On This Day

1776 in History

Events in History

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jan 1 General George Washington hoists Continental Union Flag

First US President George Washington
First US President
George Washington
  • Jan 2 Austria ends interregation torture
  • Jan 5 Assembly of New Hampshire adopts its 1st state constitution

Book releaseHistoric Publication

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

Voice of the American Revolution Thomas Paine
Voice of the American Revolution
Thomas Paine
  • 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

Music releaseTheater Premiere

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

Social Philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Social Philosopher
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Book releaseHistoric Publication

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

Historian Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon
  • Mar 2 Americans begin shelling British troops 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

Book releaseHistoric Publication

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

Economist and Philosopher Adam Smith
Economist and Philosopher
Adam Smith
  • Mar 17 British forces evacuate Boston to Nova Scotia during Revolutionary War
  • Mar 25 Continental Congress authorized 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 Britain
  • May 12 Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, French minister of Finance, resigns

USAUnited States Declaration of Independence

Jun 7 Richard Lee (Virginia) moves Declaration of Independence in Continental Congress
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Engrossed copy of the United States Declaration of Independence
Engrossed copy of the United States Declaration of Independence

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jun 11 Continental Congress creates committee (Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston) to draft a Declaration of Independence

3rd US President Thomas Jefferson
3rd US President
Thomas Jefferson
American Founding Father Robert R. Livingston
American Founding Father
Robert R. Livingston
United States Founding Father Benjamin Franklin
United States Founding Father
Benjamin Franklin
  • 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jun 29 Virginia state constitution adopted and Patrick Henry made governor

American Revolutionary and Founding Father Patrick Henry
American Revolutionary and Founding Father
Patrick Henry

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Presbyterian Minister John Witherspoon
Presbyterian Minister
John Witherspoon
  • 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"

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

Founding Father of the United States John Dickinson
Founding Father of the United States
John Dickinson

USALiberty Bell

Jul 4 According to popular legend the Liberty Bell rings for the Second Continental Congress
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The Liberty Bell on its ornate stand, 1872
The Liberty Bell on its ornate stand, 1872

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jul 11 Captain James Cook begins his third voyage

Explorer James Cook
James Cook
  • Jul 12 Captain James Cook departs with Resolution for 3rd trip to Pacific Ocean
  • 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)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Sep 10 George Washington asks for a spy volunteer, Nathan Hale volunteers

US Patriot and Soldier Nathan Hale
US Patriot and Soldier
Nathan Hale
First US President George Washington
First US President
George Washington
  • 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 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

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

United States Founding Father Benjamin Franklin
United States Founding Father
Benjamin Franklin
  • 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
  • Nov 30 Captain James Cook begins 3rd and last trip to the Pacific
  • 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

Birthdays in History

  • Jan 6 Ferdinand von Schill, Prussian officer & rebel, born in Bannewitz, Germany (d. 1809)
  • Feb 11 Ioannis Kapodistrias, Greek diplomat of the Russian Empire and first head of state of independent Greece (d. 1831)
  • Feb 23 John Walter II, chief proprietor (The Times, 1812-47), born in London, England
  • Mar 10 Luise, Queen of Prussia/wife of Frederik Willem III
  • Mar 12 Hester Stanhope, English aristocrat, traveller and archaeologist, born in Chevening, England (d. 1839)
  • Mar 16 Johan G Verstolk van Soelen, Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs

Person of interestSophie Germain

Apr 1 Sophie Germain, French mathematician, born in Paris, France (d. 1831)

Mathematician Sophie Germain
Sophie Germain
  • Apr 25 Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh, born in Buckingham Palace, London (d. 1857)
  • Apr 26 Joan Melchior Kemper, Dutch lawyer (designed civil code law book), born in Amsterdam (d. 1824)
  • May 4 Johann Friedrich Herbart, German philosopher and psychologist, born in Oldenburg, Germany (d. 1841)
  • Jun 11 John Constable, English landscape painter (Hay Wain), born in East Bergholt, Suffolk, England (d. 1837)
  • Jul 13 Caroline of Baden, Queen of Bavaria, born in Karlsruhe, Margraviate of Baden (d. 1841)

Person of interestAmedeo Avogadro

Aug 9 Amedeo Avogadro, Italian scientist who contributed to molecular theory, including what is known as Avogadro's law (6.022 x 10 ^ 23), born in Torino, Italy (d. 1856)

Scientist Amedeo Avogadro
Amedeo Avogadro
  • Aug 15 Gottlieb Schick, German painter (Apollo under the Hirten), born in Stuttgart, Germany (d. 1812)
  • Nov 14 Henri Dutrochet, discovered & named process of osmosis
  • Dec 16 Johann Wilhelm Ritter, German physicist (d. 1810)
  • Dec 27 Nikolay Kamensky, Russian general (d. 1811)
  • Dec 29 Charles Macintosh, Scottish chemist and inventor (waterproof fabric), born in Glasgow, Scotland (d. 1843)
  • Dec 31 Johann Spurzheim, German physician, born in Trier, Electorate of Trier, Germany (d. 1832)

Weddings in History

  • Oct 7 Crown Prince Paul of Russia marries Sophie Marie Dorothea of Württemberg.

Deaths in History

  • Mar 5 Yeongjo of Joseon, 21st king of the Korean Joseon Dynasty, dies at 81
  • Mar 10 Élie Catherine Fréron, French critic (b. 1719)
  • Mar 10 Niclas Sahlgren, Swedish merchant and philanthropist (b. 1701)
  • Mar 24 John Harrison, English carpenter and clockmaker who invented the marine chronometer to calculate longitude while at sea, dies at 82
  • Mar 26 Samuel Ward, American politician (31st and 33rd Governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations), dies at 50
  • Apr 19 Jacob Israel Emden [Jacob ben Tswi], German rabbi, dies at 78
  • Apr 24 Carolus van de Abeele, Flemish Jesuit, dies at 84
  • Apr 29 Edward Wortley Montagu, English traveler and writer (b. 1713)
  • May 4 Jacques Saly, French sculptor, dies at 58
  • May 13 Anton de Haen, Austrian medical expert (Ratio Medendi), dies at 71
  • Jun 10 Leopold Widhalm, Austrian luthier, dies at 53
  • Jun 20 Benjamin Huntsman, English inventor and manufacturer, dies at 72
  • Jun 27 Thomas Hickey, plan to hand George Washington to British, executed
  • Jun 28 Thomas Hickey, American sergeant convicted of treason, hanged
  • Jul 1 Francis Salvador, 1st Jew to die in American Revolutionary War
  • Jul 7 Jeremiah Markland, English classical scholar (b. 1693)
  • Jul 10 Richard Peters, English-born clergyman (b. 1704)
  • Aug 2 Louis François I, Prince of Conti, French nobleman and military leader, dies at 58

Person of interestDavid Hume

Aug 25 David Hume, Scottish philosopher and historian (A Treatise of Human Nature), dies of abdominal cancer at 65

Philosopher David Hume
David Hume

BattleNathan Hale

Sep 22 Nathan Hale, US captain/patriot/spy, hanged by the British for spying at 21

US Patriot and Soldier Nathan Hale
US Patriot and Soldier
Nathan Hale
  • Oct 17 Pierre François le Courayer, French theologian (b. 1681)
  • Nov 17 James Ferguson, Scottish astronomer, dies at 66
  • Nov 26 Dov Baer of Mezhirech, hassidic rabbi, dies
  • Dec 26 Johann Gottlieb Rall, Hessian colonel/mercenary, dies in battle in American Revolutionary War