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  • 1520-26 Spanish arrive in South Carolina.
  • 1540 Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto crosses Georgia and the Carolinas, bringing disease and death to the Cherokee Indians.
  • 1587 Sir Walter Raleigh sends English to settle Roanoke Island; the "Lost Colony" disappears.
  • mid-1600s Planters from Virginia settle in the Albemarle Sound region in northeastern North Carolina.
  • 1663 King Charles II of England grants land between Virginia and Florida to eight Lords Proprietors, who name the region "Carolina" in his honor.
  • 1670 South Carolina's first permanent settlement is established on Ashley River.
  • 1710 Proprietors appoint Edward Hyde governor of North Carolina, separating its administration from that of South Carolina.
  • 1718 British forces behead buccaneer Edward "Blackbeard" Teach during a bloody fight off Ocracoke Island, North Carolina.
  • 1729 Lords Proprietors sell Carolina to the English crown; the colony officially divides into North and South.
  • 1730s Ulster Scots, Quakers, and Germans migrate south from Pennsylvania into the Piedmont regions of the Carolinas and Georgia.
  • 1732 James Edward Oglethorpe founds Georgia in the southern part of the Lords Proprietors' grant.
  • 1750 Slavery is introduced in Georgia, spurring production of rice, indigo, and cotton on large plantations.
  • 1752 Moravians from Pennsylvania settle in northwestern North Carolina and found Salem (now part of Winston-Salem).
  • 1774 Women in Edenton, North Carolina, protest the British tax on tea by refusing to brew English leaves.
  • 1775 Patriots sign the Mecklenburg Declaration in Charlotte, declaring independence from Great Britain.
  • 1776 North Carolina revolutionaries pass the Halifax Resolves, authorizing their delegates to the Continental Congress to vote for independence. The British attack Charleston and are repulsed.
  • 1779 Gold is discovered near Charlotte, North Carolina, setting off the nation's first gold rush.
  • 1780-81 Lord Cornwallis occupies Charleston and is defeated at the Battle of Kings Mountain near Gaffney, South Carolina.
  • 1782 The British evacuate Charleston, the last city that they held south of Canada.
  • 1793 Eli Whitney's cotton gin leads to an explosion of cotton production throughout the South.
  • 1800 The nation's second federal canal (after the Erie) is dug to move cotton from inland South Carolina to Charleston.
  • 1819 Northern opposition to the admission of Missouri as a slave state stirs talk of secession below the Mason-Dixon Line.
  • 1822 The slave Denmark Vesey leads an insurrection and attempts to capture Charleston. The revolt is put down, and Vesey and 36 others are executed. Southern planters blame "outside agitators" and institute tighter controls on slaves.
  • 1830s The abolitionist movement gains strength in the North. Extremists advocate the secession of the South from the North.
  • 1830 The South Carolina legislature adopts the "Doctrine of Nullification" of federal laws by the states and threatens to leave the Union. Congress compromises by lowering the export tariff on cotton.
  • 1833 Great Britain emancipates all slaves in its colonies.
  • 1835 The federal government orders the Cherokee Indians west to Oklahoma Territory. Thousands die on the Trail of Tears; others hide in the mountains and later form the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation.
  • 1839 A young slave accidentally overheats a North Carolina tobacco barn, baking the drying leaves golden and creating the smooth-tasting Bright Leaf used in cigarettes.
  • 1849 South Carolina objects to the admission of California as a free state. The legislature considers secession but backs off when other Southern states refuse.
  • 1854 The Republican Party is formed, nominating John C. Fremont for president and adopting an antislavery platform. Democrat James Buchanan is elected president, however.
  • 1858 Republicans gain the majority in Congress on a pro-business, antislavery platform.
  • 1859 John Brown's aborted raid at Harpers Ferry (then in Virginia) alarms the South.
  • 1860 A split at the Democratic National Convention in Charleston over a pro-slavery platform plank helps elect Republican Abraham Lincoln. South Carolina secedes.
  • 1861 Georgia secedes on January 19. North Carolina waits until South Carolina forces attack Fort Sumter on April 15, launching the Civil War.
  • 1864 Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman drives to the sea through Georgia, leaving a trail of destruction behind.
  • 1865 The blockade-running port of Wilmington, North Carolina, falls to a Union amphibious assault in January. Sherman burns 80 square blocks of Columbia, South Carolina, in February. Confederate Gen. Joseph Johnston surrenders to Sherman in April at Durham, North Carolina.
  • 1865-67 White-dominated state legislatures pass "Black Code" laws, giving newly freed slaves some rights, but not the vote.
  • 1867 Congress passes the Reconstruction Act, dividing the South into five military districts.
  • 1870s The Ku Klux Klan becomes active in the South.
  • 1876 Reconstruction officially ends. Whites return to power and adopt "Jim Crow" laws to keep African Americans from voting.
  • 1880s Cotton, tobacco, and furniture factories in the Piedmont give the three states major industries for the first time.
  • 1896 The U.S. Supreme Court's Plessy vs. Ferguson decision legalizes separate-but-equal segregation laws.
  • 1901-04 North Carolina builds 1,100 schools, bringing public education to all Tarheels.
  • 1903 The Wright Brothers fly the first airplane at Kill Devil Hills on North Carolina's Outer Banks.
  • 1911 A hurricane devastates the South Carolina coastal area, ending large-scale rice production.
  • 1915 The Ku Klux Klan is reborn in a huge cross-burning atop Stone Mountain, Georgia. A mob enters a Georgia state penitentiary at Milledgeville and lynches Leo Frank, a northern-born Jew convicted of murdering 14-year-old Mary Phagan, a white girl, in an Atlanta pencil factory.
  • 1922 Georgian feminist Rebecca Lattimer Felton, then 87, is appointed as the first female U.S. senator.
  • 1934 Georgia Gov. Eugene Talmadge declares martial law and uses National Guard troops to break a statewide textile strike.
  • 1940 Great Smoky Mountains National Park is dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • 1942 Military bases in the Carolinas and Georgia make the area one of the nation's primary troop-training centers during World War II.
  • 1945 President Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorrhage at Warm Springs, Georgia.
  • 1954 The U.S. Supreme Court declares segregated schools unconstitutional in Brown vs. Board of Education.
  • 1960 A lunch-counter sit-in at Greensboro, North Carolina, launches similar civil-rights protests across the South.
  • 1964 Georgians cast the majority vote for Barry Goldwater as president -- the first time that a Southern state goes Republican since Reconstruction.
  • 1965 Congress passes the Voting Rights Act, enfranchising Southern African Americans for the first time since Reconstruction. Blacks are elected to Congress, local offices, and state legislatures.
  • 1966 Segregationist restaurateur Lester "Ax Handle" Maddox is elected governor of Georgia.
  • 1968 State police open fire during student protests at a bowling alley in Orangeburg, South Carolina, killing 3 and wounding 27.
  • 1970 Courting Maddox voters, peanut farmer Jimmy Carter is elected governor of Georgia, promising to end racial discrimination.
  • 1972 North Carolinians elect conservative Republican television commentator Jesse Helms to the U.S. Senate.
  • 1973 U.S. Sen. Sam J. Ervin, Jr., of North Carolina leads the Senate Watergate hearings.
  • 1976 Jimmy Carter becomes the first Southerner to be elected president of the United States since before the Civil War.
  • 1989 South Carolina legislators are charged with taking bribes to vote for legalized horse-race betting in the FBI sting "Operation Lost Trust."
  • 1994 African American Ernest Finney is elected chief justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court.
  • 1995 A federal court orders the Citadel in Charleston to admit the first female cadets.
  • 1996 Atlanta hosts the Summer Olympic Games.
  • 2000 The South experiences dramatic increases in population, largely in the suburbs. South Carolina's Confederate flag over the State Capitol stirs nationwide protest.
  • 2003 After 48 years and 15,000 votes, South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond retires from the U.S. Senate and turns 100 years of age. He dies on June 26.
  • 2004 U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina gives up his seat to run as the Democratic Party's nominee for vice president on a ticket with U.S. Sen. John Kerry. They lose to incumbent George W. Bush.
  • 2008 Survey shows gentrification has changed the face of the New Atlanta.
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