Native American History Timeline

1783 – Treaty of Paris is signed

In 1783, the American Revolutionary War came to an end. This war was fought between Great Britain and the United States of America.

During the war, most of the Native American tribes sided with the British forces. But then Britain lost the war and both sides signed the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

According to this treaty, Britain gave up all the lands south of Canada and east of Mississippi river. Most of these lands previously belonged to Native Indians but now they became open to American exploration and settlement.

1790 – Treaty of New York is signed

In 1790, the government of the newly formed USA reached an agreement with the Native Americans of the Creek people. According to this treaty, the Creek people agreed that the Oconee River will serve as the eastern border to their lands.

The treaty was ratified by Henry Knox as representative of the American government and Alexander McGillivray as the representative of the Creek people.

American government acknowledged that vast areas of land west of the Oconee rightfully belonged to the Creek people. This was the first treaty between Native Americans and the American government.

1791 – St. Clair’s Defeat takes place

In 1791, U.S. Army was fighting a war with the Native Americans in the northwestern territories. This war was known as the Northwest Indian war. As part of this war, General Arthur St. Clair led a U.S. force of around 1,000 men on a campaign against Native Indians.

This force was ambushed by a large group of Native American warriors near Fort Recover, Ohio. The U.S. soldiers were taken by surprise and sustained heavy casualties.

At the end of the battle, only 24 men were unharmed while the rest had been either killed or defeated. This was the largest defeat for the U.S. army, in terms of the percentage of losses. And it became known as St. Clair’s defeat.

1794 – Battle of Fallen Timbers takes place

The conflict between the indigenous people of American northwest and the U.S. army still raged on by 1794. The British secretly supported the Native Americans.

After the defeat of St. Clair, the American government wanted to win a decisive victory over the Native Americans in the northwest. So they sent General ‘Mad’ Anthony Wayne with a large army.

General Wayne led an army of 2000 men into the northwest. His army came across the Native American warriors near Maumee, Ohio. In the resulting battle, the U.S. army quickly defeated the Native Americans and won a decisive victory. This victory paved the way for the Jay Treaty.

1795 – Jay Treat is signed between Britain and USA

After the US victory in the Battle of Fallen Timbers, Britain decided to withdraw its support for the Native Americans in the northwest. This was finalized in the Jay Treaty, which was signed in 1795.

This treaty established peace between USA and Britain, enabling the two nations to foster trade. But at the same time, it removed British support for Native Americans who now had to submit to USA, fight against the US army alone and face the possibility of losing their ancestral lands.

1811 – Battle of Tippecanoe takes place

In 1811, a famous Native American leader Tecumseh was fighting a war with the United States. Tecumseh and an alliance of Native Indian tribes he led were opposed to the expansion of USA into Indian territories.

The Battle of Tippecanoe was an important victory for USA in this war. It took place near Tippecanoe County in Indiana. The U.S. army under Governor William Henry Harrison led the U.S. force which repulsed an attack from the Native American warriors and then burned down Prophetstown which was the main base of Native Indians.

1813-1814 – Creek War takes place

By 1813, the US army was in conflict with the Native American tribes in different parts of the west. This was simply because the newly born USA wanted to expand towards the west while the Native Indian tribes who lived in the west opposed this.

The Creek War was fought as a part of this conflict. This war took place in modern-day Alabama. It was fought between the U.S. army at one side and the Creek people at the other side.

The Creek forces were also supported by the British and Spanish governments who opposed American expansion westwards. But the war resulted in a decisive American victory.

General Andrew Jackson, who led the American forces, forced the Creek people to give up 21 million acres of their ancestral lands as part of the Treaty of Fort Jackson.

1830 – Indian Removal Act is passed by the US President

In 1830, Andrew Jackson was the President of the United States of America. He had gained fame and popularity by fighting and defeating several Native American tribes.

He signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830. This Act stated that the Indian tribes living in American south should be relocated to Federal Reserve areas west of Mississippi river through negotiations.

1830 -1850 – Trail of Tears

Once the Indian Removal Act was passed in 1830, it became possible for the American government and army to forcibly remove Native American tribes from their ancestral homelands.

From 1830 to 1850, a number of Native Indian tribes were forced out of their lands and marched to a reserve area in the American west. These removals and settlements took place in several waves.

During the journeys to new reserve sites, men, women and children were forced to march on foot for thousands of miles. Tens of thousands of Native Americans perished along the way. The forced relocation to the American West became known as the Trail of Tears.

1864 – Sand Creek Massacre takes place

Sand Creek Massacre took place as part of the ongoing wars between the Native Americans and USA. In 1864, a force of 700 U.S. soldiers led by Colonel John Chivington attacked a village of the Arapaho and Cheyenne people in present-day Kiowa County, Colorado.

The Native American warriors at the village numbered less than 200 and they quickly fled, raising a flag of peace. Chivington disregarded the flag, attacked the village, and killed and mutilated hundreds of women and children. This unfortunate incident became known as the Sand Creek Massacre.

1876 – Battle of the Little Bighorn takes place

The Battle of the Little Bighorn took place as part of the Great Sioux War of 1876. It took place between a U.S. army force of 700 led by Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer and an alliance of Native American warriors numbering above 2,000.

The battle is also famously known as Custer’s Last Stand. In all, 268 American soldiers were killed and around 60 wounded. The Native Indians suffered 31 killed and around 150 wounded.

1890 – Sitting Bull is killed

Sitting Bull was one of the most famous Native American leaders in the late 19th century. He played an important role in securing a victory against U.S. army at the Battle of Little Bighorn.

Later, he famously performed at the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. In 1890, the local Indian police in South Dakota attempted to arrest him because they suspected he might play a role in a new war. When Sitting Bull resisted the arrest, he was shot and killed.

1890 – Wounded Knee Massacre takes place

Tensions were high among the Lakota people after the murder of Sitting Bull. The U.S. army decided to disarm the Lakota warriors before they could start a fight. To do this, they encircled a Lakota camp at the Wounded Knee Creek near South Dakota.

The Lakota were then asked to give up their weapons. Most of them did, although a deaf Lakota resisted and accidentally shot his rifle. This triggered panic and resulted in a massacre in which U.S. army killed around 200 women and children as well as around 100 men. The casualties on the side of the U.S. army numbered at around 65.

1907 – First American Indian is elected to U.S. Senate

In 1907, Charles Curtis was elected to the U.S. Senate. Curtis had previously been a member of the House since 1893. Curtis traces his native ancestry back to his great-grandmother who was the daughter of the chief of Kaw tribe. He later became the Vice President of the United States of America.

1912 – Native American Jim Thorpe wins Olympic medals

In 1912, Jim Thorpe won two Olympic gold medals. He was the first Native American to win medals for the country and was considered one of the most versatile and accomplished athletes of his age.

1924 – All Native Indians born in U.S. are given citizen rights

Until 1924, the Native Americans weren’t considered citizens of the United States. Even the ones who lived in federal reservations weren’t granted the same rights as other US citizens.

This finally changed after a long struggle for Native American civil rights. In 1924, the Indian Citizenship Act was passed. This Act said that the Indians who were born within the territorial limits of USA were granted full citizenship rights.