During corticogenesis, early-born neurons of the preplate and layer 6 are important for guiding subsequent neuronal migrations and axonal projections. Tbr1 is a putative transcription factor that is highly expressed in glutamatergic early-born cortical neurons. In Tbr1-deficient mice, these early-born neurons had molecular and functional defects. Cajal-Retzius cells expressed decreased levels of Reelin, resulting in a reeler-like cortical migration disorder. Impaired subplate differentiation was associated with ectopic projection of thalamocortical fibers into the basal telencephalon. Layer 6 defects contributed to errors in the thalamocortical, corticothalamic, and callosal projections. These results show that Tbr1 is a common genetic determinant for the differentiation of early-born glutamatergic neocortical neurons and provide insights into the functions of these neurons as regulators of cortical development.