation territory in British Columbia. Coastal GasLink had obtained approval from the elected councils of 20 First Nations, but hereditary clan leaders refused to consent to the pipeline and demanded that it not proceed.


1861–1865: The United States is torn by the Civil War.

April 14, 1865: Five days after the war ends, President Lincoln is assassinated.

1868: Scottish naturalist John Muir (1838–1914) arrives in Yosemite Valley, California, where he would find his spiritual home.

March 4, 1869: A hero of the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant (1822–1885) becomes president of the United States.

Idaho History Timeline

Bordered by the Canadian province of British Columbia to the north and the U.S. states of Montana and Wyoming to the east, Utah and Nevada to the south, and Oregon and Washington to the west, Idaho is twice as large as the six New England states combined. From 12,500-6,000BCE, the area now known as Idaho is likely home to big-game-hunting Paleo-Indian groups, such as the Clovis, Folsom, and Plano cultures. Around 6,000 BCE native cultures establish permanent settlements. The predominant tribes of the region include the Nez Perce and the Coeur d'Alene in the north and the Northern and Western Bannock in the south

18th Century Idaho History Timeline

1743 - Discovery of the Rocky Mountains somewhere in the vicinity of Yellowstone Park made by Pierre De la Verendrye, while in search of a western sea.

19th Century Idaho History Timeline

1803 - The Louisiana Territory purchased by the United States from France for $15 million.

  • On August 12, 1805 Meriwether Lewis and three other members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition crossed the Continental Divide at Lemhi Pass. Lewis found a "large and plain Indian road" over the pass.This was the first time that white men had seen present-day Idaho
  • The Lolo pass (5,233 feet) is the highest point of the historic Lolo Trail, between the Bitterroot Valley in Montana and the Weippe Prairie in Idaho. The trail, known as "Nez Perce Trail" in Salish, was used by Nez Perce in the 18th century, and by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, guided by Old Toby of the Shoshone, cross the pass on September 13, 1805 on their westward snowbound journey.

1806 - Lewis and Clark spend more than six weeks with the Nez Perce Indians in the Kamiah area before returning eastward across the Lolo Trail.

1809 - Britain opens the first trading post in Idaho. David Thompson constructs Kullyspell House by Lake Pend Oreille. First establishment erected in the Northwest, built for the Northwest Fur Company.

  • David Thompson commences fur trade near Bonners Ferry.
  • Missouri Fur Company establishes Fort Henry near St. Anthony, first American trading post.

1811 - Pacific Fur Company expedition, the Astorians, explore the Snake River Valley on their way to the Columbia River. Led by Wilson P. Hunt, the westward journey discovers the Boise Valley.

1812 - Donald Mackenzie establishes a winter fur trading post at Lewiston for the Astorians.

1813 - John Reid starts fur trading post on the lower Boise River, but Bannock Indians wipe it out in 1814.

  • Donald Mackenzie makes first exploration of southern Idaho with his Snake River expedition of trappers.
  • Treaty of joint occupancy between Great Britain and the United States leaves Oregon country (including Idaho) open to citizens of both nations.

1820 - Treaty between Spain and US establishes the southern boundary of Idaho (Oregon Territory) at 42nd parallel.

1823 - Battle fought in Lemhi Valley between men of the Snake River country expedition and the Piegan Indians.

  • Alexander Ross and Jedediah Smith lead separate expeditions in exploring much of the Salmon River country.
  • Peter Skene Ogden begins trapping in Idaho.
  • Russia cedes Northwest Territory to United States in a treaty.

1827 - Rendezvous at Bear Lake for fur trading.

1829 - Rendezvous held at Pierre's Hole, now known as the Teton basin, where hundreds of mountain men and fur trappers congregated.

1830 - Rendezvous with the Indians held on the Blackfoot River, where competition in fur trading became intensely keen.

1831 - Fur trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, led by Kit Carson, winter on the Salmon River.

  • Captain B.L.E. Bonneville leads the first crossing of the Rocky Mountains in covered wagons. The company reaches the Lemhi River on September 19. Rendezvous at Pierre's Hole.
  • Battle of Pierre's Hole occurs July 18 between American fur trappers and the Grosventre Indians.
  • Fort Hall, established by Americans under Captain Nathaniel Wyeth, becomes a hub for trails and roads to the western parts of the United States.
  • Fort Boise erected by the Hudson Bay Company near the mouth of the Boise River.

1836 - Henry Harmon Spalding establishes a Nez Perce Indian mission at Lapwai.

  • First school in Idaho opens for Indian children at Lapwai.
  • First white child born in Idaho is Eliza Spalding born at Lapwai.
  • Henry Spalding starts publishing the Bible in Lapwai on the earliest printing press in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Chief Timothy, the first native Christian leader, baptized November 17.

1840 - Father Pierre Jean de Smet begins missionary work in Idaho.

1842 - Father Point establishes the Jesuit Coeur d' Alene Mission of the Sacred Heart near Saint Maries. The Mission moves to a site near Cataldo in 1846, and is transferred in 1877 to Desmet where it stands today.

1843 - Oregon Trail established in Idaho, which crossed the border near Montpelier, passed by Fort Hall, then westward south of the Snake River to the ford below Salmon Falls, then to Fort Boise, crossing the Snake River into Oregon.

  • Idaho becomes part of the United States. The United States acquires all land south of 49 degrees longitude by a treaty with Great Britain.
  • Sacred Heart Mission established on the Coeur d'Alene River.

1848 - Oregon Territory established.

  • Over 20,000 emigrants who join the gold rush come through southeastern Idaho on the California Trail. Heavy traffic continues on the trail for many years. US
  • Military post established near Fort Hall.

1852 - French Canadians discover gold on the Pend Oreille River.

  • Construction of the Cataldo Mission completed.
  • Washington Territory established. Idaho divided between Washington and Oregon.

1854 - Twenty-one emigrants led by Alexander Ward massacred in Boise Valley by the Snake River Indians. This event leads to the closing of Fort Boise the next summer and Fort Hall in 1856.

  • Fort Boise Closed
  • Mormon missionaries establish Fort Lemhi, reclaim first land by irrigation in Idaho.

1856 - Fort Hall closed.

1857 - Oregon's eastern boundary (Idaho's western boundary) established by Oregon constitutional convention.

1858 - Bannock Indians attacked the Mormons at Fort Lemhi, killing two and driving the remaining back to Utah.

1859 - Oregon admitted as a state, all of Idaho included in Washington Territory.

  • Idaho's oldest town, Franklin, is founded just north of the Utah border on April 14.
  • Miss Hannah Cornish starts the first school for white children in Idaho.
  • Gold discovered on Orofino Creek in August, leads to the establishment of Idaho's oldest mining town, Pierce.
  • Mullan military wagon road built just north of Coeur d'Alene.
  • Lewiston established as a service community for Idaho mines on May 13.
  • Salmon River mines discovered revealing the Florence diggings causes a mining stampede October 11.
  • First newspaper published in Idaho is the Golden Age in Lewiston.
  • George Grimes and a party of prospectors establish the Boise Basin mines, leads to the creation of Idaho City.
  • Packer John's Cabin built between New Meadows and McCall.
  • Gold discovered near present day Warren.
  • Idaho Territory organized, capital at Lewiston. President Lincoln signed the act establishing the territory on March 4. Soda Springs founded by Colonel Conner.
  • Boise News of Idaho City issues first copy September 29.
  • Mining begins in the Owyhees.
  • Boise Barracks established at Moore Creek by Major P. Lugenbeel and the US Cavalry.
  • The townsite of Boise laid out by merchants under the lead of Cyrus Jacobs.
  • First general election held October 31.
  • First county established: Owyhee County, December 31.
  • A resolution to make Boise the capital passes December 7.
  • Public school system established for the territory.
  • Julius Newburg Road completed in Elmore County September 7.
  • Ben Holliday establishes first stagecoach line.
  • The Idaho Statesman begins tri-weekly publication in Boise.
  • Ada, Alturas, Boise, Idaho, Kootenai, Lah-Toh, Nez Perce, Oneida and Shoshone counties created.
  • Boise becomes the capital of Idaho.
  • J.M. Taylor and Robert Anderson erect bridge across Snake River near present day Idaho Falls.
  • Boise-Rocky Bar stage begins operations, later extended to Silver City.
  • Gold discovered at Leesburg in Lemhi County.
  • Survey of public lands begun, L.F. Cartee surveyor.
  • Congress passes Federal Lode Mining Act.
  • State of Columbia proposed by the Idaho legislature in a petition to Congress, to include all the lands in western Montana, northern Idaho, and eastern Washington.
  • Gutzon Borglum, Mount Rushmore sculptor, born in Bear Lake County March 25.
  • Bishop Tuttle, an Episcopal priest, arrives in Boise October 12.
  • Idaho Legislature repeals oath of allegiance to US, a riot commences and Federal troops are called out.
  • Lah-Toh County abolished, territory annexed to Kootenai County.
  • Statue of George Washington, carved from native wood by Charles Ostner, is unveiled on the capitol grounds at Boise.
  • Idaho State Law Library established.
  • Placer gold strike made at Oro Grande.
  • Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads complete transcontinental railway at Promontory Summit, Utah on May 10, improves transportation to Idaho.
  • Chinese workers flock to Idaho mines.
  • Fort Hall Indian Reservation set aside by President Grant for Shoshonis and Bannocks of southern Idaho.
  • First telegraph office established at Franklin, linking the town with Salt Lake City, Lemhi County created.
  • Idaho population: 14,999 later census figure shows 17,804 as Utah-Idaho border was not clearly established.
  • Caribou gold rush in southeastern Idaho.
  • US Assay office and Idaho prison completed.
  • Strike drives Chinese labor out of Owyhee mines.

1873 - Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation set aside by President Grant for the Coeur d'Alene and Spokane Indians.

  • First railroad in Idaho: Utah Northern, to Franklin.
  • Idaho's first daily newspaper, The Owyhee Daily Avalanche, issued at Silver City October 17. Telegraph reaches Silver City.
  • Lemhi Indian Reservation set aside by President Ulysses S. Grant for Shoshonis, Bannocks, and Tukuarikas.
  • Bear Lake County created.
  • Bank failure ruins Silver City and South Mountain Mines.
  • National Desert Land Act passed by Congress for reclaiming land by irrigation.
  • Nez Perce Indian War: Warriors under Chief Joseph's command went on warpath after the government opened to settlement the Wallowa Valley in Oregon. Battles fought at White Bird - June 14th through 29th. Battle of Clearwater fought July 11 and 12. Fighting then moved into Montana. The war ended on October 5 with the surrender of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce.
  • Duck Valley Indian Reservation set aside by President Hayes for the Shoshonis and Paiutes.
  • Bannock Indian War: Bannocks led by Chief Buffalo Horn, and Paiutes led by Chief Egan, went on the warpath when the United States Government opened the Camas Prairie, which had been reserved for the Indians.
  • Battles fought at South Mountain and Bennett Creek.
  • The Sheepeater Indian War: Renegade Bannocks and Tukuarika Indians go on warpath. Indians hide out in the hills of central Idaho subsisting on sheep they kill during their raids. Battles fought at Big Creek and Loon Creek. Indians surrender September 1.
  • Utah Northern railroad completed within Idaho on its path from Salt Lake City to Helena, Montana.
  • Cassia and Washington counties created.
  • Idaho population: 32,619. Discovery of lead-silver lodes in the Wood River area, the rush to Bellevue, Hailey and Ketchum transforms southcentral Idaho.
  • The Boise and Lewiston Independent School Districts created.
  • North Idaho Annexation political party forms to counteract the powerful "Boise Ring".
  • Historical Society of Idaho Pioneers forms to collect and preserve a reliable history of the early settlement of the territory.
  • The Hailey Times begins daily publication.
  • Wells Fargo office established at Challis.
  • Custer County created.
  • Earthquake centered 20 miles east of Mount Idaho August 9.

1882 - Northern Pacific railroad completed across the northern part of the Territory. Construction began on the New York Canal in Ada County.

  • First telephone service in Idaho commenced at Hailey October 1.
  • Rexburg is founded.
  • Oregon Short Line completed through southern Idaho.
  • Coeur d'Alene gold rush, followed by Tiger and Polaris mines opening lead-silver operations.
  • The Oregon Short Line arrives in Ketchum August 19.
  • Freight and passenger service begins on Coeur d'Alene Lake.
  • Oregon Short Line reaches Weiser, connecting Idaho to the Pacific coast.
  • Wallace is founded.
  • The legislature approves construction of Territorial Capitol building at an expense of $80,000.
  • Test Oath Act adopted by legislature, designed to bar Mormons from voting and holding public office.
  • Legislature locates insane asylum at Blackfoot.
  • Famous poet Ezra Pound born at Hailey October 30.
  • Bingham County created.
  • Bunker Hill and Sullivan mines begin operation.
  • Utah Northern merges with Oregon Short Line and joins Union Pacific system.
  • Separate bills to annex north Idaho to Washington Territory pass each chamber of Congress, but are not reconciled.
  • Construction on the Territorial Capitol completed.
  • Nampa city platted.
  • Electric light plant goes into operation at Hailey to supply power for territory's first electric lights.
  • Wardner miner's union established after wage reductions at Bunker Hill and Sullivan mines.
  • Compulsory education law passed.
  • A bill to annex north Idaho to Washington Territory passes Congress, but is not signed by President Cleveland and does not become law.
  • Ricks Academy, now known as Ricks College, established in Rexburg.
  • Latah County created by US Congress.
  • As a conciliatory move to keep north Idaho from seceding, the Territorial legislature locates the University of Idaho at Moscow.
  • Constitutional convention composed of sixty-eight members meet at Boise July 4 and after laboring twenty-eight days, forms and adopts constitution for the state of Idaho August 6. Constitution is ratified by the people on November 5 by a vote of 12,398 to 1,773.
  • Fire in Hailey causes $750,000 worth of damage. Elmore county created
  • Idaho population: 88,548.
  • Idaho admitted to the Union as the 43rd state on July 3, signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison.
  • Great Northern Railroad completed across the northern part of the state.
  • Congress passes Federal Forest Reserve Act.
  • First legislative and statewide elections held.
  • First session of the Idaho Legislature meets.
  • Great Seal of the State of Idaho, a design drawn by Miss Emma Edwards, with the Latin motto "Esto Perpetua" adopted.
  • Idaho forest reserves created.
  • Boise's electric street railway commences operation on August 22.
  • College of Idaho opens in Caldwell October 9. Canyon and Alta counties created.
  • President Benjamin Harrison plants Water Oak on capitol grounds.
  • High freight rates and low silver prices close Coeur d'Alene mines January 16.
  • The Farmers Alliance and the Knights of Labor organize the Idaho Populist Party in Boise May 26.
  • Martial law commenced in the Coeur d'Alenes on July 14 following the dynamiting of the Frisco Mill near Burke.
  • University of Idaho opens October 3.
  • Idaho Education Association organized.
  • Timber and Stone Act passes Congress, paving way for commercial timber industry in Idaho.
  • The "Panic of '93" lead and silver prices collapsed, Coeur d'Alene mines shut down.
  • Western Federation of Miners formed.
  • Office of State Mine Inspector established.
  • Idaho State Medical Society founded September 12.
  • State Wool Growers Association started at Mountain Home September 25.
  • First state game laws enacted.
  • State Normal Schools (Colleges of Education) established at Lewiston and Albion.
  • Legislature enacts state wagon roads to connect north and south Idaho.
  • Bannock and Fremont counties created.
  • Albion Normal School opens January 8. Nez Perce Indian Reservation allotted to the Indians.
  • Congress passes Carey Act, makes possible reclamation of Snake River Valley.
  • Gold discovered in the Thunder Mountain country.
  • Comprehensive irrigation law, providing for uniform use of public water, enacted on March 9.
  • Lincoln and Blaine counties created.
  • Lewiston Normal School dedicated June 3.
  • Idaho becomes first in the nation in production of lead.
  • Montpelier bank robbed by Butch Cassidy August 13.
  • Idaho Legislature calls on Congress to extend the right to vote to women.
  • Idaho Republicans split, Silver Republicans endorse William Jennings Bryan for President.
  • Clashes between sheep and cattle industries culminate in the murder of sheepherders allegedly by "Diamondfield" Jack Davis.
  • Cassia County created.
  • President Grover Cleveland establishes Bitterroot Forest Reserve which includes much of north Idaho.
  • Legislature acts to protect bison within the state.
  • State Board of Medical Examiners established to regulate the practice of medicine.
  • First Idaho regiment of military volunteers called into service for the Philippine insurrection of the Spanish-American War.
  • Fort Hall Indian Reservation allotted to the Indians in parcels of 160 acres each, with the balance to be sold for the Indians' benefit.
  • Position of State Fish and Game Warden created.
  • Governor Steunenberg calls in federal troops to suppress riot in the Coeur d'Alene mining district following the dynamiting of the Bunker Hill and Sullivan concentrator.

20th Century Idaho History Timeline

  • Idaho population: 161,772.
  • New York Canal completed.
  • Democrats, Silver Republicans and Populists arrange party fusion for 1900 election.
  • Idaho State Dairymen's Association organized.
  • Idaho Falls incorporated.
  • The Free Traveling Library (now known as the Idaho State Library) established.
  • The Academy of Idaho (now Idaho State University) opens in Pocatello.
  • After concluding that Diamondfield Jack Davis had been convicted by mistake, in a case growing out of the most notable incident of the Idaho sheep and cattle wars, the State Board of Pardons turned him loose.
  • National Reclamation Act passed, provides for federal aid for irrigation.
  • Idaho's hunting and fishing licensing system began.
  • The Idaho Industrial Training School founded at St. Anthony as a reform school for children.
  • First Carey Act land opening at Shoshone.
  • Miller Dam on Snake River opens Twin Falls area to irrigated farming.
  • President Theodore Roosevelt plants maple tree on capitol grounds.
  • Construction of a new capitol building in Boise authorized at a cost of $1,000,000.
  • Insane asylum established at Orofino.
  • The first train arrives at Twin Falls August 7.
  • Sawtooth National Forest created.
  • Former Governor Frank Steunenberg assassinated December 30.
  • Steunenberg assassin Harry Orchard implicates three leaders of the Western Federation of Miners in the plot.
  • The largest sawmill in the United States begins operation at Potlatch.
  • Pioneer Monument at capitol grounds erected.
  • "Steward Decree" adjudicates water rights along the Boise River.
  • William E. Borah elected to the US Senate, where he gains an international reputation during thirty-three years of service.
  • William D. Haywood is found not guilty of conspiracy and the assassination of Frank Steunenberg, at the end of an internationally celebrated trial, Harry Orchard sentenced to life in prison for the assassination.
  • Idaho State Flag adopted.
  • Idaho Historical Society founded.
  • Bonner and Twin Falls County created.
  • The Idaho revised code published.
  • Under President Roosevelt's forest reserve policy, one-half of the state is organized into National Forest reserves.
  • Lake Lowell completed.
  • Idaho adopts direct primary and local option over regulation of liquor.
  • Minidoka Dam completed.
  • State Parks established at Heyburn, Shoshone Falls, and Payette Lake.
  • Allotment of Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation.
  • Provisions for rural high school districts established.
  • Idaho population: 325,594.
  • Devastating forest fire consumes 1/6 of north Idaho's forests, destroying many communities.
  • State banking and highway district laws enacted.
  • Buckeye tree planted on the capitol grounds by President William Howard Taft October 9. Search and seizure law enacted for enforcing liquor laws.
  • Idaho State Sanitarium (now known as the Idaho State School and Hospital) located at Nampa.
  • Adams, Bonneville, Clearwater and Lewis counties created.
  • Revised revenue laws enacted, providing a new system of assessment, equalization, levy and collection of taxes.
  • Constitutional amendments adopted authorizing initiative, referendum, and recall.
  • State Board of Education established to supervise all levels of education within the state of Idaho.
  • Public Utilities Commission established.
  • Northwest Nazarene College in Nampa founded.
  • First motor vehicle laws enacted by the legislature.
  • Comprehensive system of revenue for state, county, municipal and school purposes enacted.
  • School for the Deaf and Blind opens in Gooding.
  • Franklin, Gooding, Jefferson, Madison, Minidoka and Power counties created.

1914 - Moses Alexander elected first Jewish governor in the United States.

  • Arrowrock Dam completed.
  • Columbia and Snake River improvements for navigation to Lewiston completed.
  • Second Idaho Regiment of Infantry Volunteers organized into service at the call of President Woodrow Wilson for the Mexican Border War.
  • The Academy of Idaho (now Idaho State University) becomes the Idaho Technical Institute.
  • Idaho Horse and Cattle Association organized, later to become the Idaho Cattlemen's Association.
  • Benewah, Boundary, Gem and Teton counties created.
  • Constitutional amendment for statewide prohibition ratified.
  • State highway program begins as part of the national good roads movement.
  • Statewide prohibition goes into effect January 1.
  • Workmen's Compensation System and State Insurance Fund established.
  • Annual state fair established at Boise.
  • Ricks Academy becomes a college and is accredited by the State Board of Education.
  • Butte, Camas, Payette and Valley counties created.

1918 - Non-Partisan League takes over Idaho Democratic primary September 3, subsequently Idaho's primary nominating system is abandoned for twelve years.

  • Administrative consolidation enacted by legislature.
  • Functions of fifty-one departments, boards and bureaus placed under nine administrative departments responsible to the governor.
  • Bureau of Highways created to inaugurate a state highway system.
  • Bureau of Constabulary organized May 18, with Department of Law Enforcement.
  • First Music Week held in Boise.
  • Lava Hot Springs established by Department of Public Welfare.
  • City of Jerome incorporated.
  • Jerome, Clark, and Caribou counties created.
  • Idaho population: 431,866.
  • Agricultural prices begin to deteriorate, creating a crisis which continues through the 1920's.
  • Whitebird Hill grade, connecting north and south Idaho opens.
  • State Capitol completed.
  • Idaho Wheat Growers Association formed.
  • Constitutional amendment increases State Supreme Court from three to five members.
  • State budget system established.
  • Radio broadcasting begins in Idaho with station KFAU located at Boise High School under the direction of Harry Redeker.
  • Union Pacific Railroad begins service to Boise.
  • State Forestry Board established.
  • William E. Borah becomes Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
  • The Idaho State Chamber of Commerce organized.
  • Federal air service came to the Northwest with a Pasco, Washington to Elko, Nevada flight with a stop in Boise.
  • American Falls Dam completed.
  • Perrine Memorial Bridge at Twin Falls completed. Palisades Reservoir created.
  • Idaho Technical Institute in Pocatello redesignated the University of Idaho Southern Branch.
  • Restoration of the "Old Mission" church near Cataldo begins.
  • Commercial radio broadcasting begins in Idaho with the purchase of KFAU from Boise High School and renamed KIDO.

1930 - Idaho population: 445,032.

  • The direct primary restored for statewide offices.
  • State income tax adopted.
  • US Forest Service, in cooperation with the state Legislature, create the Idaho Primitive Area.
  • Legislature adopts "Here We Have Idaho" as state song, the syringa the official flower, and the Rocky Mountain Bluebird the state bird.
  • Nonpartisan election of judges to Supreme Court and District Courts enacted.
  • The Idaho Code annotated published.
  • Six million dollar Owyhee Dam dedicated.
  • Association of Idaho Veterans of Foreign Wars organized.
  • Boise Junior College opens.
  • School Equalization Law adopted.
  • North Idaho Junior College established at Coeur d'Alene.
  • Sandpoint Bridge completed.
  • Taylor Grazing Act passes US Congress. Central and northern Idaho experience large mining developments for gold and silver.
  • Idaho becomes first in the nation in silver production.
  • Statewide prohibition repealed and State adopts Liquor Dispensary system.
  • Indian children begin integration into public school system.
  • State employment service established.
  • Two percent sales tax enacted, but rejected by voters in referendum in 1936.
  • Legislature provides for purchase of the site of Spalding Mission as a state park.
  • Martial law declared in Teton County to put down a rebellion of pea pickers.
  • Sun Valley established as a ski resort by the Union Pacific Railway in September.
  • Martial law declared in Clearwater County during I.W.W. lumber strike.
  • Celebration held in Lewiston to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Spalding Mission.
  • In March, William E. Borah became Idaho's first Presidential candidate.

1937 - Open primary system does away with requirement for declaration of party affiliation.

  • Paving of the north-south highway (US 95) completed.
  • Fish and Game Commission established by initiative.
  • Idaho Senator James P. Pope sponsors Agricultural Adjustment Act.
  • Idaho population: 524,873.
  • Senator William E. Borah dies January 19.
  • Legislation creating a position of Comptroller to be appointed by the Governor, and taking away many powers of the State Auditor, ruled unconstitutional by the Courts.
  • Gowen Field completed south of Boise and becomes a military air base.
  • J.R. Simplot food dehydrator begins operations in Caldwell.
  • Farragut Naval Training Station established at Lake Pend Oreille.
  • A Pocatello army air base and gun relining plant established.
  • Japanese-Americans placed in internment camps at Hunt.
  • Two anti-liquor initiatives rejected by the voters.
  • Mountain Home Air Base site was approved.

1944 - Mountain Home Army Air Field officially opened.

  • State Tax Commission established.
  • Idaho's first phosphate processing plant constructed by the J.R. Simplot Company.
  • Most recent Idaho Code published.
  • A teacher's retirement system established.
  • Election of Idaho's governor and other state officials for four-year terms begin.
  • Two anti-liquor initiatives and an anti-gambling initiative defeated.
  • A state school reorganization plan enacted.
  • University of Idaho Southern Branch at Pocatello becomes Idaho State College.
  • State Board of Corrections established.
  • Idaho State Archives established.
  • Bureau of Reclamation begins plans to construct a Hell's Canyon dam in the Snake River for flood control.
  • Idaho Senator Glen Taylor runs for Vice-President on Progressive Party ticket.

1949 - National Reactor Testing Station near Arco established.

  • Idaho population: 588,637.
  • State Highway Department established with provisions for nonpolitical administration.
  • Nuclear electric power developed at the National Reactor Testing Station.
  • State teacher's colleges at Lewiston and Albion are closed.

1952 - Anderson Ranch Dam completed.

  • Television comes to Idaho with KIDO-TV (now KTVB) in Boise July 12.
  • C.J. Strike Dam dedicated.
  • Supreme Court rules against Idaho law legalizing slot machines and other lottery devices.
  • Submarine reactor tested and perfected at the National Reactor Testing Station.
  • Voters approve initiative to regulate dredge mining.
  • State Department of Commerce and Development established.
  • Lewis-Clark Normal opens at Lewiston.
  • Lucky Peak Dam dedicated July 6.
  • The Atomic Energy Commission lights Arco with electricity generated by atomic energy.
  • Construction of Palisades Dam completed.
  • Construction in Idaho of the National Interstate Highway System commenced.
  • Constitutional amendment ratified to permit a governor to succeed himself for reelection.

1959 - Brownlee Dam completed on the Snake River.

  • Idaho population: 667,191.
  • Seven month strike at Bunker Hill Mine.
  • July and August forest fires in Hells Canyon and Idaho City area.
  • State employee group insurance system established.
  • Oxbow Dam completed on Snake River.
  • W.A. Harriman and E. Rolland Harriman provided that their holdings at Railroad Ranch eventually become a state park, providing that the state establish a professionally managed park system.
  • Ernest Hemingway dies in Ketchum July 2.

1962 - Lewis and Clark highway (US 12) in the Lochsa Canyon completed.

  • Legislative Council established.
  • Idaho State College in Pocatello attains University status.
  • Lewis-Clark Normal becomes a four year college.
  • Horse Racing Act, to permit pari-mutuel betting, becomes law over Governor's veto (first override in twenty years).
  • Idaho celebrates Territorial Centennial.
  • Combined convention and primary system implemented, parties attempt to restrict the number of state primary candidates appearing on the ballot.
  • Federal Court ends Bible reading in Boise public schools.
  • State parks department, water resource board, and personnel system created.
  • Nez Perce National Historic Park established in north-central Idaho.
  • Boise Junior College given 4-year status.
  • Governor Smylie defeated for 4th term.
  • Voters uphold 3 percent sales tax in referendum.
  • Northern Pacific ends passenger service between Lewiston and Spokane.
  • Legislative Compensation Commission established.
  • International Boy Scout Jamboree held at Farragut State Park.

1968 - Hell's Canyon Dam completed.

1969 - Annual legislative sessions commence.

  • Idaho population: 713,015.
  • Voters reject proposed revision of Idaho Constitution.
  • Voters pass strict legislative pay initiative.
  • National Farmers Organization stages 120 vehicle caravan to Boise to protest potato prices.
  • Legislature enacts a stream protection law. Last log drive on the Clearwater River.
  • Rail passenger service ends May 1 for all places in Idaho except Sandpoint.
  • Fire destroys $25,000 worth of property during a riot at the Idaho State Penitentiary.
  • New Idaho uniform probate code goes into effect.
  • Idaho voters return to open primary system.
  • Sawtooth National Recreation Area established, includes the Sawtooth Wilderness Area.
  • Dworshak Dam completed.
  • Constitutional amendment adopted requiring state government reorganization into no more than 20 agencies.
  • Fire at the Sunshine Mine in Kellogg takes the lives of 91 men.
  • US Congress passes a bill to replace the deteriorating American Falls Dam.
  • Boise State College attains university status.
  • State agencies reorganized into 19 departments.
  • Kootenai Indians in northern Idaho declare war on the US government to gain money and land.
  • Voters pass the Sunshine Initiative to require lobbyist registration and political campaign disclosure.
  • Evel Knievel fails in attempt to ride his "Skycycle" across the Snake River canyon near Twin Falls.
  • Presidential preference primary to be held on the fourth Tuesday of May adopted.
  • White Bird Hill bypass opens June 16.
  • Legislature passes Local Planning and Zoning Act.
  • New prison opens south of Boise.
  • Port of Lewiston opens.
  • Hells Canyon bill creates the scenic Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, and bans construction of hydroelectric projects in the canyon.
  • Senator Frank Church becomes a candidate for President, the first Idahoan since William E. Borah in 1936.
  • The 310 foot high Teton Dam collapses in southeastern Idaho, killing 11 and forcing 300,000 people to flee their homes.
  • Constitutional amendment creates Citizens Committee on Legislative Compensation.
  • The Public Utilities Commission rejects proposal by Idaho Power Company to build an electric coal-fired power plant between Boise and Mountain Home.
  • Governor Cecil D. Andrus resigns to become Secretary of the Interior.
  • Legislature rescinds their 1972 ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
  • Many Idaho counties declared disaster areas due to severe drought.
  • Boise, Nampa, Mountain Home, Shoshone, and Pocatello become stops on Amtrak's Seattle-Ogden line.
  • President Jimmy Carter floats the River of No Return in central Idaho.
  • Voters pass initiative limiting property taxes to 1 percent of market value.
  • Pocatello businessman Bill Barlow wins US Supreme Court decision against Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
  • An investigation by the Idaho Statesman reveals that plutonium had been injected into the Snake River plain aquifer at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory.
  • Senator Frank Church becomes Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
  • Idaho population: 944,038.
  • An 18 hour riot at the Idaho State Prison results in $2 million in damages.
  • Mount St. Helens erupts, covers north Idaho with volcanic ash.
  • Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus, by executive order, expands the Birds of Prey Natural Area from 31,000 to 482,640 acres.
  • Congress approves the Central Idaho Wilderness Act, establishing the 2.2 million acre River of No Return Wilderness.
  • Congressman Steve Symms defeats Senator Frank Church in the most expensive campaign in Idaho history with over $4 million spent by the candidates and independent committees.
  • Senator James McClure becomes Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
  • Keith F. Nyborg, a rancher from Ashton, is appointed ambassador to Finland by President Reagan.
  • "Rabbit Drives" in southeastern Idaho create controversy between animal protection groups and farmers whose crops are devastated by wild jack rabbits.
  • Gulf Resources and Chemical of Houston, Texas announced the closure of the 98-year-old Bunker Hill Mine and Smelter in Kellogg.
  • Legislature outlaws insanity plea for defendants - first in nation.
  • Voters pass record eight constitutional amendments and three initiatives.
  • Governor Evans puts most state employees on 4-day work week for two months to lower projected budget deficit.
  • Harriman State Park dedicated July 17.
  • Fugitive Christopher Boyce, convicted of selling national security secrets to the Soviet Union, is captured near Bonners Ferry.

Legislature imposes temporary 4 1/2 percent sales tax to cover state deficit.

  • Eagle Island State Park dedicated June 25.
  • State Supreme Court declares current legislative apportionment unconstitutional because it divides counties.
  • Several north Idaho local governments pass resolutions to secede from southern Idaho and form a new state.
  • An earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale, kills two children and causes four million dollars worth of damage on October 28. The quake, centered in the Lost River Valley, was the largest in the continental United States in 24 years and left a 10-foot high, 15 mile long shear.
  • Supreme Court imposes 42 member Senate, 84 member House in legislative redistricting plan.
  • Christin Cooper of Ketchum wins silver medal in the women's giant slalom at the Olympic games in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.
  • Harmon Killebrew of Payette is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • Permanent sales tax set at 4 percent.
  • Legislature approves Education Reform bill, allocating $20 million to improve teacher salaries statewide.
  • Former Senator Frank Church dies April 7.
  • US Representative George Hansen defeated for reelection by Richard Stallings in closest Idaho congressional race in history - 170 votes.
  • Populist Party sues for and obtains ballot status on November 6 general election.
  • Wallace celebrates centennial.
  • Idaho Power Company and the State of Idaho reach agreement on Snake River Basin water rights.
  • Shortest Legislative session in 12 years - 66 days.
  • Department of Commerce established.
  • National Governor's Conference held in Boise.
  • Jimmy Jausoro, a Basque musician from Boise is one of 12 folk artists nationwide (and the first Idahoan ever) to receive a prestigious 1985 National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Pocatello citizens vote to remove council-manager system of city government in June.
  • Potlatch Corporation closes lumber mills at Lewiston and Jaype (near Pierce), affecting 1,200 workers.
  • Over six million acres of Idaho rangeland are sprayed with pesticides to battle grasshopper infestation.
  • Claude Dallas, convicted in 1982 for killing two Idaho Fish & Game Wardens, escapes from the Idaho State Penitentiary March 30.
  • He is recaptured March 8, 1987 outside a convenience store in Riverside, California.
  • Voters retain right-to-work law in referendum also approve state lottery initiative.
  • Permanent sales tax at 5 percent.
  • Legislature passes mandatory daycare licensing and tort reform legislation.
  • Dry winter leads to severe summer drought.

1988 - Voters pass constitutional amendment removing prohibition against legislature authorizing a state lottery.

  • First state lottery tickets sold July 19th.
  • Worst forest fires since 1910, burn thousands of acres in south central Idaho, partially destroying town of Lowman.
  • Idaho Population: 1,006,749.
  • Idaho celebrates Statehood Centennial - July 3.
  • Senator James McClure retires from US Senate.
  • Idaho State Senate split - 21 Democrats and 21 Republicans.
  • Kirby Dam collapses near Atlanta, cutting off electrical power to residents and dumping arsenic, mercury and cadmium into the Middle Fork of the Boise River.
  • Drought persists through fifth consecutive year.
  • Fire on the second and third floors of the State Capitol on January 1st caused 3.2 million dollars in damage.
  • Worst forest fire season in Idaho's recorded history.
  • Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris surrender to federal officials on August 31st following a shootout and eleven day standoff at Weaver's Boundary County cabin that left one US deputy marshall and Weaver's wife and son dead.
  • Linda Copple Trout becomes the first woman appointed to the Idaho Supreme Court.
  • Normal winter and spring precipitation help to alleviate the drought.
  • Kevin Harris acquitted of all charges and Randy Weaver convicted on minor charges following a 60-day federal trial stemming from the 1992 shootout with federal officials in Boundary County.
  • Ezra Taft Benson, native of Whitney, Idaho, died on May 30.
  • Benson had served as US Secretary of Agriculture from 1953 to 1961 and head of the Mormon Church since 1985.
  • Summer wildfires burn approximately 750,000 acres.
  • Picabo Street wins silver medal in downhill skiing during the Olympic games in Lillehammer, Norway.
  • Idaho ranks third nationwide in percentage population growth after the state added another 33,000 residents.
  • Phil Batt sworn in as the first republican governor in twenty-five years.
  • Legislature creates the Department of Juvenile Justice.
  • Picabo Street becomes first American to win World Cup downhill title.
  • Nuclear waste agreement signed.
  • First year of five years in a row of normal or above normal water/snowpack.
  • New Year's day floods in the Weiser and Payette River drainages of southwestern Idaho.
  • Town of Banks condemned by federal government following mudslides.

1998 - Picabo Street wins gold medal in giant slalom at Olympic winter games.

1999 - First shipment of nuclear waste leaves INEEL for permanent storage at the federal Waste Isolation Pilot Project in New Mexico.

21st Century Idaho History Timeline

2000 - 559,183 acres burned in forest fires

2001 - 24 counties declared drought disaster areas

2003 - Longest legislative session in history lasted 118 days

2005 - Nez Perce water agreement ratified, tribe received annual rights to 50,000 acre-feet water from Clearwater River and $80 million cash.

2007 - Idaho had more wildfires burning than any other state, over 1.5 million acres damaged.

  • Idaho had more wildfires burning than any other state, over 1.5 million acres damaged
  • the SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued Daren Palmer, 22 Trigon Group, accused him of running a classic Ponzi scheme that took $68 million from 55 investors

2010 - Nine missionary Baptists from Idaho were arrested and faced kidnapping, trafficking charges in Haiti for attempted rescue of 33 Haitian children traumatized by earthquake, they were later released

2010 - Idaho became first state to pass law rejecting federal mandatory health insurance requirement