Date & timelines: Historical eras, events, wars, holidays & generations

Francis Scott Key - Star Spangled Banner song in 1812 - Art from 1958

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Keeping track of the eras, the ages, the generations and more can be confusing — especially when they overlap. Here’s a basic guide to some of the most important eras in American history.

Eras & ages

Georgian era: 1714 to 1830 — the period of the reigns of George I, George II, George III and George IV

Victorian era: 1837 to 1901 — the period of Queen Victoria’s reign

The Gilded Age: 1873 to 1893 — Term coined by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner in their novel of the same name about the post-Civil War era

Edwardian era: 1901 to 1910 — the period covering the reign of King Edward VII

United States event timeline

Colonial settlement: 1600s to 1763

The American Revolution: 1763 to 1783

Adoption of the Declaration of Independence: July 4, 1776

The New Nation: 1783 to 1815

National Expansion and Reform: 1815 to 1880

Civil War Era: 1861 – April 9, 1865 (the Battle of Appomattox Court House)

Reconstruction Era: December 8, 1863 (date of President Lincoln’s Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction) – March 31, 1877 (The Compromise of 1877)

Rise of Industrial America: 1876 to 1900

World War I: 1914 to 1918 (the US joined in 1917)

Progressive Era to New Era: 1900 to 1929

Great Depression: October 1929 to 1939

World War II: 1939 to 1945 (the US joined in 1941)

The Post-War United States: 1945 to 1968

Cold War Era: 1947 to 1991

Sources include the US Library of Congress


American Revolution (1775 to 1783)

War of 1812 (1812 to 1815)

Indian Wars (approximately 1817 to 1898)

Mexican War (1846 to 1848)

Civil War (1861 to 1865)

Spanish-American War (1898 to 1902)

World War I (1917 to 1918)

World War II (1941 –1945)

Korean War (1950 to 1953)

Vietnam War (1964 to 1975)

Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990 to 1991)

Source for war dates: US Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA)

American Federal holidays

New Year’s Day: January 1

Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday: Third Monday in January

Washington’s Birthday: Third Monday in February

Memorial Day: Last Monday in May

Juneteenth National Independence Day: June 19

Independence Day: July 4

Labor Day: First Monday in September

Columbus Day (Indigenous Peoples’ Day): Second Monday in October

Veterans’ Day: November 11

Thanksgiving Day: Fourth Thursday in November

Christmas Day: December 25

Source for holiday dates: The Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM)


These are general guidelines — and yes, some generations overlap!

The Lost Generation: Born 1890-1915

Interbellum Generation: Born 1901 – 1913

Greatest Generation: Born 1910 – 1924

Silent Generation: Born 1925 – 1945

Baby Boomers: Born 1946 – 1964

Generation X (Gen X): Born 1965 – 1979

Xennials: Born 1975 – 1985

Millennials (Generation Y): Born 1980 – 1994

Generation Z: Born 1995 – 2012

Gen Alpha: Born 2013 – 2025

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Comments on this story

2 Responses

  1. This article was very interesting. I’m trying to find out what life was like in New York 1912 for a person of about 20 years of age for a novel I’m writing. Thanks!

  2. Is there somewhere where you can still get the Lip Lickers Lip Gloss? Or a web page where I can order them? I use to have them all back in the early ‘80s! I really really loved them and would love to have them now!!!

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