Pre-history until 1497
Spanish Rule 15131763
British Rule 17631783
Spanish Rule 17831821
U.S. Territorial Period 18221845
American Revolutionary War 17751783
War of 1812 1811-1814
First Seminole War 1817-1818
Capitol moved to Tallahassee 1824
Second Seminole War 1835-1842
Constitutional convention 1838
Third Seminole War 1855-1858
Ordinance of Secession 1861
Civil War 18611865
3rd Constitution 1865
4th Constitution 1868
5th Constitution 1885
Great Migration 19101930
Land Boom 19251929
6th Constitution 1968
Gore v. Harris 2000
Presidential Election 2000
1600 - Piscataway Native Americans live in the Washington D.C. area
May 15, 1751 - The Maryland Assembly appoints commissioners to lay a town
on the Potomac River, above the mouth of Rock Creek, on 60 acres of land to be
purchased from George Gordon and George Beall. This settlement becomes
February 27, 1752 - The survey and plat of Georgetown into 80 lots is completed.
September 17, 1787 - The Constitution is signed by the members of the Constitutional
June 21, 1788 - The 1788 U.S. Constitution, as adopted by the Constitutional Convention
on September 15, 1787, is ratified by the states. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, gives
Congress authority "to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such
District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may by cession of particular States, and the
acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States...."
July 16, 1790 - The Residency Act of 1790 gives the president power to choose a site for
the capital city on the east bank of the Potomac River between the mouth of the Eastern
Branch and the Connogocheague Creek (now Conococheague) near Hagerstown, nearly
70 miles upstream.
January 22, 1791 - George Washington appoints Thomas Johnson and Daniel Carroll of Rock
Creek, representing Maryland and Dr. David Stuart, to represent Virginia, as "Commissioners
for surveying the District of (sic) Territory accepted by the said Act for the permanent seat of
the Government of the United States...."
January 24, 1791 - President George Washington selects a site that includes portions of
Maryland and Virginia.
December 1, 1800 - The federal capital is transferred from Philadelphia to the site on the
Potomac River now called the City of Washington, in the territory of Columbia. At the time of
the 1800 census, the population of the new capital included 10,066 whites, 793 free Negroes
and 3,244 slaves.
February 27, 1801 - Congress divides the [District] into the counties of Washington and Alexandria.
May 3, 1802 - Congress grants the City of Washington its first municipal charter. Voters,
defined as white males who pay taxes and have lived in the city for at least a year, receive
the right to elect a 12-member council. The mayor is appointed by the president.
May 4, 1812 - Congress amends the charter of the City of Washington to provide for an
eight-member board of aldermen and a 12-member common council. The aldermen and the
common council elect the mayor.
1814 - English troops burn the capitol and other federal buildings during the War of 1812
March 15, 1820 - Under the Act of 1820, Congress amends the Charter of the City of Washington
for the direct election of the mayor by resident voters.
1846 - The Smithsonian Institute is established
July 9, 1846 - Congress passes a law returning the city of Alexandria and Alexandria County to
the state of Virginia.
May 17, 1848 - Congress adopts a new charter for the City of Washington and expands the
number of elected offices to include a board of assessors, a surveyor, a collector and a registrar.
April 16, 1862 - Congress abolishes slavery in the federal district (the City of Washington,
Washington County, and Georgetown). This action predates both the Emancipation Proclamation
and the adoption of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
January 8, 1867:Congress grants black males the right to vote in local elections.
June 1, 1871 - The elected mayor and council of Washington City and Georgetown, and the
County Levy Court are abolished by Congress and replaced by a governor and council appointed
by the president. An elected House of Delegates and a non-voting delegate to Congress are
created. In this act, the jurisdiction and territorial government came to be called the District
of Columbia, thus combining the governments of Georgetown, the City of Washington and the
County of Washington. A seal and motto, "Justitia Omnibus" (Justice for All), are adopted for
the District of Columbia.
June 20, 1874 - The territorial government of the District of Columbia, including the non-voting
delegate to Congress, is abolished. Three temporary commissioners and a subordinate military
engineer are appointed by the president.
June 11, 1878 - In The Organic Act of 1878, Congress approves the establishment of the District
of Columbia government as a municipal corporation governed by three presidentially appointed
commissioners _ two civilian commissioners and a commissioner from the military corps of
engineers. This form of government lasted until August 1967.
1888 - Washington Monument opens to the public
July 4, 1906 - The District Building, on 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, becomes the
official City Hall.
1914 - The Lincoln Memorial is completed.
July 1, 1952 - The Reorganization Plan of 1952 transfers to the three commissioners the functions
of more than 50 boards.
March 29, 1961 - The 23rd Amendment to the Constitution gives District residents the right to
vote for president.
February 20, 1967 - The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is created through a
compact between the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
April 22, 1968 - District residents receive the right to elect a Board of Education.
December 24, 1973 - Congress approves the District of Columbia Self-Government and
Governmental Reorganization Act, P.L. 93-198, which establishes an elected mayor and a
May 7, 1974 - Voters of the District of Columbia approve by referendum the District Charter
and the establishment of advisory neighborhood commissions. General elections are held for
mayor and council on November 5, 1974.
January 2, 1975 - The newly elected Mayor Walter Washington and first elected council take
February 3, 1976 - The first election for advisory neighborhood commissioners is held.
March 29, 1978 - The first segment of the Metrorail Red Line opens.
August 22, 1978 - Congress approves the District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment, which
would give District residents voting representation in the House and the Senate. The proposed
constitutional amendment was not ratified by the necessary number of states (38) within the
allotted seven years.
January 2, 1979 - The Mayor Marion Barry takes office.
November 4, 1980 - District electors approve the District of Columbia Statehood Constitutional
Convention of 1979, which became D.C. Law 3-171 and which called for convening a state
November 2, 1982 - After the constitutional convention, a Constitution for the State of New
Columbia is ratified by District voters.
October 1, 1984 - The District enters the municipal bond market.
October 29, 1986 - Congress approves an amendment to the District of Columbia Stadium Act
of 1957, which authorizes the transfer of Robert F. Kennedy Stadium from the federal government
to the District of Columbia government.
February 20, 1987 - The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is created to acquire
Washington National and Washington - Dulles International airports from the federal government,
pursuant to P.L. 99-151, The Metropolitan Washington Airports Act of 1986. The authority begins
operating the airports on June 7, 1987.
October 1, 1987 - Saint Elizabeth's Hospital is transferred to the District of Columbia government
pursuant to P.L. 98-621, The St. Elizabeth's Hospital and the D.C. Mental Health Services Act of
1992 - The House of Rep. approves statehood for Washington D.C., but the Senate does not
January 2, 1992 - Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon, the first woman mayor, takes office.
January 2, 1995 - Marion Barry takes office for an unprecedented fourth term as Mayor of the
District of Columbia.
April 17, 1995 - President Clinton signed the law creating a presidentially appointed District of
Columbia Financial Control Board and a mayor-appointed Chief Financial Officer.
July 13, 1995 - The newly appointed financial control board holds its first public meeting. It is
composed of Dr. Andrew Brimmer, chair; and members - Joyce A. Ladner, Constance B.
Newman, Stephen D. Harlan and Edward A. Singletary. John Hill is the Executive Director and
Daniel Rezneck is the General Counsel.
February 14, 1996 - Mayor Barry announces a transformation plan to reduce the size of
government and increase its efficiency.
September 11, 2001-Terrorist attack destroys part of the Pentagon Building
Source - Office of Public Records
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