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ESP Timelines

Comparative Timelines

The ESP Timeline (one of the site's most popular features) has been completely updated to allow the user to select (using the timeline controls above each column) different topics for the left and right sides of the display.

Select:

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Dates

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1540

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1541

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1542

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1543

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1544

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1545

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1546

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1547

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1548

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1549

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1550

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1551

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1552

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1553

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1554

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1555

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1556

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1557

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1558

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1559

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1560

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1561

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Britain Joins Slave Trade. John Hawkins, the first Briton to take part in the slave trade, makes a huge profit hauling human cargo from Africa to Hispaniola.

1562

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1563

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1564

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1565

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1566

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1567

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1568

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1569

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1570

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1571

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1572

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1573

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1574

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1575

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1576

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1577

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1578

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1579

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1580

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Slaves in Florida Spanish residents in St. Augustine, the first permanent settlement in Florida, import African slaves.

1581

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1582

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1583

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1584

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1585

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1586

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1587

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1588

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1589

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1590

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1591

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1592

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1593

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1594

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1595

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1596

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1597

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1598

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1599

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1600

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1601

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1602

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1603

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1604

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1605

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1606

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1607

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1608

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1609

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1610

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1611

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The first commercial tobacco crop is raised in Jamestown, Virginia.

1612

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1613

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1614

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1615

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1616

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1617

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1618

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Twenty slaves in Virginia Africans brought to Jamestown are the first slaves imported into Britain’s North American colonies. Like indentured servants, they were probably freed after a fixed period of service.

1619

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1620

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1621

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1622

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1623

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1624

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1625

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The Dutch West India Company imports 11 black male slaves into the New Netherlands.

1626

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1627

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1628

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1629

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1630

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1631

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1632

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1633

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1634

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1635

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Colonial North America's slave trade begins when the first American slave carrier, Desire, is built and launched in Massachusetts.

1636

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1637

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1638

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1639

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John Punch, a runaway black servant, is sentenced to servitude for life. His two white companions are given extended terms of servitude. Punch is the first documented slave for life.

New Netherlands law forbids residents from harboring or feeding runaway slaves.

1640

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Massachusetts is the first colony to legalize slavery.

The D'Angola marriage is the first recorded marriage between blacks in New Amsterdam.

1641

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1642

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The New England Confederation of Plymouth, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Haven adopts a fugitive slave law.

1643

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1644

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1645

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1646

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1647

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1648

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1649

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Connecticut legalizes slavery.

1650

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1651

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Massachusetts requires all black and Indian servants to receive military training.

Rhode Island passes laws restricting slavery and forbidding enslavement for more than 10 years.

1652

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1653

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A Virginia court grants blacks the right to hold slaves.

1654

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1655

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1656

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Virginia passes a fugitive slave law.

1657

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1658

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1659

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Charles II, King of England, orders the Council of Foreign Plantations to devise strategies for converting slaves and servants to Christianity.

1660

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1661

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Hereditary slavery is established, when Virginia law decrees that children of black mothers “shall be bond or free according to the condition of the mother.”

Massachusetts reverses a ruling dating back to 1652, which allowed blacks to train in arms. New York, Connecticut, and New Hampshire pass similar laws restricting the bearing of arms.

1662

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Charles II, King of England, gives the Carolinas to proprietors. Until the 1680s, most settlers in the region are small landowners from Barbados.

In Gloucester County, Virginia the first documented slave rebellion in the colonies takes place.

Maryland legalizes slavery.

1663

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Maryland is the first colony to take legal action against marriages between white women and black men.

New York and New Jersey legalize slavery.

The State of Maryland mandates lifelong servitude for all black slaves. New York, New Jersey, the Carolinas, and Virginia all pass similar laws.

1664

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1665

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Maryland passes a fugitive slave law.

1666

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Virginia declares that Christian baptism will not alter a person's status as a slave.

1667

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New Jersey passes a fugitive slave law.

1668

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1669

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The State of Virginia prohibits free blacks and Indians from keeping Christian (i.e. white) servants.

1670

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1671

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1672

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1673

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New York declares that blacks who convert to Christianity after their enslavement will not be freed.

1674

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1675

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In Virginia, black slaves and black and white indentured servants band together to participate in Bacon's Rebellion.

1676

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1677

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1678

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1679

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The State of Virginia forbids blacks and slaves from bearing arms, prohibits blacks from congregating in large numbers, and mandates harsh punishment for slaves who assault Christians or attempt escape.

1680

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1681

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New York makes it illegal for slaves to sell goods.

Virginia declares that all imported black servants are slaves for life.

1682

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1683

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1684

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1685

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1686

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1687

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The Pennsylvania Quakers pass the first formal antislavery resolution.

1688

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1689

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1690

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South Carolina passes the first comprehensive slave codes.

Virginia passes the first anti-miscegenation law, forbidding marriages between whites and blacks or whites and Native Americans.

Virginia prohibits the manumission of slaves within its borders. Manumitted slaves are forced to leave the colony.

1691

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1692

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1693

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Rice cultivation is introduced into Carolina. Slave importation increases dramatically.

1694

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1695

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The Royal African Trade Company loses its monopoly and New England colonists enter the slave trade.

1696

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1697

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1698

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1699

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image Samuel Sewall (1652-1730) publishes The Selling of Joseph — the first American protest against slavery.

Pennsylvania legalizes slavery.

1700

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1701

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New York passes An Act for Regulating Slaves. Among the prohibitions of this act are meetings of more than three slaves, trading by slaves, and testimony by slaves in court.

1702

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Connecticut assigns the punishment of whipping to any slaves who disturb the peace or assault whites.

Massachusetts requires those masters who liberate slaves to provide a bond of 50 pounds or more in the event that the freedman becomes a public charge.

Rhode Island makes it illegal for blacks and Indians to walk at night without passes.

1703

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1704

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Massachusetts makes marriage and sexual relations between blacks and whites illegal.

New York declares that punishment by execution will be applied to certain runaway slaves.

The Virginia Slave Code codifies slave status, declaring all non- Christian servants entering the colony to be slaves. It defines all slaves as real estate, acquits masters who kill slaves during punishment, forbids slaves and free colored peoples from physically assaulting white persons, and denies slaves the right to bear arms or move abroad without written permission.

1705

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Connecticut requires that Indians, mulattos, and black servants gain permission from their masters to engage in trade.

New York declares blacks, Indians, and slaves who kill white people to be subject to the death penalty.

1706

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1707

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Africans in the colony of South Carolina outnumber Europeans, making it the first English colony with a black majority.

Blacks outnumber whites in South Carolina.

Rhode Island requires that slaves be accompanied by their masters when visiting the homes of free persons.

The Southern colonies require militia captains to enlist and train one slave for every white soldier.

1708

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1709

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New York forbids blacks, Indians, and mulattos from walking at night without lighted lanterns.

1710

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Great Britain's Queen Anne overrules a Pennsylvania colonial law prohibiting slavery.

Pennsylvania prohibits the importation of blacks and Indians.

Rhode Island prohibits the clandestine importation of black and Indian slaves.

1711

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In Charleston, South Carolina slaves are forbidden from hiring themselves out.

New York declares it illegal for blacks, Indians, and slaves to murder other blacks, Indians, and slaves.

New York forbids freed blacks, Indians, and mulatto slaves from owning real estate and holding property.

Pennsylvania prohibits the importation of slaves.

Slave Revolt: New York Slaves in New York City kill whites during an uprising, later squelched by the militia. Nineteen rebels are executed.

1712

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England secures the exclusive right to transport slaves to the Spanish colonies in America.

1713

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1714

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Maryland declares all slaves entering the province and their descendants to be slaves for life.

Rhode Island legalizes slavery.

1715

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1716

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New York enacts a fugitive slave law.

1717

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1718

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1719

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1720

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1721

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1722

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Virginia abolishes manumissions.

1723

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Louisiana's Code Noir is enacted in New Orleans to regulate black slavery and to banish Jews from the colony

French Louisiana prohibits slaves from marrying without the permission of their owners.

1724

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1725

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1726

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1727

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1728

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1729

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The number of male and female slaves imported to the North American British colonies balances out for the first time.

1730

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The Spanish reverse a 1730 decision and declare that slaves fleeing to Florida from Carolina will not be sold or returned.

1731

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Slaves aboard the ship of New Hampshire Captain John Major kill both captain and crew, seizing the vessel and its cargo.

1732

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Quaker Elihu Coleman's A Testimony against That Anti-Christian Practice of Maling Slaves of Men is published.

1733

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1734

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Georgia petitions Britain for the legalization of slavery.

Louis XV, King of France, declares that when an enslaved woman gives birth to the child of a free man, neither mother nor child can be sold. Further, after a certain time, mother and child will be freed.

Under an English law Georgia prohibits the importation and use of black slaves.

1735

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1736

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An indentured black servant petitions a Massachusetts court and wins his freedom after the death of his master.

1737

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Georgia's trustees permit the importation of black slaves.

Spanish Florida promises freedom and land to runaway slaves.

1738

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Slaves in Stono, South Carolina rebel, sacking and burning an armory and killing whites. Some 75 slaves in South Carolina steal weapons and flee toward freedom in Florida (then under Spanish rule). Crushed by the South Carolina militia, the revolt results in the deaths of 40 blacks and 20 whiteThe colonial militia puts an end to the rebellion before slaves are able to reach freedom in Florida.

1739

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Georgia and Carolina attempt to invade Florida in retaliation for the territory's policy toward runaways.

South Carolina passes the comprehensive Negro Act, making it illegal for slaves to move abroad, assemble in groups, raise food, earn money, and learn to read English. Owners are permitted to kill rebellious slaves if necessary.

1740

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1741

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1742

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1743

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1744

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1745

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1746

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1747

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1748

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Georgia repeals its prohibition and permits the importation of black slaves.

1749

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1750

image Carolus Linnaeus's Philosophia Botanica rejects any notion of evolution and continues his work in classifying plants.

Colonial South Carolina prohibits slaves from learning about or practicing medicine.

George II repeals the 1705 act, making slaves real estate in Virginia.

1751

image Linnaeus's Species Plantarum completes his development of the use of binary nomenclature in botany. The work still provides the foundation for the modern classification of species.

image Pierre-Louis de Maupertuis's Système de la Nature provides a theoretical speculation on heredity and the origin of species by chance.

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1752

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1753

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1754

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1755

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1756

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1757

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Pennsylvania Quakers forbid their members from owning slaves or participating in the slave trade.

1758

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1759

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Jupiter Hammon of Long Island, New York, publishes a book of poetry. This is believed to be the first volume written and published by an African-American

New Jersey prohibits the enlistment of slaves in the militia without their master's permission.

1760

image Joseph Gottlieb Kölreuter'S Vorläufige nachricht von einigen das geschlecht der pflantzen betreffende versuche and beobachtungen describes his research in heredity in plants.

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1761

Jean-Baptiste Robinet's five-volume De la nature claims that organic species form a linear scale of progress, without gaps.

image Between 1761 and 1766, Joseph Gottlieb Kölreuter (Germany) demonstrates that hybrid offspring receive traits from both parents (pollen and ovule transmit genetic information), and are intermediate in most traits. First scientific hybrid produced (tobacco). Demonstrates the identity of reciprocal crosses. Notes hybrid vigor, segregation of offspring (parental and non-parental types) from a hybrid.

Virginia restricts voting rights to white men.

1762

image Charles Bonnet's Considerations sur les corps organisées gives his theory of "preformation" — the idea that each creature is already preformed in miniature in the egg, and that the egg contains all future generations in even smaller scale, ad infinitum.

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1763

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1764

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1765

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1766

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The Virginia House of Burgess boycotts the British slave trade in protest of the Townsend Acts. Georgia and the Carolinas follow suit.

1767

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1768

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1769

image Charles Bonnet's Philosophical palingenesis, or ideas on the past and future states of living beings contains his view that the females of every species contain the germs of all future generations.

image Crispus Attucks, an escaped slave, becomes the first colonial resident to die for American independence when he is killed by the British in the Boston massacre.

Around 1770, the European slave trade with Africa reaches its peak, transporting nearly 80,000 enslaved Africans across the Atlantic annually.

Escaped slave, Crispus Attucks, is killed by British forces in Boston, Massachusetts. He is one of the first colonists to die in the war for independence.

1770

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1771

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image On June 22, Lord Chief Mansfield rules in the James Somerset case that an enslaved person brought to England becomes free and cannot be returned to slavery. His ruling establishes the legal basis for the freeing of England's fifteen thousand slaves.

James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw's writes the first autobiographical slave narrative.

1772

(no entry for this year)

image Phillis Wheatley of Boston publishes Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. This is the first book of poetry published by an African-American woman.

Phillis Wheatley becomes the first published African-American poet when a London publishing company releases a collection of her verse.

Slaves in Massachusetts unsuccessfully petition the government for their freedom.

The first separate black church in America is founded in South Carolina.

1773

(no entry for this year)

Rhode Island becomes first colony to prohibit importation of slaves.

Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Georgia prohibit the importation of slaves.

The First Continental Congress bans trade with Britain and vows to discontinue the slave trade after the 1st of December.

Virginia takes action against slave importation.

1774

(no entry for this year)

Lord Dunmore, promises freedom to male slaves who join British army.

image General Washington forbids recruiting officers enlisting blacks to fight in defense of American freedom.

Abolitionist Society Anthony Benezet of Philadelphia founds the world’s first abolitionist society. Benjamin Franklin becomes its president in 1787.

In April, the first battles of the Revolutionary war are waged between the British and Colonial armies at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. Black Minutemen participate in the fighting.

In July, George Washington announces a ban on the enlistment of free blacks and slaves in the colonial army. By the end of the year, he reverses the ban, ordering the Continental Army to accept the service of free blacks.

In November, Virginia Governor John Murray, Lord Dunmore, issues a proclamation announcing that any slave fighting on the side of the British will be liberated.

The slave population in the colonies is nearly 500,000. In Virginia, the ratio of free colonists to slaves is nearly 1:1. In South Carolina it is approximately 1:2. 1775 Georgia takes action against slave importation.

1775

(no entry for this year)

Continental Congress approves enlistment of free blacks .

Delaware prohibits the importation of African slaves.

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, members of the Continental Congress sign the Declaration of Independence.

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Society of Friends, also known as the Quakers, forbids its members from holding slaves.

1776

(no entry for this year)

Vermont amends its constitution to ban slavery. Over the next 25 years, other Northern states emancipate their slaves and ban the institution: Pennsylvania, 1780; Massachusetts and New Hampshire, 1783; Connecticut and Rhode Island, 1784; New York, 1799; and New Jersey, 1804. Some of the state laws stipulate gradual emancipation.

New York enfranchises all free propertied men regardless of color or prior servitude.

Vermont is the first of the thirteen colonies to abolish slavery and enfranchise all adult males.

1777

(no entry for this year)

Rhode Island forbids the removal of slaves from the state.

Virginia prohibits the importation of slaves.

1778

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1779

The peculiar inheritance of human color-blindness reported to The Royal Society of London by Michael Lort.

Massachusetts abolishes slavery and grants African-American men the right to vote.

A freedom clause in the Massachusetts constitution is interpreted as an abolishment of slavery. Massachusetts enfranchises all men regardless of race.

Delaware makes it illegal to enslave imported Africans.

Pennsylvania begins gradual emancipation.

1780

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Los Angeles, California, is founded by 54 settlers, including 26 of African ancestry.

1781

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1782

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American Revolution Ends Britain and the infant United States sign the Peace of Paris treaty.

1783

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Congress narrowly defeats Thomas Jefferson’s proposal to ban slavery in new territories after 1800.

1784

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New York frees all slaves who served in the Revolutionary Army.

1785

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1786

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The Northwest Ordinance bans slavery in the Northwest Territory (what becomes the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin). The ordinance together with state emancipation laws create a free North.

1787

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The Massachusetts General Court (legislature), following an incident in which free blacks were kidnapped and transported to the island of Martinique, declares the slave trade illegal and provides monetary damages to victims of kidnappings.

1788

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1789

image Johann Wolfgang Goethe's Versuch, die Metamorphose der Pflanzen zu erklären (Attempt to explain the metamorphosis of plants) claims incorrectly that all plant structures are modified leaves, but clearly espouses evolution.

Society of Friends petitions Congress for abolition of slavery.

1790

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1791

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1792

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To enforce Article IV, Section 2, the U.S. Congress enacts the Fugitive Slave Law. It allows slaveowners to cross state lines to recapture their slaves. They must then prove ownership in a court of law. In reaction, some Northern states pass personal liberty laws, granting the alleged fugitive slaves the rights to habeas corpus, jury trials, and testimony on their own behalf. These Northern state legislatures also pass anti-kidnapping laws to punish slave-catchers who kidnap free blacks, instead of fugitive slaves.

1793

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1794

image Erasmus Darwin (Charles' grandfather) publishes Zoonomia, or the Laws of Organic Life.

James Hutton publishes An Investigation of the Principles of Knowledge. Buried in the 2,138-page philosophical tome is a chapter about variety in nature in which Hutton anticipates Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection.

image John Dalton's Extraordinary facts relating to the vision of colors gives an early account of red-green color blindness, which he refers to as Daltonism, since he is afflicted with the condition.

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1795

image James Hutton's Theory of the Earth published, interpreting certain geological strata as former sea beds. Hutton proposes geological theory of gradualism.

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1796

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1797

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1798

image Publication of Thomas Malthus' Essay on the Principle of Population, a work that Darwin asserted helped him frame the principle of evolution by natural selection.

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1799

image The first mammoth fossil fully documented by modern science is discovered near the delta of the Lena River in 1799 by Ossip Schumachov, a Siberian hunter. Schumachov allows it to thaw (a process taking several years) until he can retrieve the tusks for sale to the ivory trade in Yakutsk. He then abandons the specimen, allowing it to decay before its recovery. In 1806, Russian botanist Mikhail Adams rescues what remained of the specimen and brought it to the Zoological Museum of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg. The specimen, which became known as the Adams Mammoth, is stuffed and mounted, and continues to be on display at the Zoological Institute.

Charles White publishes An Account of the Regular Gradation in Man, and in Different Animals and Vegetables, a treatise on the great chain of being, showing people of color at the bottom of the human chain.

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1800

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1801

image Jean-Baptiste Lamarck's Système de Animaux sans Vertèbres (System for Animals without Vertebrae) includes a classification system for invertebrates and a preliminary view of his ideas of evolution.

The Ohio Constitution outlaws slavery. It also prohibits free blacks from voting.

1802

In Natural Theology, William Paley uses the analogy of a watch requiring a watchmaker to argue that the universe implies an intelligent designer.

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1803

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1804

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1805

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1806

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The Slave Trade Act 1807 or the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act 1807, was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed on 25 March 1807, with the title of "An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade". The original act is in the Parliamentary Archives. The act abolished the slave trade in the British Empire, in particular the Atlantic slave trade, and also encouraged British action to press other European states to abolish their slave trades, but it did not abolish slavery itself.

1807

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United States Bans Slave Trade Importing African slaves is outlawed, but smuggling continues.

1808

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1809

image 12 Feb 1809

Charles Darwin is born

image Jean Baptiste de Lamarck's theory of evolution presented with the publication of his Philosophie Zoologique, which emphasized the fundamental unity of life and the capacity of species to vary.

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1810

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1811

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1812

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1813

image Swiss-French botanist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle introduces the word TAXONOMY in his lifelong project of a 21-volume plant encyclopedia. Seven volumes are published during his lifetime, the remainder after his death.

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1814

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image Three thousand troops of the United States Army, led by General Andrew Jackson, defeat the British at the Battle of New Orleans. Six hundred of the US troops are African-American.

1815

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1816

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1817

image Georges Cuvier's Le règne animal distribué d'après son organisation (The animal kingdom, distributed according to its organization) gives an account of the whole animal kingdom, dividing it into four distinct groups.

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1818

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The Canadian government refuses to cooperate with the American government in the apprehension of fugitive slaves living in Canada. Consequently Canada becomes the destination for 40,000 fugitive slaves from United States between 1819 in 1861.

1819

Debate over slavery in the US heats up; The Missouri Compromise admits Maine into the Union as a free state, with Missouri to enter the next year as a slave state. Slavery is banned north of the 36° 30' line of latitude in the Louisiana Territory.

Missouri Compromise Missouri is admitted to the Union as a slave state, Maine as a free state. Slavery is forbidden in any subsequent territories north of latitude .

1820

image Christian Friedrich Nasse formulated Nasse's law: hemophilia occurs only in males and is passed on by unaffected females.

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1821

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Slave Revolt: South Carolina Freed slave Denmark Vesey attempts a rebellion in Charleston. Thirty-five participants in the ill-fated uprising are hanged.

1822

Etienne Geoffroy publishes Anatomical Philosophy discussing similarities between skeletal structures — such as bat wings, paws and hands — that support the evolutionary claims of Lamarck. He also argues that arthropods and vertebrates have similar but inverse body plans, an assertion that will ultimately be widely accepted.

image Between 1822-1824, Thomas Andrew Knight, John Goss, and Alexander Seton all independently perform crosses with the pea and observe dominance in the immediate progeny, and segregation of various hereditary characters in the next generation. However, they do not study later generations or determine the numerical ratios in which the characters are transmitted.

Slavery is abolished in Chile.

1823

image Thomas Andrew Knight confirms reports of dominance, recessivity, and segregation in peas, but does not detect regularities.

Mexico outlaws slavery. This decision creates the incentive for Anglo Texans to fight for independence in 1835-1836.

1824

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1825

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1826

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1827

image Karl Ernst von Baer first demonstrated the mammalian ovum; he regarded the sperm cells as "Entozoa," i.e., parasites, and named them spermatozoa.

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1828

A year after discovering the mammalian egg cell, Karl Ernst von Baer publishes Entwickelungsgeschichte der Thiere tracing the developmental history of animals.

image Publication of Karl Ernst von Baer's The Embryology of Animals which strongly opposed preformationism.

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1829

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1830

image Charles Lyell's multi-volume Principles of Geology appear (between 1830 amd 1833), advancing the theory of uniformitarianism, i.e., the view that geological formations are explainable in terms of forces and conditions observable at present.

Nat Turner leads a slave rebellion in Southampton, Virginia, killing at least 57 whites. Hundreds of black slaves are killed in retaliation.

Alabama makes it illegal for enslaved or free blacks to preach.

image In Boston, William Lloyd Garrison founds the abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator, signaling a dramatic shift in the antislavery movement. In the previous decades, it had centered in the South and favored a combination of compensated emancipation and colonization of freed slaves back to Africa. In the 1830s, the abolitionist movement becomes the dominant voice among antislavery advocates. Abolitionists demand the immediate end to slavery, which they consider to be a moral evil, without compensation to slaveowners.

Nat Turner, a literate slave who believes he is chosen to be the Moses of his people, instigates a slave revolt in Virginia. He and his followers kill 57 whites, but the revolt is unsuccessful and up to 200 slaves are killed. After an intense debate, the Virginia legislature narrowly rejects a bill to emancipate Virginia's slaves. The widespread fear of slave revolts, compounded by the rise of abolitionism, leads legislatures across the South to increase the harshness of their slave codes. Also, expressions of anti-slavery sentiment are suppressed throughout the South through state and private censorship.

North Carolina enacts a statute that bans teaching enslaved people to read and write.

Slave Revolt: Virginia Slave preacher Nat Turner leads a two-day uprising against whites, killing about 60. Militiamen crush the revolt then spend two months searching for Turner, who is eventually caught and hanged. Enraged Southerners impose harsher restrictions on their slaves.

1831

image Charles Darwin joins the crew of the HMS Beagle as the ship's naturalist. The Beagle plans a two-year voyage to map the coast of South America. This turns out to be a five-year trip.

Patrick Matthew publishes On Naval Timber and Arboriculture with an appendix describing what Charles Darwin will later name natural selection. After becoming aware of Matthew's hypothesis, Darwin will acknowledge it in a reprint of On the Origin of Species.

image Robert Brown published his observations reporting the discovery and widespread occurrence of nuclei in cells.

Oberlin College is founded in Ohio. It admits African-Americans. By 1860, one third of its students are black.

1832

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The American Anti-Slavery Society is established in Philadelphia.

The British Parliament abolishes slavery in the entire British Empire.

1833

image The first volume of the five-volume Recherches sur les poissons fossiles (Researches on Fossil Fishes) by Jean-Louis-Rodolphe Agassiz is published.

South Carolina bans the teaching of blacks, and slave or free, in its borders.

1834

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Texas declares its independence from Mexico. In its constitution as an independent nation, Texas recognizes slavery and makes it difficult for free blacks to remain there.

Southern states expel abolitionists and forbid the mailing of antislavery propaganda.

1835

image While serving as scientific officer on the HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin visits the Galapagos Islands. He observes that the many varieties of finches on the islands seem to have developed from a common ancestor found on the mainland of South America.

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1836

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1837

Charles Darwin formulates the theory of natural selection to explain evolution. Fearful of the reaction his theory will cause, he delays publishing.

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1838

image image M. J. Schleiden and T. Schwann develop the cell theory. Schleiden notes nucleoli within nuclei.

image La Amistad was a 19th-century two-masted schooner, owned by a Spaniard living in Cuba. It became renowned in July 1839 for a slave revolt by Mende captives, who had been enslaved in Sierra Leone, and were being transported from Havana, Cuba to their purchasers' plantations. The African captives took control of the ship, killing some of the crew and ordering the survivors to sail the ship to Africa. The Spanish survivors secretly maneuvered the ship north, and La Amistad was captured off the coast of Long Island by the brig USS Washington. The Mende and La Amistad were interned in Connecticut while federal court proceedings were undertaken for their disposition. The owners of the ship and Spanish government claimed the slaves as property; but the US had banned the African trade and argued that the Mende were legally free. Because of issues of ownership and jurisdiction, the case gained international attention. Former president John Quincy Adams argued on behalf of the slaves when the appeal was brought before the U.S. Supreme Court, which eventually determined the Africans to be free men. The case became a symbol in the United States in the movement to abolish slavery.

1839

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1840

image Charles Darwin's Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle appears.

Martin Barry expressed the belief that the spermatozoon enters the egg.

The U.S.S. Creole, a ship carrying slaves from Virginia to Louisiana, is seized by the slaves on board and taken to Nassau, where they are free.

1841

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image Frederick Douglass leads a successful campaign against Rhode Island's proposed Dorr Constitution, which would have continued the prohibition on black male voting rights.

In Prigg v. Pennsylvania, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793, stating that slaveowners have a right to retrievetheir "property." In so doing, the court rules that Pennsylvania's anti-kidnapping law is unconstitutional. At the same time, the Supreme Court declares that enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Lawis a federal responsibility in which states are not compelled to participate. Between 1842 and 1850, nine Northern states pass new personal liberty laws which forbid state officials from cooperating in the return of alleged fugitive slaves and bar the use of state facilities for that purpose.

Slavery is abolished in Uruguay.

The Virginia Legislature votes against abolishing slavery.

1842

image Charles Darwin's book The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs being the first part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, is published. During the year Darwin composes an abstract of his theory of species evolution.

image Carl Wilhelm von Nägeli (1817-1891) publishes Zur Entwicklungsgeschichte des Pollens. His paper describes cell division in plants with remarkable accuracy, and discusses seed formation in flowering plants.

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1843

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1844

image Charles Darwin first outlines his thoughts on natural selection in an unpublished essay.

image Robert Chambers, a Scottish journalist, publishes (anonymously) his Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, an early book outlining an evolutionary view of the natural world.

image The second part of the Geology of the Beagle, Charles Darwin's Geological Observations on Volcanic Islands Visited During the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, is published. Darwin's book claims to supply evidence for the geological theories of Charles Lyell (1797-1875), from areas that Lyell himself had never seen.

image That all the cells in an organism are generated from successive divisions of the egg cell is described by Rudolf Albert von Kölliker (1817-1905). Kölliker shows that the egg is itself a cell.

image Frederick Douglass publishes his autobiography, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.

1845

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Mexican-American War Defeated, Mexico yields an enormous amount of territory to the United States. Americans then wrestle with a controversial topic: Is slavery permitted in the new lands?

1846

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image The North Star, an abolitionist newspaper, begins publication in Rochester, New York. The paper is founded by escaped slave Frederick Douglass (1817-1895), with money he earned as a result of his autobiography.

Liberia is formed as a home for released American slaves.

Missouri bans the education of free blacks.

The Istanbul slave market is abolished.

1847

Jakob Mathias Schleiden and Theodor Schwann announce that cells are the basic units of all living structures.

Slavery is abolished in old French and Danish colonies.

1848

image On the archetype and homologies of the vertebrate skeleton, by Richard Owen (1804-1892), is published. In the book Owen argues that the skull, and other parts of the body, are formed by the modification of the vertebra of different animals.

Richard Owen describes "homologies" — similarities of design in bird wings, fish fins and human hands.

image Charles Lewis Reason becomes the first African-American college instructor when he is hired at predominantly white Free Mission College (later New York Central College) to teach Greek, Latin, French, and mathematics.

image Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery and goes on to lead more than 300 slaves to freedom on the underground railroad.

1849

image Botanist Carl Friedrich von Gärtner (1772-1850) publishes Versuche und Beobachtungen über die Bastarderzeugung im Pflanzenreiche. The book describes thousands of experiments, many involving the production of hybrids, on more than 500 species of plants. Mendel will study this book in detail when he attends the University of Vienna in the early 1850s, and will cite the book in the opening of his paper of 1865.

The Compromise of 1850 is introduced into Congress by Henry Clay as an omnibus bill designed to settle disputes arising from the conclusion of the Mexican War. It passes after Stephen Douglas divides the bill into several parts: California enters the Union as a free state; the slave trade (but not slavery) is abolished in Washington D.C.; the fugitive slave law is strengthened; and the Utah and New Mexico Territories are opened to slavery on the basis of popular sovereignty (allowing territorial voters to decide the issue without federa linterference).

1850

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1851

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1852

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1853

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Kansas-Nebraska Act: In an attempt to spur population growth in the western territories in advance of a transcontinental railroad, Stephen Douglas introduces a bill to establish the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. In order to gain Southern support, the bill stipulates that slavery in the territories will be decided by popular sovereignty. Thus the Kansas-Nebraska Act repeals the Missouri Compromise ban on slavery north of 36° 30' in the lands of the Louisiana Purchase.

Ostend Manifesto: The U.S. ministers to Britain, France, and Spain meet in Ostend, Belgium. They draft a policy recommendation to President Pierce, urging him to attempt again to purchase Cuba from Spain and, if Spain refuses, to take the island by force. When the secret proposal, called the Ostend Manifesto, is leaked to the press, it creates an uproar since Cuba would likely become another slave state.

image On May 24, Virginia fugitive slave Anthony Burns is captured in Boston and returned to slavery under the provisions of the Fugitive Slave Act. Fifty thousand Boston residents watch his transport through the streets of the city in shackles. A Boston church raises $1500 to purchase his freedom and Burns returns to the city in 1855, a free man.

On May 30, the Kansas-Nebraska act is passed by Congress. The act repeals the Missouri Compromise and permits the admission of Kansas and Nebraska territories to the Union after their white male voters decide the fate of slavery in those territories.

Slavery is abolished in Peru and Venezuela.

The Republican Party is formed in the summer in opposition to the extension of slavery into the western territories.

1854

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The Massachusetts Legislature outlaws racially segregated schools.

1855

image Alfred Russel Wallace publishes "On the Law which has Regulated the Introduction of New Species," anticipating Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

image Rudolf Virchow states the principle that new cells come into being only by division of previously existing cells: Omnis cellula e cellula.

image The Caning of Charles Sumner: Senator Charles Sumner delivers a stinging speech in the U.S. Senate, "The Crime against Kansas," in which he attacks slavery, the South, and singles out his Senate colleague, Andrew Butler of South Carolina, for criticism. In retaliation, Butler's nephew, Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina, attacks Sumner with a cane while the Massachusetts senator is seated at his desk on the floor of the Senate. The injuries he sustains cause Sumner to be absent from the Senate for four years. The episode revealed the polarization in America, as Sumner became a martyr in the North and Brooks a hero in the South. Northerners were outraged. Southerners sent Brooks hundreds of new canes in endorsement of his assault. One was inscribed "Hit him again." Brooks claimed that he had not intended to kill Sumner, or else he would have used a different weapon. In a speech to the House defending his actions, Brooks stated that he "meant no disrespect to the Senate of the United States" or the House by his attack on Sumner. He was tried in a District of Columbia court, convicted for assault, and fined $300 ($8,000 in today's dollars), but received no prison sentence.

1856

image The remains of the first known example of what come to be known as the "Neanderthals" is found in a cave near Düsseldorf, in the Neander Valley. The discovery was made by limestone quarry miners and consists of a skullcap, two femora, the three right arm bones, two of the left arm bones, ilium, and fragments of a scapula and ribs. The fossils were given to Johann Carl Fuhlrott, a local teacher and amateur naturalist. The first description of the remains was made by anatomist Hermann Schaaffhausen and the find was announced jointly in 1857.In 1997, the specimen was the first to yield Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA fragments. The description of this discovery represents the beginning of paleoanthropology as a scientific discipline.

Louis Agassiz publishes Essay on Classification advocating a theory of multiple creations and contradicting both evolution and Noah's ark.

image Gregor Mendel, a monk at the Augustinian monastery of St. Thomas in Brünn, Austria (now Brno, Czechoslovakia), begins breeding experiments with the garden pea, Pisum sativum.

image Farmer Hinton Rowan Helper publishes The Impending Crisis of the South, and How to Meet It, in which he argues that slavery in economically unwise, and particularly devastating to small farmers who do not own slaves. He writes that slavery is "the root of all the shame, poverty, ignorance, tyranny and imbecility" in the South. He also argues that slavery foolishly ties up economic resources in human beings when it might be spent on labor-saving improvements.

The African slave trade is prohibited in the Ottoman Empire

image The Dred Scott Decision makes the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional and increases tension between North and South over slavery in the United States. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney asserted that blacks were "beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect." This embarrassing decision represents a low point in the history of the United States Supreme Court.

1857

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1858

Rudolf Virchow finalizes the cell theory originally announced by Schleiden and Schwann 11 years earlier by declaring that cells are the basic units of all living things, and all cells are formed by the division of existing cells.

image Alfred Russel Wallace sends to Darwin a manuscript — "On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type" — that shows clearly that Wallace has independently formulated a model of evolution by natural selection.

image image Darwin's and Wallace's ideas are jointly presented to the Linnaean Society of London.

Harriet Wilson of Milford, New Hampshire, publishes Our Nig; or Sketches from the Life of a Free Black, the first novel by an African-American woman.

image On October 16, John Brown leads 20 men, including five African-Americans, in an unsuccessful attempt to seize the Federal Armory at Harper's ferry, Virginia, with the goal of inspiring a slave insurrection. He was captured by US troops under the command of Colonel Robert E. Lee, tried, and hanged on December 2.

1859

image Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species.

On December 20, South Carolina secedes from the union, setting in motion the forces leading to the US Civil war.

Southern Secession South Carolina secedes in December. More states follow the next year.

1860

image Louis Agassiz attacks Darwin's the origin of species, rejecting the idea of evolution of the species and arguing that each species was created separately.

image Thomas Henry Huxley (sometimes known as Darwin's bulldog) clashes with Bishop "Soapy Sam" Wilberforce about evolution at the annual meeting of The British Association for the Advancement of Science, in what has come to be known as the Huxley-Wilberforce debate.

Bishop Wilberforce is supposed to have asked Huxley sarcastically whether "it was through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed descent from a monkey." Huxley responded, "If then the question is put to me whether I would rather have a miserable ape for a grandfather or a man highly endowed by nature and possessed of great means of influence and yet employs these faculties and that influence for the mere purpose of introducing ridicule into a grave scientific discussion, I unhesitatingly affirm my preference for the ape." Or words to that effect.

United States Civil War Four years of brutal conflict claim 623,000 lives.

Congress passes the First Confiscation Act, which prevents Confederate slave owners from re-enslaving runaways.

1861

image image Between 1861 and 1862, Max Johann Sigismund Schultze (Germany) and Heinrich Anton de Bary (Germany) establish the essential unity of protoplasm in all living cells.

On April 16, Congress abolishes slavery in the District of Columbia.

1862

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Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation takes effect on January 1, legally freeing slaves in areas of the South still in rebellion against the United States.

1863

Alfred Russel Wallace describes the "Wallace line," the dividing line between Indo-Malayan and Austro-Malayan fauna, in Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London.

image image Dominique Alexandre Godron and Charles Victor Naudin (France) independently report experiments in plant hybridization. Naudin confirmed Sageret's work, in general discussed work of the early hybridizers, and reported dominance and segregation in Datura (jimsonweed) hybrids. He did not deal with single characters and reported no statistical observations on the second generation. His theoretical explanation of his facts was a forerunner of Mendel's ideas, but inferred rather than deduced.

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1864

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On February 1, Abraham Lincoln signs the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution outlawing slavery throughout the United States.

image The Ku Klux Klan is formed on December 24 in Polanski, Tennessee, by six Confederate veterans. Nathan Bedford Forrest, a former Confederate cavalry general and slave trader, serves as the Klan's first grand wizard or leader-in-chief.

1865

Franz Schweigger-Seidel and A. von la Valette St. George (Germany) independently prove that a spermatozoon is a single cell and contains nucleus and cytoplasm

image Gregor Mendel presents his work on inheritance in peas to the Brünn Natural History Society. The results are published the following year.

On June 13, Congress approves the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing due process and equal protection under the law to all citizens. The amendment also grants citizenship to African-Americans.

1866

German zoologist Ernst Haeckel publishes General Morphology of Organisms, the first detailed genealogical tree relating all known organisms, incorporating the principles of Darwinian evolution.

image Ernst Heinrich Haeckel (Häckel) hypothesizes that the nucleus of a cell transmits its hereditary information.

image Mendel publishes his work on heredity, Versuche über Pflanzen Hybriden.

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1867

H. S. Bidwell (United States) reports controlled pollination in maize.

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1868

image Charles Darwin publishes The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, in which he offers his own theory of heredity, which he called the "Provisional Hypothesis of Pangenesis."

Ernst Haeckel publishes Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, subdividing humanity into 12 separate species. He also asserts that evolution consists of 22 phases, the 21st being the "missing link" between apes and humans.

Thomas Henry Huxley publishes "On the Animals which are Most Nearly Intermediate between Birds and Reptiles," arguing that birds are descendants of dinosaurs. This suggestion will not be taken very seriously for another century.

On February 26, Congress sends the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution to the states for approval. The amendment guarantees African-American males the right to vote.

1869

image Francis Galton publishes Hereditary Genius. In it he describes a scientific study of human pedigrees from which he concludes that intelligence has a genetic basis.

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1870

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1871

image Publication of Charles Darwin's Descent of Man, in which the role of sexual selection in evolution is described for the first time.

Lord Kelvin suggests that "the germs of life might have been brought to the Earth by some meteorite," an idea that will enjoy support a century later.

image Johann Friedrich Miescher isolates a substance which he calls NUCLEIN from the nuclei of white blood cells. The substance was soluble in alkalis but not in acids and came to be known as nucleic acid.

image Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet showed the importance of statistical analysis for biologists and laid the foundation of biometry.

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1872

image Ferdinand Julius Cohn coined the term BACTERIUM and founded the study of bacteriology.

Slavery is abolished in Puerto Rico.

Spain decrees the end of slavery in Cuba, still a Spanish colony.

1873

image Anton Schneider observed and described the behavior of nuclear filaments (chromosomes) during cell division in his study of the platyhelminth Mesostoma. His account was the first accurate description of the process of mitosis in animal cells.

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1874

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1875

image Eduard Strasburger accurately described the processes of mitotic cell division in plants.

image Francis Galton demonstrates the usefulness of twin studies for elucidating the relative influence of nature (heredity) and nurture (environment) upon behavioral traits.

image Oscar Hertwig concludes from a study on sea urchins that fertilization in both animals and plants consists of the physical union of the two nuclei contributed by the male and female parents.

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1876

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The Compromise of 1877 ends Reconstruction and gives the Presidency to Rutherford B. Hayes. Although Democratic presidential candidate Samuel Tilden won the popular vote, Southern Democratic leaders agreed to support Rutherford Hayes' efforts to obtain the disputed electoral votes of Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina in exchange for the withdrawal of the last federal troops from the South and the end of federal efforts to protect the civil rights of African Americans.

Frederick Douglass becomes US Marshal for the District of Columbia.

1877

image Hermann Fol reports watching the spermatozoan of a starfish penetrate the egg. He was able to see the transfer of the intact nucleus of the sperm into the egg, where it became the male pronucleus.

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1878

image Wilhelm Friedrich Kühne proposed the term ENZYME (meaning "in yeast") and distinguished enzymes from the micro-organisms that produce them.

(no entry for this year)

1879

image From 1879 through 1882, Walther Flemming describes and names CHROMATIN, MITOSIS, and the SPIREME. He makes the first accurate counts of chromosome numbers and accurately drew the "longitudinal splitting" of chromosomes.

(no entry for this year)

1880

image image image Throughout the decade of 1880-1890, Walther Flemming, Eduard Strasburger, Edouard van Beneden, and others elucidate the essential facts of cell division and stressed the importance of the qualitative and quantitative equality of chromosome distribution to daughter cells.

In January, the Tennessee State Legislature votes to segregate railroad passenger cars.

image On the Fourth of July, Booker T. Washington opens Tuskegee Institute in central Alabama.

1881

(no entry for this year)

(no entry for this year)

1882

Walther Flemming publishes accurate depictions of cell division (mitosis) in Zellsubstanz, Kern und Zelltheilung.

image Eduard Strasburger coins the terms CYTOPLASM and NUCLEOPLASM.

image W. Flemming discovers lampbrush chromosomes and coins the term MITOSIS.

On October 16, the United States Supreme Court declares invalid the Civil Rights Act of 1875, stating that the federal government cannot bar corporations or individuals from discriminating on the basis of race.

1883

image August Weismann points out the distinction in animals between the somatic cell line and the germ cells, stressing that only changes in germ cells are transmitted to further generations.

image Edouard van Beneden announced the principles of genetic continuity of chromosomes and reported the occurrence of chromosome reduction at germ cell formation. The sperm and egg are haploid and fertilization restores the diploid chromosome number.

image Wilhelm Roux offers a possible explanation for the function of mitosis.

image William Keith Brooks, a professor at The Johns Hopkins University, publishes The Law of Heredity: A Study of the Cause of Variation and the Origin of Living Organisms. Although this speculative work did not significantly advance the understanding of heredity, brooks' thinking is important because during his career he provided instruction to and supervised the early research of Thomas H. Morgan, Edmund Beecher Wilson, and William Bateson — ultimately some of the most important contributors to the new science of genetics.

(no entry for this year)

1884

image image image image During 1884-88, identification of the cell nucleus as the basis for inheritance was independently reported by Oscar Hertwig, Eduard Strasburger, Albrecht von Kölliker, and August Weismann.

image Gregor Mendel dies on January 6th, without ever knowing that his work on peas would lead to the transformation of biological research.

image image image Walther Flemming, Eduard Strasburger and Edouard van Beneden demonstrate that chromosome doubling occurs by a process of longitudinal splitting. Strasburger describes and names the PROPHASE, METAPHASE, and ANAPHASEstages of chromosomal division.

(no entry for this year)

1885

image August Weismann formulates the germ-plasm theory which held that the germ plasm was separate from the somatoplasm and was continuous from generation to generation.

image Carl Rabl theorized the individuality of chromosomes in all stages of the cell cycle.

image Walther Flemming observed sister chromatids passing to opposite poles of the cell during mitosis.

Slavery is abolished in Cuba.

1886

image Francis Galton devised a new useful statistical tool, the correlation table.

image Hugo de Vries (Holland) discovers aberrant evening primrose plants at Hilversum, Holland. Experiments with these extending over 15 years formed the basis for his mutation theory of evolution.

African-American players are banned from major league baseball.

Slavery is abolished in Brazil

1887

image August Weismann elaborated an all-encompassing theory of chromosome behavior during cell division and fertilization and predicted the occurrence of a reduction division (meiosis) in all sexual organisms.

image Edouard van Beneden demonstrated chromosome reduction in gamete maturation, thereby confirming August Weismann's predictions.

image Wilhelm Roux put forth the suggestion that the linearly arranged qualities of the chromosomes were equally transmitted to both daughter cells at meiosis.

(no entry for this year)

1888

German anatomist W. von Waldeyer names chromosomes.

image Heinrich Wilhelm Gottfried von Waldeyer names the CHROMOSOME.

image Theodor Boveri verifies August Weismann's predictions of chromosome reduction by direct observation in Ascaris.

Florida becomes the first state to use the poll tax to disenfranchise black voters.

image Frederick Douglass is appointed minister to Haiti.

1889

image Francis Galton publishes Natural Inheritance. In it he describes the quantitative measurement of metric traits in populations. He thus founds biometry and the statistical study of variation. Ultimately, he formulates the Law of Ancestral Inheritance, a statistical description of the relative contributions to heredity made by one's ancestors.

(no entry for this year)

1890

image The numerical equality of paternal and maternal chromosomes at fertilization was established by Theodor Boveri and Jean-Louis-Léon Guignard.

(no entry for this year)

1891

(no entry for this year)

A record 230 people are lynched in the United States this year; 161 are black and 69 white.

1892

image Publication of August Weismann's book Das Keimplasma (The Germ Plasm) emphasized meiosis as an exact mechanism of chromosome distribution.

(no entry for this year)

1893

(no entry for this year)

(no entry for this year)

1894

image Hans Driesch expounded the view that all nuclei of an organism were equipotential but varied in their activity in accordance with the differentiation of tissues.

image Karl Pearson published the first in a long series of contributions to the mathematical theory of evolution. Methods for analyzing statistical frequency distributions were developed in detail.

image William Bateson's Materials for the Study of Variation emphasized the importance of discontinuous variations, foreshadowing the rediscovery of Mendel's work.

(no entry for this year)

1895

(no entry for this year)

In Plessy vs. Ferguson, the United States Supreme Court declares legalized segregation in the United States to be constitutional.

1896

image E. B. Wilson publishes The Cell in Development and Heredity. This influential treatise (ultimately reprinted in several editions) distills the information compiled concerning cytology in the half-century since Schleiden and Schwann put forth the cell theory.

(no entry for this year)

1897

(no entry for this year)

The United States Supreme Court, in Williams vs. Mississippi, rules that poll taxes and literacy tests do not violate the Constitution.

1898

(no entry for this year)

(no entry for this year)

1899

image image L. Cuénot (France) working with animals, and Strasburger (Germany) working with plants, advance theory that sex is controlled within the germ cell, not by environment.

Richard Altmann renames "nuclein" as NUCLEIC ACID.

The First International Congress of Genetics held in London.

image William Bateson writes a paper on hybridisation and cross-breeding as a method of scientific investigation that anticipates Mendel's rediscovery.

(no entry for this year)

1901

image H. de Vries adopts the term MUTATION to describe sudden, spontaneous, drastic alterations in the hereditary material of Oenothera.

T. H. Montgomery studies spermatogenesis in various species of Hemiptera. He concludes that maternal chromosomes only pair with paternal chromosomes during meiosis.

(no entry for this year)

1902

image Archibald Garrod, a British physician, reports that alkaptonuria (a human disease) seems to be inherited as a Mendelian recessive.

image C. E. McClung argues that particular chromosomes determine the sex of the individual carrying them, not just in insects, but perhaps in other species (including man).

image Walter Sutton concludes that (a) chromosomes have individuality, (b) that they occur in pairs, with one member of each pair contributed by each parent, and (c) that the paired chromosomes separate from each other during meiosis.

image T. Boveri studies sea urchin embryos and finds that in order to develop normally, the organism must have a full set of chromosomes, and from this he concludes that the individual chromosomes must carry different essential hereditary determinants.

image William Bateson coins terms that will become essential to describing findings in the new science of heredity: GENETICS, F1, F2, ALLELOMORPH (later shortened to ALLELE), HOMOZYGOTE, HETEROZYGOTE, and EPISTASIS.

image W. E. B. Du Bois' The Souls of Black Folk is published on April 27. Du Bois rejects the gradualism of Booker T. Washington and calls for agitation on behalf of African-American rights.

1903

image The concepts of PHENOTYPE, GENOTYPE, and SELECTION were introduced and clearly defined by Wilhelm Ludwig Johannsen.

(no entry for this year)

1905

K. S. Merezhkovsky suggests that chloroplasts originated as a cyanobacterium swallowed by a protozoan, i.e., algal and plant cells result from two independent organisms that became symbionts. The idea will be largely forgotten until it is suggested again in the 1960s.

image Lucien Claude Cuénot performs crosses between mice carrying a gene that gives them yellow fur. Since they always produce yellow furred and agouti offspring in a 2:1 ratio, he concludes they are heterozygous. (In 1910, W. E. Castle and C. C. Little will show that yellow homozygotes die in utero. This dominant allele is thus the first gene shown to behave as a homozygous lethal.)

(no entry for this year)

1906

image image William Bateson and Reginald Crundall Punnett report the discovery of two new genetic principles: LINKAGE and GENE INTERACTION.

image Alain Locke of Philadelphia, a Harvard graduate, becomes the first African-American Rhodes scholar to study at Oxford University in England.

1907

(no entry for this year)

(no entry for this year)

1908

image Godfrey Harold Hardy, a Cambridge mathematician, writes a letter to the editor of Science, suggesting that Mendelian mechanisms acting alone have no effect on allele frequencies. The letter begins, I am reluctant to intrude in a discussion concerning matters of which I have no expert knowledge, and I should have expected the very simple point which I wish to make to have been familiar to biologists. However,... This short (less than one page) letter constitutes Hardy's entire lifetime contribution to the field of biology, yet still forms the mathematical basis for population genetics.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is formed on February 12 in New York City.

1909

image T. H. Morgan, later to become the first recipient of the Nobel Prize for work in genetics, writes a paper expressing doubts about the profusion of Mendelian explanations for inherited properties.

image A. E. Garrod publishes Inborn Errors of Metabolism, the earliest discussion of the biochemical genetics of man (or any other species).

image George H. Shull advocates the use of self-fertilized lines in production of commercial seed corn. The hybrid corn program that resulted, created an abundance of foodstuffs worth billions of dollars.

H. Nilsson Ehle puts forward the multiple-factor hypothesis to explain the quantitative inheritance of seed-coat color in wheat.

image W. Johannsen's studies of the inheritance of seed size in self-fertilized lines of beans leads him to realize the necessity of distinguishing between the appearance of an organism and its genetic constitution. He invents the terms PHENOTYOPE and GENOTYPE to serve this purpose, and he also coins the word GENE.

image On July 4, boxer Jack Johnson defeats Jim Jeffries in Reno, Nevada, to become the first African-American world heavyweight champion.

1910

(no entry for this year)

1912

(no entry for this year)

On April 11, President Woodrow Wilson initiates the racial segregation of workplaces, restaurants, and lunchrooms and all federal offices across the nation.

1913

image A. H. Sturtevant, an undergraduate working with Morgan at Columbia, provides the experimental basis for the linkage concept in Drosophila and produces the first GENETIC MAP.

(no entry for this year)

1915

image Calvin Bridges identifies strains of mutant fruit flies with extra pairs of wings. Decades later, these strains will help biologists understand Hox genes that control the head-to-toe anatomy of widely varying animals.

image Frederick Twort discovers a virus capable of infecting and destroying bacteria.

image image image image Thomas Hunt Morgan, Alfred Henry Sturtevant, Calvin Blackman Bridges, and Hermann Joseph Muller publish The Mechanism of Mendelian Heredity. This monograph provides the first systematic description of the actual mechanisms that control inheritance as evidenced in the Mendelian model. Here, for the first time, the gene is made real.

(no entry for this year)

1916

(no entry for this year)

image Lucy Diggs Slowe wins the championship in the first national tennis tournament sponsored by the American Tennis Association. With her victory she becomes the first African-American woman to win a major sports title.

1917

image British polymath D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson publishes On Growth and Form arguing that the forms Darwinian natural selection can produce through evolution are constrained by physical and mathematical laws, and that organic structures often emulate inorganic natural structures. His analysis led the way for the scientific explanation of morphogenesis, the process by which patterns and body structures are formed in plants and animals. Thompson's description of the mathematical beauty of nature and the mathematical basis of the forms of animals stimulated thinkers as diverse as Julian Huxley, Conrad Hal Waddington, Alan Turing, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Eduardo Paolozzi, Le Corbusier, and Mies van der Rohe.

image C. B. Bridges discovers the first chromosome deficiency in Drosophila.

image Felix Hubert D'Herelle, independently of Frederick Twort, discovers a virus capable of infecting and destroying bacteria, which he calls a BACTERIOPHAGE.

(no entry for this year)

1918

(no entry for this year)

By the beginning of 1919, the Ku Klux Klan (revived in 1915 at Stone Mountain, Georgia) operates in 27 states. Eighty-three African Americans are lynched during the year, among them a number of returning soldiers still in uniform.

1919

image Thomas Hunt Morgan and coworkers publish The Physical Basis of Heredity, a book-length summary of the rapidly growing findings in genetics.

image C. B. Bridges discovers chromosomal duplications in Drosophila.

image T. H. Morgan calls attention to the equality in Drosophila melanogaster between the number of linkage groups and the haploid number of chromosomes.

(no entry for this year)

1920

(no entry for this year)

(no entry for this year)

1921

(no entry for this year)

image The Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill (first introduced by St. Louis congressman Leonidas Dyer in 1918), making lynching a federal offense, passes the US House of Representatives but fails in the US Senate.

1922

Lillian V. Morgan discovers attached-X chromosomes in Drosophila.

(no entry for this year)

1923

A. E. Boycott and C. Diver describe "delayed" Mendelian inheritance controlling the direction of the coiling of the shell in the snail Limnea peregra. A. H. Sturtevant suggests that the direction of coiling of the Limnea shell is determined by the character of the ooplasm, which is in turn controlled by the mother's genotype.

image C. B. Bridges discovers chromosomal translocations in Drosophila.

(no entry for this year)

1924

(no entry for this year)

image On September 9, Ossian Sweet, a Detroit physician, is arrested for murder after he and his family kill a member of a white mob while defending their home. The Sweet family is represented by Clarence Darrow and they are acquitted of the charge.

1925

Tennessee schoolteacher John Thomas Scopes is tried for teaching evolution in the famous "Scopes Monkey Trial." Two-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan leads the prosecution. Labor lawyer Clarence Darrow leads the defense and goads Bryan into declaring that humans are not mammals. The conviction will be overturned on a technicality, and the anti-evolution law will remain on the books for decades.

image A. H. Sturtevant analyzes the Bar-eye phenomenon in Drosophila and discovers position effect.

(no entry for this year)

1926

A. H. Sturtevant finds the first inversion in Drosophila.

(no entry for this year)

1927

image Bernard O. Dodge initiates genetic studies on Neurospora.

image H. J. Muller reports the artificial induction of mutations in Drosophila by x-rays.

image J. B. S. Haldane suggests that the genes known to control certain coat colors in various rodents and carnivores may be evolutionarily homologous.

(no entry for this year)

1928

image Frederick Griffith discovers type-transformation of pneumococci. This lays the foundation for the work of Avery, MacLeod, and McCarthy (1944).

image L. J. Stadler reports the artificial induction of mutations in maize, and demonstrates that the dose-frequency curve is linear.

(no entry for this year)

1929

(no entry for this year)

(no entry for this year)

1930

image R. A. Fisher publishes Genetical Theory of Natural Selection, a formal analysis of the mathematics of selection.

(no entry for this year)

1931

C. Stern, and independently H. B. Creighton and B. McClintock, provide the cytological proof of crossing over.

(no entry for this year)

1932

(no entry for this year)

(no entry for this year)

1933

Robert Broom publishes The Coming of Man: Was it Accident or Design? arguing that evolution is really driven by spiritual agencies, some with conflicting priorities, and that mankind is the ultimate aim of all evolution.

image T. H. Morgan receives a Nobel Prize in Medicine for his development of the theory of the gene. He is the first geneticist to receive this award.

image Barbara McClintock demonstrates in maize that a single exchange within the inversion loop of a paracentric inversion heterozygote generates an acentric and a dicentric chromatid.

T. S. Painter initiates cytogenetic studies on the salivary gland chromosomes of Drosophila.

image In Herndon vs Georgia, the United States Supreme Court sets aside the death sentence of black communist Angelo Herndon, who was convicted under a pre-Civil War slave insurrection statute for passing out leaflets in Atlanta.

1934

(no entry for this year)

(no entry for this year)

1935

image C. B. Bridges publishes the salivary gland chromosome maps for Drosophila melanogaster.

G. W. Beadle and B. Ephrussi and A. Kuhn and A. Butenandt work out the biochemical genetics of eye-pigment synthesis in Drosophila and Ephestia, respectively.

image J. B. S. Haldane is the first to calculate the spontaneous mutation frequency of a human gene.

image Track star Jesse Owens wins four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics between August 3 and August 9.

1936

A. H. Sturtevant and T. Dobzhansky publish the first account of the use of inversions in constructing a chromosomal phylogenetic tree.

(no entry for this year)

1937

T. Dobzhansky publishes Genetics and the Origin of Species — a milestone in evolutionary genetics.

(no entry for this year)

1938

(no entry for this year)

(no entry for this year)

1939

E. L. Ellis and M. Delbrück perform studies on coliphage growth that mark the beginning of modem phage work. They devise the "one-step growth" experiment, which demonstrates that after the phage adsorbs onto the bacterium, it replicates within the bacterium during the "latent period," and finally the progeny are released in a "burst."

(no entry for this year)

1940

(no entry for this year)

Between 1941 and 1945, the desperate need for labor in US defense plants and shipyards leads to the migration of 1.2 million African-Americans from the South to the North and West. This migration transforms American politics as blacks increasingly vote in their new homes and put pressure on Congress to protect civil rights throughout the nation. Their activism lays much of the foundation for the national civil rights movement a decade later.

On June 25, Pres. Franklin Roosevelt issues Executive Order 8802, which desegregates US defense plants and shipyards and creates the Fair Employment Practices Committee.

image The US Army creates the Tuskegee Air Squadron (the 99th Pursuit Squadron) — an all African-American flying unit.

1941

G. W. Beadle and E. L. Tatum publish their classic study on the biochemical genetics of Neurospora and promulgate the ONE-GENE, ONE-ENZYME theory.

K. Mather coins the term polygenes and describes polygenic traits in various organisms.

(no entry for this year)

1942

Ernst Mayr publishes Systematics and the Origin of Species, and Julian Huxley publishes Evolution: The Modern Synthesis. Both books are significant contributions to the neo darwinian synthesis combining elements of natural selection, genetics, mutation, population biology and paleontology.

S. E. Luria and T. F. Anderson publish the first electron micrographs of bacterial viruses. T2 has a polyhedral body and a tail.

On April 3, the United States Supreme Court in Smith vs. Allright declares white-only political primaries unconstitutional.

1944

Theoretical physicist Erwin Schrödinger publishes What is Life? arguing that living organisms store and pass along information, perhaps using something like Morse code. This book will inspire James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, who will share the Nobel prize for discovering the structure of DNA.

O. T. Avery, C. M. MacLeod, and M. McCarty describe the pneumococcus transforming principle. The fact that it is rich in DNA suggests that DNA and not protein is the hereditary chemical.

image Col. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr, is named commander of Godman Field, Kentucky. He is the first African-American to command a United States military base.

1945

image S. E. Luria demonstrates that mutations occur in bacterial viruses.

The United States Supreme Court, in Morgan vs Virginia, rules that segregation in interstate bus travel is unconstitutional.

1946

image On April 10, Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers becomes the first African-American to play major league baseball in the 20th century.

1947

(no entry for this year)

On July 26, Pres. Harry Truman issues Executive Order 9981, directing the desegregation of the armed forces.

The United States Supreme Court, in Shelley vs Kraemer, rules that racially restrictive covenants are legally unenforceable.

1948

image H. J. Muller coins the term dosage compensation.

J. Lederberg and N. Zinder, and, independently, B. D. Davis develop the penicillin selection technique for isolating biochemically deficient bacterial mutants.

(no entry for this year)

1949

A. D. Hershey and R. Rotman demonstrate that genetic recombination occurs in bacteriophage.

J. V. Neel provides genetic evidence that the sickle-cell disease is inherited as a simple Mendelian autosomal recessive.

(no entry for this year)

1950

At a Cold Spring Harbor Symposium, Ernst Mayr argues that all hominid specimens so far found should be categorized in the genus Homo: H. transvaalensis, H. erectus, and H. sapiens.

E. Chargaff lays the foundations for nucleic acid structural studies by his analytical work. He demonstrates for DNA that the numbers of adenine and thymine groups are always equal and so are the numbers of guanine and cytosine groups. These findings later suggest to Watson and Crick that DNA consists of two polynucleotide strands joined by hydrogen bonding between A and T and between G and C.

E. M. Lederberg discovers lambda, the first viral episome of E. coli.

image On May 24, a mob of 3500 whites attempt to prevent a black family from moving into an apartment in Cicero, Illinois. Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson calls out the Illinois National Guard to protect the family and restore order.

On May 24, the United States Supreme Court rules that racial segregation in District of Columbia restaurants is unconstitutional.

1951

Barbara McClintock publishes a paper describing "jumping" genes that can move around within an organism's genome.

(no entry for this year)

1952

A. D. Hershey and M. Chase demonstrate that the DNA of phage enters the host, whereas most of the protein remains behind.

F. Sanger and his colleagues work out the complete amino acid sequence for the protein hormone insulin, and show that it contains two polypeptide chains held together by disulfide bridges.

J. Lederberg and E. M. Lederberg invent the replica plating technique.

N. D. Zinder and J. Lederberg describe transduction in Salmonella.

(no entry for this year)

1953

image image J. D. Watson and F. H. C. Crick propose a model for DNA comprised of two helically intertwined chains tied together by hydrogen bonds between the purines and pyrimidines.

W. Hayes discovers polarized behavior in bacterial recombinations. He isolates the Hfr H strain of E. coli and shows that certain genes are readily transferred from Hfr to F- bacteria, whereas others are not.

On May 17, the United States Supreme Court, in Brown vs the Board of Education, declares segregation in all public schools in the United States unconstitutional, nullifying the earlier judicial doctrine of "separate but equal."

1954

(no entry for this year)

image Rosa Parks refuses to relinquish her bus seat to a white man on December 1, initiating the Montgomery bus boycott. Soon afterward, Martin Luther King, Jr., becomes the leader of the boycott.

image Fourteen-year-old Chicago resident Emmett Till is lynched in Money, Mississippi, on August 28.

1955

image S. Benzer works out the fine structure of the rII region of phage T4 of E. coli, and coins the terms CISTRON,RECON, and MUTON.

(no entry for this year)

1956

F. Jacob and E. L. Wollman are able experimentally to interrupt the mating process in E. coli and show that a piece of DNA is inserted from the donor bacterium into the recipient.

Congress passes the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first legislation protecting black rights since Reconstruction.

In September, Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower sends federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to ensure the enforcement of a federal court order to desegregate Central High School and to protect nine African-American students enrolled as part of the order.

1957

Francis Crick proposes the "central dogma" of genetic information transfer: DNA specifies RNA and RNA specifies cell proteins.

V. M. Ingram reports that normal and sickle-cell hemoglobin differ by a single amino acid substitution.

(no entry for this year)

1958

Frederick Sanger receives a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the structure of proteins, especially that of insulin.

George W. Beadle, Edward L. Tatum, and Joshua Lederberg share a Nobel Prize in Medicine for Beadle and Tatum's discovery that genes act by regulating definite chemical events, and for Lederberg's discoveries concerning genetic recombination and the organization of the genetic material of bacteria.

image F. H. C. Crick suggests that during protein formation the amino acid is carried to the template by an adaptor molecule containing nucleotides and that the adaptor is the part that actually fits on the RNA template. Crick thus predicts the discovery of transfer RNA.

F. Jacob and E. L. Wollman demonstrate that the single linkage group of E. coli is circular and suggest that the different linkage groups found in different Hfr strains result from the insertion at different points of a factor in the circular linkage group that determines the rupture of the circle.

M. Meselson and F. W. Stahl use the density gradient equilibrium centrifugation technique to demonstrate the semiconservative distribution of density label during DNA replication in E. coli.

(no entry for this year)

1959

Severo Ochoa and Arthur Kornberg share a Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery of the mechanisms in the biological synthesis of ribonucleic acid and deoxiribonucleic acid.

J. Lejeune, M. Gautier, and R. Turpin show that Down syndrome is a chromosomal aberration involving trisomy of a small telocentric chromosome.

R. L. Sinsheimer demonstrates that bacteriophage phiX174 of E. coli contains a single-stranded DNA molecule.

The Civil Rights Act of 1960 is signed into law by Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower on May 6. The act establishes federal inspection of local voter registration rolls and introduces penalties for anyone who obstructs a citizens attempt to register to vote or to cast a ballot.

1960

Alister Hardy promotes his Homo aquaticus or "aquatic ape" hypothesis to the British Sub Aqua Club. He will follow up this announcement with several magazine articles.

The Congress of Racial Equality organizes Freedom Rides through the Deep South.

1961

image image F. Jacob and J. Monod publish "Genetic regulatory mechanisms in the synthesis of proteins," a paper in which the theory of the OPERON is developed.

image On October 1, James Meredith becomes the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi.

1962

Human geneticist James Neel develops the "thrifty genotype" hypothesis that human ancestors endured feast-famine cycles that made the human body very effective in storing fat for lean times.

image image image James Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins share a Nobel Prize in Medicine for their work in elucidating the structure of DNA.

Martin Luther King Jr. writes his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" on April 16.

image Martin Luther King Jr. is named Time magazine's Man of the Year.

image On June 12, Mississippi NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers is assassinated outside his home in Jackson.

1963

(no entry for this year)

Congress passes the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act and this discrimination in all public accommodations and by employers. It also establishes the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) to monitor compliance with the law.

image image image On June 21, civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner are abducted and killed by terrorists in Mississippi.

The 24th amendment to the Constitution, which abolishes the poll tax, is ratified.

1964

(no entry for this year)

image Malcolm X is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem on February 21.

The Watts Uprising occurs on August 11-16th. Thirty-four people are killed and 1000 are injured in the five-day confrontation.

1965

image On June 5, James Meredith begins a solitary March Against Fear for 220 miles from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi, to protest racial discrimination. Meredith is shot by a sniper soon after crossing into Mississippi.

image On November 8, Edward Brooke of Massachusetts becomes the first African-American to be elected to the United States Senate since Reconstruction.

image image On September 15, the Black Panther Party is formed in Oakland, California, by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton.

1966

Willi Hennig works on a new approach to assessing evolutionary relationships, known as cladistics. Although it will be hotly debated, this technique will eventually become standard practice in paleontology, botany and zoology.

image On July 13, Thurgood Marshall takes his seat as the first African-American justice on the United States Supreme Court.

On June 12, the United States Supreme Court, in Loving vs Virginia, strikes down state interracial marriage bans.

The six-day Newark Riot begins on July 12.

1967

Lynn Sagan (later Lynn Margulis) hypothesizes that chloroplasts originated as cyanobacteria, and that mitochondria originated as bacteria. She suggests that both were engulfed by other cells and began functioning as symbionts.

image On April 4, Martin Luther King, Jr., is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. In the wake of the assassination, 125 cities in 29 states experience uprisings.

image On June 5, New York Senator and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated in Los Angeles.

1968

A.G. Cairns-Smith publishes a paper suggesting that the first life on Earth might have been fine-grained clay crystals. He will publish on this topic several more times before his death, but the experimental evidence will remain scant, perhaps in part because sufficient technology doesn't yet exist to test the hypothesis.

Robert W. Holley, Har Gobind Khorana, and Marshall W. Nirenberg share a Nobel Prize in Medicine for their interpretation of the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis.

(no entry for this year)

1969

image Dr. Clifton Wharton Junior is named president of Michigan State University on January 2. He is the first African-American to lead a major, predominantly white university in the 20th century.

1970

(no entry for this year)

On January 12, the Congressional Black Caucus is formed in Washington DC.

1971

Five pairs of adult wall lizards are moved between two islands in Croatia. Over the next few decades, the lizards on the new island will evolve larger heads, stronger bites, and a greater tolerance for an herbivorous diet than the original lizard population.

image image In November, Barbara Jordan of Houston and Andrew Young of Atlanta become the first black Congressional representatives elected from the US South since 1898.

1972

image Thomas Bradley is elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles in the modern era. He is reelected four times and thus holds the mayor's office for 20 years.

1973

Half in jest, Francis Crick and Leslie Orgel suggest that ancient aliens may have seeded the early Earth with DNA, and all life on this planet arose from that.

Peter and Rosemary Grant begin a long-term study of finches on the Galápagos Islands. In succeeding years, as they watch finches adapt to alternating wet and dry conditions, the Grants will uncover evidence that evolution proceeds more rapidly than what Darwin estimated.

Taking a line from Through the Looking Glass, Leigh Van Valen establishes the "Red Queen" hypothesis of coevolution between predator and prey: "it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

(no entry for this year)

1974

(no entry for this year)

(no entry for this year)

1975

Mary-Claire King and Allan Wilson publish their finding that human and chimpanzee DNA sequences differ by roughly 1 percent, meaning humans have more in common with chimps than chimps do with gorillas. King and Wilson suggest that humans and chimps differ largely in the DNA that switches on and off genes.

David Baltimore, Renato Dulbecco, and Howard Temin share Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discoveries concerning the interaction between tumour viruses and the genetic material of the cell.

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1976

Overturning the classifications introduced by R. H. Whittaker seven years earlier, Carl Woese proposes to divide all living things into three categories: Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya.

image The eighth and final night for the televised miniseries based on Alex Haley's Roots is shown on February 3. This final episode achieves the highest ratings to that point for a single television program.

1977

Submersible vehicle Alvin reveals deep sea vents on the ocean floor that give rise to an ecosystem owing nothing to photosynthesis. This finding prompts speculation that life on Earth first arose in deep-sea, not shallow-water, ecosystems.

Fred Sanger and collaborators publish the first complete DNA sequence of an organism, a bacteriophage, or virus infecting bacteria.

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1979

image Fresh out of law school and short on cash, Robert Heggestad buys an antique cabinet on an installment plan from a Virginia antique shop. The cabinet turns out to contain some 1,700 plant and invertebrate specimens from the personal collection of Alfred Russel Wallace.

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1980

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Eric Wieschaus describe genetic mutations affecting the body plan of the fruit fly Drosophila, and identify genes controlling the basic body plans of all animals. These genes will eventually be known as Hox genes.

Paul Berg, Walter Gilbert, and Frederick Sanger share a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, with Berg cited for his fundamental studies of the biochemistry of nucleic acids, with particular regard to recombinant-DNA, and Gilbert and Sanger cited for their contributions concerning the determination of base sequences in nucleic acids. This is Sanger's second Nobel, the first having come in 1958 for his work on the structure of insulin.

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1981

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1982

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On November 2, Pres. Ronald Reagan signs into law a bill making the third Monday in January a federal holiday honoring the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

1983

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1984

David Raup and Jack Sepkoski publish the controversial claim that mass extinctions are regularly spaced at 26 million years.

United States Rep. William H. Gray III (Pennsylvania), becomes the first African-American congressmen to chair the House Budget Committee.

1985

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On September 8, The Oprah Winfrey Show from Chicago becomes nationally syndicated.

1986

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image Dr. Clifton R. Wharton Jr. is appointed chairman and CEO of TIAA-CREF, the 19th largest US Fortune 500 company. He becomes the first black chairman and CEO of a major US corporation.

image Kurt Schmoke becomes the first African-American elected mayor of Baltimore.

1987

Allan Wilson and Rebecca Cann announce that all humans share a common ancestor who lived in Africa as recently as 150,000 years ago. Because the discovery is based on examination of mitochondrial DNA, the ancestral entity will be given the popular (and somewhat misleading) name of "Mitochondrial Eve." The controversial finding will be supported by another discovery in 2000.

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1988

Molecular biologist John Cairns describes experiments suggesting that bacteria facing environmental stress can "direct" their mutations to produce favorable adaptations. Directed mutation will remain a controversial idea, but the possibility that organisms mutate at a greater rate (hypermutation) under environmental stress will gain more acceptance.

image Douglas Wilder wins the governorship of Virginia, make him the first African-American to be popularly elected to that office.

image Gen. Colin L. Powell is named chief of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, the first African-American in the youngest person (52) to hold the post.

image In March, Frederick Andrew Gregory becomes the first African-American to command a space shuttle when he leads the crew of the Discovery.

1989

image Nelson Mandela, South African black nationalist, is freed after 27 years in prison.

1990

The Human Genome Project is launched with the goal of sequencing all 3 billion base pairs of human DNA by 2005.

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1991

Chicxulub crater is discovered in the Yucatán Peninsula, supporting the asteroid impact theory first suggested in 1980.

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1992

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image On April 27, Nelson Mandela is elected President of South Africa in that nation's first election giving black voters full enfranchisement. The land of apartheid is now led by a black activist.

1994

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1996

Using "molecular clock" estimates of mutation rates, Greg Wray and collaborators hypothesize that metazoan phyla diverged from each other 1 billion years ago, or even earlier. In other words, they argue that metazoans existed hundreds of millions of years before the earliest metazoan fossils (about 600 million years old) yet found.

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1997

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1998

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1999

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2000

Based on studies of Y chromosomes, Peter Underhill publishes his finding that all modern humans share a common ancestor, bolstering the 1987 announcement from Cann and Wilson. This suggests a "bottleneck" event (population crash) among human ancestors living in Africa roughly 150,000 years ago.

Sally McBearty and Alison Brooks publish "The Revolution that Wasn't" challenging the long-held notion of a "big bang" in human intellectual evolution approximately 40,000 years ago. Instead, they cite evidence for earlier appearances of modern behavior.

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2001

image Alfred Sturtevant's A History of Genetics is republished jointly by the Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project and the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. Sturtevant provides an insider's perspective (he created the FIRST GENETIC MAP ) to this first-rate summary of the foundations of classical genetics.

CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS BOOK

The International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium (Human Genome Project) publishes the initial sequence and analysis of the human genome in Nature Magazine. Celera Genomics simultaneously publishes a draft human genome sequence in Science Magazine.

Leland H. Hartwell, R. Timothy Hunt, and Sir Paul M. Nurse share a Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discoveries of key regulators of the cell cycle.

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2003

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Barack Obama is elected to the United States Senate from Illinois. He becomes the second African-American elected to the Senate from that state, and only the fifth black US senator in history.

2004

Peter Brown, Mike Morwood and collaborators announce the find of a 1-meter-tall hominid skeleton on the Indonesian island of Flores. Found near the remains of giant lizards and pygmy elephants, the new species is formally named Homo floresiensis and nicknamed the "hobbit." Though some suspect it's a kind of malformed, small-brained midget, this interpretation will be answered by braincase scans, wrist bones too primitive to be Homo sapiens, and the announcement of several more individuals of the same species. Later studies will suggest direct ancestry from Homo erectus, although another study will argue the remains really indicate Down syndrome. The species is initially given an estimated age as young as 11,000 years, but later research will indicate an age of at least 50,000 years.

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2005

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2006

Jean Moliner, Gerhard Ries, Cyril Zipfel and Barbara Hohn publish their findings on stressed plants that not only mutate at a greater rate, but also pass an increased mutation tendency to their offspring.

Andrew Z. Fine and Craig C. Mello share a Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery of RNA interference — gene silencing by double-stranded RNA.

Roger D. Kornberg was awarded a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his studies of the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription.

On August 27, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama becomes the first African-American to attain the Democratic Party nomination for president of the United States when he is chosen at the party's national convention in Denver.

2008

After studying grunting fish, Andrew Bass and colleagues report that the part of the brain controlling volcalization is extremely primitive, and propose that vertebrates evolved the ability to communicate through sound some 400 million years ago.

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2009

Gabriele Gentile and colleagues describe a previously overlooked pink iguana, referred to as "rosada," on the Galápagos Islands. The pink lizard species may represent the earliest divergence of land animals on the island chain that Charles Darwin made famous.

Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider, and Jack W. Szostak share a Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.

Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas A. Steitz, and Ada E. Yonath share a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their studies of the structure and function of the ribosome.

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2010

Ryan Kerney announces the discovery of algae (Oophila amblystomatis) living inside spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) embryo cells — the first discovery of a photosynthetic symbiont living inside vertebrate cells.

Candy makers Hershey and Mars finance competing genomic sequences for cacao (the primary ingredient of chocolate).

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2011

Two studies released in the same week indicate that modern Melanesians and Aboriginal Australians descended from an earlier migration out of Africa than did other populations. Further, the studies suggest that participants in the earlier migration interbred with Denisovans.

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2012

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2013

Based on new genetic research, David Reich, Svante Pääbo and collaborators announce at a Royal Society of London meeting that Denisovans bred with Neanderthals, ancestors of people now living in East Asia and Oceania, and another group of extinct archaic humans who were genetically dissimilar to both Neanderthals and modern humans. A few weeks later, Matthias Meyer, Svante Pääbo and coauthors describe the oldest hominin DNA sequence to date, from a 400,000-year-old femur from Spain's Sima de los Huesos. The mitochondrial DNA indicate an unexpected link to Denisovans.

Using genetic material from more than 300 individuals, including aboriginal Australians from the Northern Territory, a team of geneticists argues that Australians — long believed isolated from other populations for some 45,000 years — received substantial gene flow from India about 4,230 years ago.

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2014

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2015

Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, Arhat Abzhanov and colleagues announce that they have reverse engineered dinosaur snouts in chicken embryos by altering beak-building gene expressions.

Stephen Hackley publishes a review article arguing that human brains retain vestigial neural circuitry, the same circuitry that currently allows other mammals (and once allowed our ancient ancestors) to orient their ears toward novel stimuli.

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2016

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2017

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2018

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2019

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ESP Quick Facts

ESP Origins

In the early 1990's, Robert Robbins was a faculty member at Johns Hopkins, where he directed the informatics core of GDB — the human gene-mapping database of the international human genome project. To share papers with colleagues around the world, he set up a small paper-sharing section on his personal web page. This small project evolved into The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Support

In 1995, Robbins became the VP/IT of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. Soon after arriving in Seattle, Robbins secured funding, through the ELSI component of the US Human Genome Project, to create the original ESP.ORG web site, with the formal goal of providing free, world-wide access to the literature of classical genetics.

ESP Rationale

Although the methods of molecular biology can seem almost magical to the uninitiated, the original techniques of classical genetics are readily appreciated by one and all: cross individuals that differ in some inherited trait, collect all of the progeny, score their attributes, and propose mechanisms to explain the patterns of inheritance observed.

ESP Goal

In reading the early works of classical genetics, one is drawn, almost inexorably, into ever more complex models, until molecular explanations begin to seem both necessary and natural. At that point, the tools for understanding genome research are at hand. Assisting readers reach this point was the original goal of The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Usage

Usage of the site grew rapidly and has remained high. Faculty began to use the site for their assigned readings. Other on-line publishers, ranging from The New York Times to Nature referenced ESP materials in their own publications. Nobel laureates (e.g., Joshua Lederberg) regularly used the site and even wrote to suggest changes and improvements.

ESP Content

When the site began, no journals were making their early content available in digital format. As a result, ESP was obliged to digitize classic literature before it could be made available. For many important papers — such as Mendel's original paper or the first genetic map — ESP had to produce entirely new typeset versions of the works, if they were to be available in a high-quality format.

ESP Help

Early support from the DOE component of the Human Genome Project was critically important for getting the ESP project on a firm foundation. Since that funding ended (nearly 20 years ago), the project has been operated as a purely volunteer effort. Anyone wishing to assist in these efforts should send an email to Robbins.

ESP Plans

With the development of methods for adding typeset side notes to PDF files, the ESP project now plans to add annotated versions of some classical papers to its holdings. We also plan to add new reference and pedagogical material. We have already started providing regularly updated, comprehensive bibliographies to the ESP.ORG site.

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Timeline

The new, dynamic Timeline from the Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project gives users more control over the timeline display.

We seek your suggestions for timeline content, both for individual events and for entire subjects.

To submit a correction or a recommendation or to propose new Timeline content (or to volunteer as a Timeline Editor), click HERE.

The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project needs help: with acquiring content, with writing, with editing, with graphic production, and with financial support.

CLICK HERE to see what ESP needs most.

ESP Picks from Around the Web (updated 06 MAR 2017 )