Exploration

 1920 1¢ Pilgrim Tercentenary: The Mayflower
September 16, 1620

The Mayflower Departs England for America

On September 16, 1620, the Mayflower left England. The Pilgrims braved rough seas and a harsh winter in search of religious freedom and founded the settlement of Plymouth.

Read Article
1909 2¢ Hudson-Fulton Celebration: Half Moon and Clermont
September 12, 1609

Henry Hudson Sails the Hudson River

On September 12, 1609, explorer Henry Hudson reached the river that would bear his name.  

Read Article
2000 33¢ Celebrate the Century - 1980s: Space Shuttle Program
August 30, 1984

First Launch of Space Shuttle Discovery 

On August 30, 1984, the Space Shuttle Discovery made its first launch into space, two months later than initially planned.  It would go on to make more flights than any other shuttle in its fleet. 

Read Article
1951 3¢ Landing of Cadillac at Detroit
July 24, 1701

Founding of Detroit 

On July 24, 1701, French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac established a fort on the site of what would become the city of Detroit.

Read Article
1974 10¢ First Kentucky Settlement
June 11, 1940

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park was established on June 11, 1940, along the Kentucky-Virginia border. The park preserves and honors the “first great gateway to the West.”

Read Article
1971 8¢ Missouri Statehood
March 29, 1827

Founding of Independence, Missouri

On March 29, 1867, Independence, Missouri, was founded. Known as the “Queen City of the Trails,” it became the starting point for several trails that carried thousands of settlers to the West.

Read Article
1969 6¢ John Wesley Powell
March 24, 1834

Birth of John Wesley Powell 

Soldier, geologist, and explorer John Wesley Powell was born on March 24, 1834, in Mount Morris, New York.  A Civil War veteran, Powell explored and produced some of the first accurate maps of the West and later was director of the US Geological Survey.

Read Article
 2002 37¢ Masters of American Photography: Timothy H. O'Sullivan stamp
January 14, 1882

Death of Timothy O’Sullivan

Timothy H. O’Sullivan died from tuberculosis on January 14, 1882.  He was a well-known photographer who captured the brutality of the Civil War and the untamed beauty of the Western United States.

Read Article
1968 6¢ Cherokee Strip stamp
September 16, 1893

Largest Land Run in Oklahoma 

On September 16, 1893, some 100,000 people raced to claim 6 million acres of land in former Indian Territory in Oklahoma.  It was the largest land run into Oklahoma and resulted in the establishment of 40,000 homesteads. 

Read Article

Love history?

Discover events in American history – plus the stamps that make them come alive.

Subscribe to get This Day in History stories straight to your inbox every day!