This site has a pretty exhaustive timeline: http://www.filmsite.org/animatedfilms.html
James Stuart Blackton is often referred to as the father of American animation with his stop motion animation Humourous Phases of Funny Faces in 1906.
The dawn of traditional animation began in 1914 with Windsor McCay who produced 'Getie the Dinosaur'. Although not the 'first' animation, it is the first to feature a character with an appealing personality.
"The little-known but pioneering, oldest-surviving feature-length animated film that can be verified (with silhouette animation techniques and color tinting) was released by German film-maker and avante-garde artist Lotte Reiniger, The Adventures of Prince Achmed (aka Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed) (1926, Germ.)" (Dirks, date unknown).
Clip of 'Achmed' on YouTube:
Illustraitions and Movie Clips:
moviemartyr. Lotte Reiniger's The Adventures of Prince Achmed, [Video Clip] at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25SP4ftxklg&feature=related uploaded June 2009 (Accessed 9/3/2011)
Dirks, Tim "Greatest Films - Animated Films, http://www.filmsite.org/animatedfilms.html Last revision unknown (accessed 9/3/2011)