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U.S. Immigration Timeline

Timeline 1492-1860

1492 Genocide of indigenous peoples begins with Christopher Columbus' arrival in the Americas.

1619 First shipload of 20 indentured African slaves arrives in Jamestown, Virginia.

1654 First Jewish immigrants to the New World (originating from Brazil) settle in New Amsterdam.

1717 An Act of Parliament in England legalizes transportation of criminals to work in American colonies as punishment.

1718 Large-scale Scottish and Irish immigration begins, with most settling in New England, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

1790 Naturalization Act: citizenship denied to "nonwhites."

1807 The U.S. Congress says it is illegal to import African slaves.

1845 A Nativist political party is founded. Ten years later, a similar anti-immigrant "Know-Nothing" political party reaches its peak of support.

1848 Following the Mexican-American War, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo gives former Mexican lands to the United States in what is now Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Utah. Mexican Americans lose land to Anglos by both legal and illegal means.

1849 Discovery of gold in California lures people from all over the world, including many from China, to work mining claims.

1860 New York becomes the largest Irish city in the world, with 203,760 Irish-born citizens.


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