1732 (22nd February)
George Washington was born to Augustine Washington and his second wife Mary Ball. He was born at Popes Creek, a tobacco plantation in Westmoreland County, Virginia established by his great-grandfather. He was the couple’s first child, Augustine had two children by his first marriage, Lawrence and Augustine.
1733 (20th June)
George’s sister, Elizabeth was born to Augustine and Mary Washington in Pope’s Creek, Westmoreland County, Virginia. She was known as Betty.
1734 (27th November)
George’s brother, Samuel was born to Augustine and Mary Washington in Pope’s Creek, Westmoreland County, Virginia.
The family moved to Little Hunting Creek, another plantation established by George Washington’s grandfather in Stafford County, Virginia.
George’s brother, John Augustine, was born to Augustine and Mary Washington at Little Hunting Creek, Stafford County, Virginia.
George began his education. It is thought that he was taught by private tutors and/or attended a local school.
1738 (2nd May)
George’s brother, Charles, was born to Augustine and Mary Washington at Hunting Creek, Stafford County, Virginia.
Augustine Washington purchased the Strother property and land across the Rappahannock river, near Fredericksburg, Virginia. It later became known as Ferry Farm.
George’s sister, Mildred, was born to Augustine and Mary Washington. She died within a year.
1743 (12th April)
Washington’s father died. George inherited the Strother property while his half-brother Lawrence inherited Little Hunting Creek which he renamed as Mount Vernon.
George gained a surveyor’s license after passing a course at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia. His half-brother, Lawrence’s father-in-law, William Fairfax, gave him a position as surveyor of Culpeper County, Virginia.
George travelled to Barbados with his half-brother, Lawrence. It was hoped that the climate would help Lawrence who was suffering with tuberculosis. George caught smallpox while there.
George Washington joined the Virginia militia, an armed force of local citizens who predominantly helped to protect British interests against attack from native Americans.
Lawrence Washington died of tuberculosis. George leased the Mount Vernon Plantation from Lawrence’s widow, Anne.
Seven Years War/ French and Indian War
The French had began building forts south of Lake Erie, on land claimed by Virginia.
George Washington, who had been promoted to Major, was sent at the head of a force to deliver a letter asking the French to leave. The French refused the request.
Washington was captured by the French after ambushing a French force. Although he was released the French claimed that he had been sent as an assassin.
1754 (late July)
Washington resigned his commission.
Washington returned to the military as a volunteer. He accompanied General Edward Braddock on a campaign to capture a French fort. However, the company were defeated and after Braddock was killed Washington organised the retreat.
Washington was appointed Commander of the Virginia Regiment and was charged with protecting the frontier for the rest of the war.
Washington was elected a member of the Virginia local government.
1759 (6th January)
George Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis, the widow of Daniel Parke Custis, a plantation owner. Martha had two children from her first marriage, John, known as Jacky and Martha, known as Patsy.
Washington’s sister-in-law, Anne, died. George inherited the Mount Vernon Plantation.
Washington moved his family to Mount Vernon.
1763 (15th February)
Seven Years War/ French and Indian War
The war ended with the British and their allies victorious. The British decided to retain a military presence in the American colonies rather than lay off high ranking soldiers.
The British economy was suffering following the Seven Years War and after meeting resistance from the British people for raised taxation, decided to tax the American Colonies instead.
1764 (5th April)
The British government imposed a tax on all imports of sugar from the Colonies. The tax was not well received and colonists including Washington, protested.
Although each colony elected representatives to their own local governing body, the colonists had no representation in the British government. The British Constitution states that subjects give their consent to taxation through sending a representative to Parliament. The American Colonists questioned the right of the British government to tax the colonies since they had no representation in Parliament. The government’s reply that as a colony they were ‘represented virtually’, was not well received.
1765 (22nd March)
The British parliament passed this act which required an official stamp on all legal documents and the stamp had to be paid for. It would become effective in November 1765 and was repealed the following year.
1767 (29th June)
Named after Chancellor of the Exchequer, Charles Townshend, this series of Acts imposed taxation to raise money to pay for the salaries of governors and judges, introduced measures to enforce trade regulations and set a precedent for the British Parliament to directly tax the colonies. The Acts which taxed all imports from Britain were met with protests and rioting.
George Washington called for Virginians to boycott all English goods in protest at the increased taxation.
1770 (5th March)
Tensions were high in Boston following the killing of Christopher Seider. A group of protesters gathered outside the Boston Custom House. Insults were shouted at Private White who was on guard duty. The crowd of protesters, led by former slave, Crispus Attucks, grew, and objects were thrown at Private White. White retaliated and struck a colonist with his bayonet. The army sent reinforcements led by Captain Preston which further annoyed the growing crowd who struck the soldiers with clubs and sticks. The situation became confused and one soldier thought he heard the command ‘fire’ and fired into the crowd. Other soldiers followed the lead and also fired into the crowd. Five people including Crispus Attucks were killed and six others were wounded. The crowd dispersed but anger against the British was growing.
1773 (10th May)
This act was introduced by the British to help the British East India Company
by only allowing the colonies to import tea from the British East India Company. All colonies except Massachusetts refused to allow ships to dock. In Massachusetts the governor allowed the ships to dock in Boston.
1773 (19th June)
Washington’s stepdaughter, Patsy, died following an epileptic fit.
1773 (16th December)
Boston Tea Party
The Sons of Liberty organised this protest against the import of British East India Company tea. Demonstrators boarded British ships and threw chests of tea into Boston Harbour.
This was a series of measures taken by the British government to punish Massachusetts following the Boston Tea Party. The Acts included the withdrawing of the right to self-governance and the right of the British army to house troops in private property.
Washington was head of the Fairfax County Committee that called for a Continental Congress to be formed and attended by delegates of all colonies.
1774 (5th September)
First Continental Congress
This was the first meeting of delegates from the British colonies. They met at Carpenters’ Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The delegates discussed a response to the Intolerable Acts and decided to boycott British trade. Washington attended as a delegate for Virginia.
1775 (19th April)
American War of Independence
– Battles of Lexington and Concord
Local militia had assembled in readiness for the British arrival. Shots were fired at Lexington and the militia were forced to withdraw to Concord. The British split into groups to search for the weapons. The British that were sent to Concord were outnumbered by 4:1 and forced to retreat to Boston. This battle generally marks the beginning of the American War of Independence.
1775 (15th June)
The Second Continental Congress voted to assemble a Continental Army which would be commanded by George Washington.
1775 (3rd July)
George Washington took control of the colonists’ Patriot Army that had laid siege to Boston.
1776 (4th March)
Colonial troops commanded by Washington took control of Dorchester Heights on the outskirts of Boston and fortified the region. Cannons were installed and pointed at the city and British ships in the harbour.
1776 (17th March)
Washington allowed the British to leave Boston for Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
1776 (late March)
Washington moved his troops to New York.
1776 (2nd July)
Congress voted in favour of independence.
1776 (2nd July)
William Howe began landing British Loyalist troops on Staten Island, New York. In response Washington split his troops between Manhattan and Long Island.
1776 (4th July)
Declaration of Independence
Largely written by Thomas Jefferson
, this declaration proclaimed the independence of the Thirteen Colonies from Britain. It includes the infamous statement ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ It was circulated to the troops and people of the Colonies.
1776 (27th August)
William Howe’s troops successfully outflanked Washington and forced the Patriots to retreat from Long Island.
1776 (15th September)
The British forces commanded by William Howe took control of New York City.
1776 (28th October)
Battle of White Plains
William Howe managed to force Washington to retreat further.
1776 (16th November)
Battle of Fort Washington
The British managed to take control of Fort Washington in New York. Those Americans inside the fort that were not killed were taken prisoner on prison ships.
1776 (20th November)
George Washington ordered a further retreat. William Howe ordered British troops not to pursue but to take control of New York and then enter winter quarters in the city.
1776 (25th December)
George Washington took the British by surprise at Trenton, New Jersey. After so many defeats this victory helped to raise morale among the Patriots.
1777 (3rd January)
General Cornwallis had marched to retake Trenton but was repulsed by Washington.
1777 (6th January)
Washington and his army entered winter quarters in Morristown, New Jersey.
1777 (14th June)
The first stars and stripes American flag was produced.
1777 (11th September)
Battle of Brandywine
British troops under William Howe defeated American troops led by George Washington. However, Howe failed to destroy Washington’s troops.
1777 (5th – 8th December)
Battle of White Marsh
The forces of Howe and Washington fought sporadically for three days. Howe then made the decision to retreat to Philadelphia.
1777 (19th December)
George Washington took his troops into winter quarters at Valley Forge. Over the coming winter around 2500 American troops died due to poor conditions and lack of supplies.
1778 (23rd February)
Baron von Steuben, an experienced Prussian officer who supported the American cause, arrived at Valley Forge. George Washington appointed him as inspector general. Von Steuben quickly made changes to the camp and which improved hygiene, health and conditions for the men. He also introduced drilling and military exercises for the men.
1778 (7th March)
General Howe resigned his command and was replaced by Henry Clinton.
1778 (28th June)
Battle of Monmouth
Washington managed to hold off a British force led by Clinton.
The war had reached a stalemate with neither side making significant gains. Morale among the American troops was poor and public support for the continuing war was diminishing. American officer, Benedict Arnold, secretly approached the British with a view to surrendering West Point in return for a position in the British Army. He began passing secret, strategic information to British spy John Andre.
Washington entered winter quarters at Morristown. Conditions were harsh with sub-zero temperatures and a lack of provisions.
1780 (23rd September)
British spy John Andre was captured and Benedict Arnold’s plan to defect came to light. Arnold escaped to British-held New York.
1780 (2nd October)
British spy John Andre was executed by hanging.
1781 (19th January)
Raid on Richmond
The British took Richmond, Virginia and burnt the city. Governor Thomas Jefferson managed to escape.
1781 (6th June)
Siege of Augusta
After a two week siege, Augusta fell to the Patriots. This victory effectively secured the south for the Americans.
General Henry Clinton sent orders to Charles Cornwallis to move his British troops and fortify Yorktown.
1781 (28th September)
Siege of Yorktown
American and French forces placed Cornwallis under siege at Yorktown.
1781 (19th October)
Siege of Yorktown
The British had received no reinforcements and an attempt to break out of Yorktown across the river had failed. Cornwallis decided that he had no choice but to surrender.
1781 (5th November)
George Washington’s stepson Jacky died from a fever.
1782 (27th February)
The British government voted to end the war by 19 votes. Henry Clinton was recalled from America and Guy Carleton was sent as his replacement with instructions to suspend further attacks.
1782 (30th November)
Terms for a peace between America and Britain were agreed with Britain agreeing independence for the colonies.
1783 (19th April)
The Continental Congress ratified the Peace Agreement.
George Washington expressed the need for the 13 colonies to come together and maintain a strong union. He felt that the Union needed a Constitution to set out terms of government.
1783 (3rd September)
Peace of Paris/ Treaty of Paris
This treaty was signed by representatives of King George III and the United States.
1783 (25th November)
The last British troops left New York City.
1783 (23rd December)
George Washington resigned as Commander of the Continental forces. He returned to Mount Vernon in time for Christmas.
Washington visited his mother in Fredericksburg. He found that people revered him as a hero.
Washington’s financial status was not good. His plantation had not made a profit during the war, he was owed money and he was in debt to his staff and the tax office.
1786 (29th August)
The need for a formal constitution was highlighted after a rebellion against taxation broke out in Massachusetts.
Congress agreed to hold a Constitutional Convention in the Spring of 1787. Delegates from each state were invited to attend.
1786 (21st December)
Washington was chosen to lead the Virginia delegation to the Constitutional Convention, but he declined the offer.
The Mount Vernon plantation was still not showing a profit so Washington remodelled the site.
1787 (28th March)
George Washington was finally persuaded to attend the Constitutional Convention.
1787 (25th May)
George Washington was elected president of the Convention and recommended that a new constitution and national government be established.
1787 (28th September)
The Constitution of the United States of America was presented to Congress. After ratification it would become effective from 4th March 1789.
1789 (4th February)
The first presidential elections were held.
1789 (6th April)
1789 (30th April)
George Washington was inaugurated as President. He believed in a strong central government and did not represent any political party. He felt that forming political parties would lead to conflict which would not be good for the fledgling republic.
1789 (July – September)
Washington established the State Department, the Department of War and the Treasury Department and appointed men to run them. His Cabinet included John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Henry Knox, Samuel Osgood and Edmund Randolph.
Washington hoped that the Indian tribes would abandon their nomadic hunting lifestyle, settle and become integrated American communities. However, when it became clear that the Indians were determined to resist American expansion, he sent the military to subdue them .
1790 (16th July)
Congress asked Washington to select a location for the capital of the United States and permanent seat of government. The new city is called Washington.
1791 (25th February)
Washington’s government approved the establishment of the First Bank of the United States, suggested by Alexander Hamilton founder of the Federalist Party. However Thomas Jefferson, founder of the Jeffersonian Republicans did not support the idea.
In a move to raise funds, Congress introduced a tax on alcoholic spirits. The initiative was not well received.
1792 (20th April)
War of the First Coalition/ French Revolutionary Wars
War broke out between Britain and France. Washington declared the United States neutral in the conflict.
The hostilities between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson continued. Washington had intended to step down as president after one term in office but, worried that the conflict between Hamilton and Jefferson would affect the Republic, decided to stand for a second term.
Fugitive Slave Act
Washington’s government passed this act which allowed escaped slaves to be returned to their owners. The northern states were not happy with the act feeling that it would encourage bounty hunters.
1793 (13th February)
George Washington was unanimously elected as President for a second term. John Adams was vice president for a second term.
The feud between Hamilton and Jefferson continued and Thomas Jefferson resigned from the government.
Hostility towards the tax on alcoholic spirits had continued. Tax collectors faced violence and verbal abuse. Washington called for state governors to send troops to allow tax collectors to do their jobs and enforce the law.
1794 (22nd March)
Slave Trade Act
This anti-slavery act limited American involvement in the Atlantic slave trade.
1794 (19th November)
Jay Treaty/ Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation
This was a peace and trade treaty between the United States and Great Britain. The treaty upset many Americans and annoyed France. It also led to greater division between the Federalists and the Jeffersonian Republicans.
1796 (19th September)
George Washington decided not to stand for a third term as President. His Farewell Address to the people was published in the American Daily Advertiser.
1797 (4th March)
Washington retired to Mount Vernon where he worked on his plantations.
1797 (4th March)
John Adams became the second President of the United States.
Washington’s lands in the west were facing continual attacks by Indian tribes and were not profitable. He was also unable to sell the lands due to the hostility of the Indians. Politically he began to lean towards the Federalists.
1798 (4th July)
The appeal of retirement had worn off and Washington found he was bored and restless. He wrote to Adams offering to help organise his army. Adams responded by making him Commander-in-Chief of the army.
1799 (12th December)
Washington braved the snow to inspect his farms. He arrived home cold and wet but ate dinner before changing.
1799 (13th December)
Washington was out in the snow again marking trees that needed felling.
1799 (14th December)
Washington woke up with a sore throat and breathing difficulties. He ordered blood-letting to try to improve his condition. It did not work and he died later that night.
1799 (18th December)
George Washington was buried in the family vault at Mount Vernon.