Timeline of Southern US History

Timeline of Southern US History

Get a glimpse into the events that influenced your Southern ancestors' lives.

Do you have ancestors who lived and worked in the South? Here are the major events that affected your ancestors.
Timeline of Southern History 


1565—Spanish found St. Augustine, Fla., first permanent white settlement in what’s now the United States

1607—First permanent English settlement in America, at Jamestown, Va.

1670—Charlestown, SC, founded

1682—First Spanish settlement in Texas

1686—French establish settlement in Arkansas

1733—James Oglethorpe founds Savannah, Ga.

1743—Thomas Jefferson born in Virginia

1769—First permanent settlement in Tennessee

1774—First permanent settlement in Kentucky

1793—Elis Whitney invents the cotton gin

1797—Mint julep invented in Virginia

1803—Louisiana Purchase

1819—Spain cedes remainder of Florida to US

1821—Texas becomes part of new nation of Mexico; Stephen Austin founds Anglo-American colony in Texas.

1836—Texas declares independence from Mexico; Battle of the Alamo

1838-39—Trail of Tears forces 13,000 Cherokee west of the Mississippi

1856—Booker T. Washington born in Virginia

1860—South Carolina is the first state to secede from the Union

1861—Civil War begins at Fort Sumter, SC

1863—Part of Virginia admitted to Union as West Virginia

1863—Emancipation Proclamation frees slaves in the Confederacy

1865—Robert E. Lee surrenders at Appomattox

1866—Jack Daniel starts making whiskey in Lynchburg, Tenn.

1870—Last states readmitted to the Union

1875—First Kentucky Derby run

1877—Reconstruction ends

1886—Atlanta pharmacist John S. Pemberton creates Coca-Cola

1896—George Washington Carver joins the Tuskegee Institute, where he begins to popularize the peanut

1912—Goo Goo Clusters, “the South’s favorite candy,” introduced

1915—D.W. Griffith films Birth of a Nation

1917—Moon Pie, “the original marshmallow sandwich,” invented

1926—Nashville country radio program becomes “The Grand Ole Opry”

1927—Edna Ferber’s novel Show Boat becomes a hit musical

1935—Elvis Presley born in Tupelo, Miss.

1936—Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind is published

1939—Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe perfected

1946—Robert Penn Warren writes All the King’s Men

1949—William Faulkner wins the Nobel Prize for Literature

1955—Rosa Parks sparks Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott

1957—Federal troops sent to desegregate Arkansas schools

1960—”The Andy Griffith Show” brings Mayberry, NC, to TV

1962—Gregory Peck stars in To Kill a Mockingbird, from the Harper Lee novel

1968—Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated

1971—Disney World opens in Orlando, Fla.

1976—Jimmy Carter elected president

1977—Alex Haley’s Roots becomes a hit TV mini-series

1980—J.R. Ewing is shot on TV’s “Dallas”

1996—Olympic games held in Atlanta


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