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1600-1754: Sports and Recreation: Chronology

1600-1754: Sports and Recreation: Chronology




  • James I issues what becomes known as the Book of Sports, which allows various sports and recreations after church on Sundays; this ruling infuriates English Puritans.


  • Virginia passes laws prohibiting dice and cards.


  • Gov. William Bradford of Plymouth confiscates the sports equipment of settlers found playing on Christmas Day instead of working.



  • Kolven, a popular game in the Netherlands somewhat akin to golf and hockey, is played at Rensselaerswyck.



  • A New Netherland Sabbatarian law prohibits idle and forbidden exercises and plays on Sunday.


  • Gov. Richard Nicolls of New York establishes the first organized horse race on Hempstead Plain, Long Island.


  • Gov. Richard Nicolls awards the winners of the horse races at Hempstead Plain a silver, engraved porringerthe first sports trophy in British North America.


  • Throwing the cock, a game which involves tossing a stick at a cock tied to a stake, becomes popular in New England.


  • Pennsylvania adopts William Penns Body of Laws, which forbids recreation on the Sabbath as well as the rude and riotous sports of animal fighting, cards, and dice.


  • A game similar to football is played at Rowley, Massachusetts.


  • Pennsylvania officials pass new laws against Riotous Sports, Plays and Games; Queen Anne, however, disallows the statutes, making them null and void.


  • Pennsylvania passes another series of laws against sports, but Queen Anne again disallows the statutes.


  • For the third time Pennsylvania attempts to enforce laws against sports and recreation, but they are again revoked by royal authorities.


  • Horse racing is advertised in the Boston News-Letter.


  • Bulle-Rocke arrives in North America, the first blooded horse to be imported from England for stud purposes.


  • New York Citys Common Council leases land for a public bowling green.
  • The Colony in Schuylkill, an elite fishing club, is organized in Philadelphia.



  • The first mile track is laid out in Williamsburg, Virginia, for horse races.


  • The stallion Janus is brought to America.

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