Sunday, June 9, 2019

Women in America Timeline 1651-1670

Timeline Of Events Directly Affecting Women

Copies of complete documents may be found by clicking on highlighted descriptions.

Immigrants moving south from Virginia settle the coast of present-day North Carolina. A governor is appointed in 1664, but the first town is established by the arrival of the French Huguenots in 1704.

Slave Francis Payne of Northampton County, Virginia, paid for his freedom about 1650 by purchasing three white servants for his master's use. Francis Payne was married to a white woman named Amy by September 1656, when he gave her a mare by deed of jointure.

First Indian Reservation is created near Richmond, Virginia.

Rhode Island enacts the first law restricting slavery in the colonies and declares slavery illegal for more than 10 years.

Massachusettes requires all black and Indian male servants to receive military training

Boat with twenty-three Jews, mostly refugees from Recife, Brazil, arrives in New Amsterdam (New York), marking the beginning of Jewish communal settlement in North America.

A Virginia court allows African Americans to hold slaves.

Jews in New Netherlands are granted rights to trade, travel, and stand guard.

Elizabeth Key, daughter of a slave, sues for her freedom and wins in Virginia. (See blog for further information.)


Members of the Religious Society of Friends, commonly referred to as Quakers, arrive in Boston from England. While springing from the same religious turmoil that gave rise to the Separatist movement, the Quakers lack respect for hierarchy and believe in man’s ability to achieve his own salvation. Tenets so contrary to orthodox Puritanism quickly turn most New Englanders against them.

Massachusetts Bay Colony Puritans whip, imprison, & banish the first Quakers to arrive in the colony. Legislation in 1658 bars the Quakers from holding their services, called "meetings."

On 22 September 1656 in Maryland, an all-woman jury, the first in the colonies, acquits Judith Catchpole on charges of murdering her unborn child.

The small number of Quakers in Plymouth Colony congregate primarily in Sandwich on Cape Cod and in Scituate. Laws are passed forbidding any to transport Quakers into the colony, to give them “entertainment” (housing) or to attend a Quaker meeting. Punishments include fines, whipping, imprisonment or banishment. A number of people are brought before the courts on these charges.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony passes a law fining any person b
ringing a Quaker into the colony £100. A Quaker returning to the colony, after being expelled, will have their ears cropped and their tongues bored with hot iron.

Jews in New Netherlands are granted rights to own property and to establish a Jewish cemetery.

Virginia passes a fugitive slave law strong

At Oliver Cromwell's death, the English Commonwealth soon dissolves. The late monarch's heir is brought out of exile to rule as Charles II in 1660. The decades following the reestablishment of the monarchy are marked by a surge of artistic, literary, and dramatic output.

Three Quakers each lose an ear after returning to Massachusetts. The Boston authorities pass a new law with the penalty for expelled Quakers returning to the colony being death.

Long Island passes a similar anti-Quaker law.

Quakers William Robinson & Marmaduke Stephenson are hanged for refusing to leave Massachusetts. Mary Barrett Dyer, a follower of Anne Hutchinson & later a Quaker, is scheduled to hang with them but is reprieved at the last minute.

Mary Barrett Dyer is executed on Boston Common for her Quaker proselytizing & for defying an expulsion order by returning to Boston. She is one of four Quakers hanged between 1659 and 1661.

The English Crown approves a Navigation Act requiring the exclusive use of English ships for trade in the English Colonies & limits exports of tobacco and sugar & other commodities to England or its colonies.

An Act for Supressing the Quakers is passed in Virginia.

Charles II, King of England, orders the Council of Foreign Plantations to devise strategies for converting slaves and servants to Christianity.


The first native Africans were brought to Virginia in 1619. They were hired, with rights of contract, for work on large plantations of tobacco, rice, & indigo. By the 1660s, plantation owners change the laws & revoke contracts, so that African men, women, & children cannot earn their freedom.

After her husband's death in 1660, Margaret Hardenbrook de Vries (later Philipse) takes over his business as a merchant buying furs and shipping them to Holland in return for Dutch products, which she sells in New Amsterdam. Although she remarries, she continues to run the business until she dies in 1690. 

Massachusetts continues to punish Quakers by hanging those who refuse to leave the colony. After a royal edict requires Massachusetts authorities to release imprisoned Quakers & return them to England, the authorities allow them to leave for other colonies. Corporal punishment for Quakers & other dissenters is suspended in the Massachusetts Bay colony by order of Parliament.

Virginia General Assembly declares children of enslaved women to be slaves.

Massachusetts reverses a ruling dating back to 1652, which allowed blacks to train in arms. New York, Connecticut, and New Hampshire pass similar laws restricting the bearing of arms.

The Carolinas. King Charles II of England grants a charter for the Carolina colonies to 8 loyal supporters. The Province of Carolina was divided into North Carolina & South Carolina in 1712. (Both colonies became royal colonies in 1729.)

A Declaration and Proposals of the Lord Proprietor of Carolina, Aug. 25-Sept. 4

Navigation Act of 1663 requires that most imports to the colonies must be transported via England on English ships.

In Gloucester County, Virginia, the first documented slave rebellion in the colonies takes place.

Maryland legalizes slavery.

The British take control of New Amsterdam & New Netherlands, introduce English constitutional forms. The Dutch settlers were able to retain their properties & worship as they please. The Colonial Dutch style of art & life remains pervasive in New York throughout the 18th century.

The Concession and Agreement of the Lords Proprietors of the Province of New Caesarea, or New Jersey, to and With All and Every the Adventurers and All Such as Shall Settle or Plant There; February 10

Grant of the Province of Maine; March 12

The Duke of York's Release to John Ford Berkeley, and Sir George Carteret; June 24

Anne Bradstreet’s MEDITATIONS DIVINE AND MORALL is a collection of her prose devotional writings written for her son Simon, which draw on her daily experiences. Probably written between 1655-1665, but found after her death in 1672.

Maryland is the first colony to take legal action against marriages between white women and black men.  Maryland, 1664: The first colonial "anti-amalgamation" law is enacted (amalgamation referred to "race-mixing"). Other colonies soon followed Maryland's example.

The State of Maryland mandates lifelong servitude for all black slaves. New York, New Jersey, the Carolinas, and Virginia all pass similar laws


Legislation in several states tightens the bonds of slavery. English law provides that slaves may be freed if they convert to Christianity and establish legal residence, but Maryland, New York, New Jersey, the Carolinas, and Virginia pass laws allowing conversion & residence without freeing any slaves.

Concessions and Agreements of the Lords Proprietors of the Province of Carolina

Charter of Carolina; June 30

Great Plague of London begins.

Maryland passes a fugitive slave law.

Virginia declares that Christian baptism will not alter a man or a woman's status as a slave.

Virginia, 1667: Christian baptisms would no longer affect the bondage of blacks or Indians, preventing enslaved workers from improving their legal status by changing their religion.
New Jersey passes a fugitive slave law.

The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina : March 1

The State of Virginia prohibits free blacks and Indians from keeping Christian (i.e. white) servants.

Yale Law School, The Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History, and Diplomacy. New Haven, CT.


HISTORY MATTERS. American Social History Project / Center for Media and Learning (Graduate Center, CUNY) and the Center for History and New Media (George Mason University). Internet.