On This Day

Historical Events in 1776

Historic Event

Jan 1 General George Washington hoists Continental Union Flag

  • Jan 2 Austria ends the use of interrogation by torture
  • Jan 5 Assembly of New Hampshire adopts its 1st state constitution

Historic Publication

Jan 10 "Common Sense" Pamphlet by Thomas Paine published, advocating American independence

  • Jan 16 Continental Congress approves enlistment of free blacks
  • Jan 18 James Wright, Royal Governor of Georgia, is placed under house arrest by Major Joseph Habersham
  • Jan 24 Henry Knox arrives at Cambridge, Massachusetts, with the artillery that he has transported from Fort Ticonderoga

Theater Premiere

Feb 8 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's play "Stella" premieres in Hamburg

Historic Publication

Feb 17 1st volume of Edward Gibbon's seminal work "The Decline and Fall of Roman Empire" published

  • Mar 2 American troops begin shelling the British in Boston
  • Mar 3 American commodore Esek Hopkins occupies Nassau, Bahamas
  • Mar 4 American War of Independence: The Americans capture Dorchester Heights dominating the port of Boston, Massachusetts

Historic Publication

Mar 9 Adam Smith publishes the influential economics book "The Wealth of Nations"

  • Mar 17 British forces evacuate Boston to Nova Scotia during Revolutionary War
  • Mar 25 Continental Congress authorizes a medal for George Washington
  • Mar 28 Juan Bautista de Anza finds the site for the Presidio of San Francisco
  • Apr 1 Friedrich von Klinger's "Sturm und Drang" premieres in Leipzig
  • Apr 3 George Washington receives honorary Ll.D. degree from Harvard College
  • Apr 7 Captain John Barry and the USS Lexington captures the Edward
  • Apr 12 Halifax resolution for independence adopted by North Carolina
  • Apr 15 Duchess of Kingston found guilty of bigamy
  • May 1 Adam Weishaupt founds secret society of Illuminati
  • May 2 France & Spain agreed to give weapons to American rebels
  • May 4 Rhode Island declares independence from Great Britain
  • May 12 Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, the French minister of Finance resigns

United States Declaration of Independence

Jun 7 Richard Lee (Virginia) moves Declaration of Independence in Continental Congress

  • Jun 12 Virginia adopts Declaration of Rights
  • Jun 28 Final draft of Declaration of Independence submitted to Continental Congress
  • Jun 28 Charleston, South Carolina repulses British sea attack
  • Jun 29 Mission Dolores founded at San Francisco Bay by Lieutenant José Joaquin Moraga and Francisco Palóu

Historic Event

Jun 29 Virginia state constitution adopted and Patrick Henry made governor

Historic Event

Jul 1 1st vote on Declaration of Independence for Britain's North American colonies

  • Jul 2 New Jersey gives the right to vote to all adults who could show a net worth of 50 pounds
  • Jul 2 Continental Congress resolves "these United Colonies are and of right ought to be Free and Independent States"

Historic Event

Jul 2 At the Continental Congress, John Dickinson abstains from the votes that declare independence

Liberty Bell

Jul 4 According to popular legend the Liberty Bell rings for the Second Continental Congress

  • Jul 6 American Declaration of Independence announced on front page of "PA Evening Gazette"
  • Jul 8 Colonel John Nixon gives the 1st public reading of the Declaration of Independence to an assemblage of citizens in Philadelphia
  • Jul 9 Declaration of Independence is read to George Washington's troops in New York

Historic Event

Jul 12 Captain James Cook departs Plymouth, England helming HMS Resolution, beginning his 3rd and final trip to the Pacific

  • Aug 2 Formal signing of the US Declaration of Independence by 56 people (date most accepted by modern historians)
  • Aug 10 American Revolutionary War: word of the United States Declaration of Independence reaches London.
  • Aug 27 British defeat Americans in Battle of Long Island
  • Aug 29 Americans withdraw from Manhattan to Westchester
  • Aug 30 Continental Army evacuates Long Island and falls back to Manhattan, NYC
  • Sep 6 Hurricane hits Martinique; 100 French and Dutch ships sink; 600 die
  • Sep 6 1st (failed) submarine attack: David Bushnell's "Turtle" attacks British sailboat "Eagle" in Bay of NY
  • Sep 6 Hurricane hits Guadeloupe, killing more than 6,000.
  • Sep 9 Congress officially renames the country as the United States of America (from the United Colonies)
  • Sep 12 Nathan Hale leaves Harlem Heights Camp (127th St) for spy mission
  • Sep 15 British forces capture Kip's Bay, Manhattan, during Revolution
  • Sep 17 The Presidio of San Francisco is founded in New Spain.
  • Sep 21 5 days after British take New York, a quarter of the city burns down
  • Sep 21 Nathan Hale, spied on British for American rebels, arrested
  • Sep 24 First St Leger horesrace held at Doncaster
  • Oct 11 Brigadier-General Arnold's Lake Champlain fleet defeated by British during the Battle of Valcour Island (American Revolutionary War)
  • Oct 12 British Brigade begins guarding Throgg Necks Road in Bronx
  • Oct 17 Captain James Cook arrives in Cape Town with Resolution on his 3rd trip to Pacific Ocean
  • Oct 18 In a bar decorated with bird tail in Elmsford, New York, a customer requests a glassful of “those cock tails” from bartender Betsy Flanagan
  • Oct 18 Battle of Pelham: Colonel John Glover & Marblehead regiment meet British Forces in Bronx

Historic Event

Oct 18 Tadeusz Kościuszko receives a commission from US Congress as a colonel of engineers in the Continental Army

Historic Event

Oct 26 Benjamin Franklin departs for France on a mission to seek French support for the American Revolution

  • Oct 28 Battle of White Plains: George Washington retreats to New Jersey
  • Nov 1 Mission San Juan Capistrano founded in California
  • Nov 16 1st gun salute for an American warship in a foreign port - US Andrew Doria at Fort St Eustatius (Dutch Caribbean isalnd)
  • Nov 16 British troops capture Fort Washington during American Revolution
  • Nov 18 Hessians capture Ft Lee, NJ
  • Dec 5 First US fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa (William & Mary College), forms
  • Dec 8 George Washington's retreating army crosses Delaware River from NJ
  • Dec 19 Thomas Paine publishes his 1st "American Crisis" essay beginning "These are the times that try men's souls" (date disputed)
  • Dec 23 Continental Congress negotiates a war loan of $181,500 from France
  • Dec 25 George Washington crosses Delaware, surprises and defeats 1,400 Hessians
  • Dec 26 George Washington defeats Hessians at Battle of Trenton in American Revolutionary War
  • Dec 31 Rhode Island establishes wage & price controls to curb inflation: Limit is 70 cents a day for carpenters, 42 cents for tailors