|Cristóbal Colón (Christopher Columbus), sailing for the Spanish monarchy, arrives in the Americas while attempting to sail to India.
|Treaty of Tordesillas signed between Spain and Portugal; divides the newly discovered lands between the two countries.
|Juan Ponce de León begins exploration of the southern part of Puerto Rico. Spanish colonists establish communities on Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Cuba.
|Hernán Cortés travels to Mexico. War breaks out between Cortés and Emperor Montezuma in Aztec city of Tenochtitlán. Montezuma killed; two years later Emperor Cuauhtemoc surrenders the city to Cortés.
|Francisco Pizarro begins first of two voyages down the Colombian coast and continues his explorations southward, naming Peru.
|Pánfilo de Nárvaez leads expedition to Florida and claims the land for Spain. Expedition later destroyed by weather and hostile natives; Nárvaez does not survive. Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, survivor of Nárvaez expedition, begins own expedition exploring what is now the American Southwest.
|Hernando de Soto explores regions of Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, then crosses Appalachian Mountains into Tennessee. Also explores Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas.
|Francisco Vásquez de Coronado explores areas now known as New Mexico and Arizona and later into Kansas.
|Cabeza de Vaca publishes Navfragios--considered first history of the United States--documenting his experience among Native American nations. Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo leads first European expedition to explore what is now the west coast of United States. Lands at and names San Diego Bay.
|Phillip II becomes king of Spain, ruling until 1598.
|Juan de Oñate leads 300 colonists to the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico to establish Franciscan missions. He later establishes a colony at San Gabriel (present-day Chamita, New Santa Fe) and becomes the first governor of New Mexico.
|English colonists establish their first permanent settlement at Jamestown in Virginia, beginning the British colonial empire in North America.
|Successful campaign mounted by Spanish to subdue natives of West Florida.
|Great Pueblo Revolt, uprising of Pueblo Indians, occurs in Santa Fe area on August 10. Missions destroyed, 21 Franciscans killed, 2,000 Spanish colonists driven out of New Mexico. The Spanish do not return until 1692.
|Father Eusebio Kino journeys to southern Arizona to work with Pima Indians. One of the first scientific explorers, cartographers, astronomers, historians, builders, and ranchmen of Pimería Alta, Kino establishes more than 20 missions.
|Britain’s Parliament passes Naturalization Act granting British citizenship to foreign immigrants who come to North American colonies.
|French and Indian War begins between Britain and France, ending with signing of Treaty of Paris.
|Fray Junípero Serra establishes San Diego de Alcalá mission, first of nine missions he founds along El Camino Real in California.
|Colonies declare independence from Great Britain with signing of Declaration of Independence on July 4.
|Spain, as ally of France, declares war on Britain and recognizes sovereignty of the American colonists.
|Treaty of Versailles returns East Florida to Spain from Britain.
|George Washington inaugurated as first president of United States. Diego de Gardoqui, Spanish ambassador to United States, present at inauguration.
|United States and Spain sign Pinckney Treaty, by which Spain cedes to United States forts and ports on eastern side of Mississippi River and opens the river to American navigation.
|Under Treaty of Ildefonso, Louisiana retrocedes from Spain to France.
|Argentina successful in fight for independence from Spain. México begins to fight for independence from Spain.
|Under terms of Adams-Onís Treaty, Spain cedes Florida to United States.
|Spain cedes remainder of its Florida territory to United States.