A Year In History: 1791

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This Year in History:


Discover what happened in this year with HISTORY’s summaries of major events, anniversaries, famous births and notable deaths.

August 19

Benjamin Banneker writes to Thomas Jefferson, urging justice for African Americans

On August 19, 1791, the accomplished American mathematician and astronomer Benjamin Banneker pens a letter to then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson corresponds prolifically with luminaries from around the world, but Banneker is unique among them: the son of a free Black American woman and a formerly enslaved African man from Guinea, Banneker criticizes Jefferson’s […]

November 4

Native Americans deliver crushing defeat at the Battle of the Wabash

On November 4, 1791, a multitribal confederation, formed to resist colonial expansion into their historical homelands, routs a large contingent of U.S. troops along the Wabash River in western Ohio. This one-sided clash, known as the Battle of the Wabash or St. Clair’s Defeat, would be the biggest victory ever won by Native Americans over […]