1706, January 17: Benjamin Franklin born, in Boston.
ca. 1718: Apprenticed to his brother James, a printer.
1723, SeptemberOctober: Leaves Boston, arrives in Philadelphia.
1724, November: Embarks on first voyage to England; returns to Philadelphia in October 1726.
1730, September: Joins Deborah Read as his wife, although never formally marries her. Probably in the next year his son, William Franklin, is born.
1731, November: Founds the Library Company, Americas first subscription library.
1732, December: Publication of the first Poor Richard: An Almanack.
1737, October: Appointed postmaster of Philadelphia; serves until 1753.
ca. 1740: Invents the Franklin stove.
1748, January: Retires from active printing business.
1751, April: Publication, in London, of Experiments and Observations on Electricity, Part I.
1752, ca. June: Performs kite experiment in Philadelphia.
1753, November: Awarded Copley Medal of the Royal Society.
1757, June: Leaves on second voyage to England, acting as agent for the Assembly; returns to Philadelphia in 1762, but reembarks for England, again as Assembly agent, in November 1763. While abroad over the next few years is appointed agent for Georgia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts as well, and tours Germany, France, Ireland, and Scotland.
1766, February: Examined before the House of Commons on the Stamp Act, which is repealed the next month.
1771, JulyAugust: Writes first part of the Autobiography.
1773, September: Attacks British policy toward America in Rules by Which a Great Empire May be Reduced to a Small one and Edict by the King of Prussia.
1774, December: Deborah Franklin dies.
1775, May: Returns to Philadelphia, and the next day is chosen delegate to the Second Continental Congress.
1776, June: Joins a committee including Thomas Jefferson and John Adams in preparing a Declaration of Independence.
1778, April: Publicly embraces Voltaire at a meeting of the French Academy of Sciences.
1779, February: Appointed sole minister plenipotentiary to the French court.