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This title offers more than 10,000 years of history in the palm of your hand. From the early beginnings of human civilization in prehistoric times, to the first manned space flight and beyond, discover all about the things that have influenced our past and shaped our world today. You'll meet great rulers and politicians, philosophers and revolutionaries who have changed world history. Travel to mighty civilisations to explore the progress of humanity. Follow earth-shattering wars and revolutions, major achievements in the fields of science and technology and milestones in the arts. Plus, take a look at the common threads running through the world's diverse and geographically distant cultures, as well as their many differences.
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Year:
2010
Publisher:
Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd
Language:
english
Pages:
512 / 514
ISBN 10:
1405341246
ISBN 13:
9781405341240
Series:
Eyewitness Companions
File:
PDF, 87.95 MB
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E Y E W ITNESS c om pa n ion s

World History
philip pa r k er

Civi l i zat ion s • E v e nts • idea s
g r e at l i v e s • di s cov er ies

EYEWITNESS COMPANIONS

PHILIP PARKER

“THOSE WHO CANNOT
REMEMBER THE PAST
ARE CONDEMNED TO
REPEAT IT.”
Geo
Ge
eorge
eo
rge
ge Sa
Santa
ntayan
nta
yana,
yan
na
a,, 20t
20th-c
20
h-- ent
h-c
ntury
uryy ph
philo
p
ilo
losop
so
sop
sopher
oph
her
er

“THINK OF
TOMORROW,
THE PAST
CAN’T BE
M E N DE D . ”
Confuc
Con
Co
fucius
ius,
us, Ana
An le
lec
e ts
ts,, 6th
h cen
ntur
tury BCE

LONDON, NEW YORK,
MUNICH, MELBOURNE, DELHI
Managing Editor
Managing Art Editor
Project Editor
Project Art Editor
Cartographers
Production Controller
Production Editor
Art Director
Publisher
Associate Publisher

Camilla Hallinan
Karen Self
Sam Atkinson
Anna Hall
Simon Mumford,
Paul Eames
Imogen Boase
Luca Frassinetti
F
Bryn Walls
Jonathan Metcalf
Liz Wheeler

Produced for Dorling Kindersley by

Foreword 10

The Stables, Wood Farm,
F
Deopham Road,
R
Attleborough, Norfolk NR17 1AJ
A
www.cobaltid.co.uk

12
WHAT IS
HISTORY?

Editors
Marek Walisiewicz, Kati Dye,
Louise Abbott, Judy Barrett, Robin
R
Sampson
Art Editors
Paul Reid,
R
Darren Bland,
Claire Dale, Lloyd Tilbury, Annika Skoog
First published in 2010 by
Dorling Kindersley Limited
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL
A Penguin Company

26
TIMELINES OF
WORLD HISTORY
56
THE
PREHISTORIC
W
WORLD
to 3000 bce

2 4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3 1
Copyright © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited.

Human Ancestors 60

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any
form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission
of the copyright owner.

The Earliest Humans 64

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from
the British Library.
ISBN 978-1-4053-4124-0
Colour reproduction by Media Development
Printing Limited.
Printed and bound in China by
Leo Paper Products Limited.

See our complete catalogue at

www.dk.com
key to symbols us; ed in this book

n Country of origin

d Date of origin

Early Societies 72

80
THE ANCIENT
WORLD
3000–700 bce
The Near East 84
Egypt 92
Europe 100
South Asia 102
East Asia 104
The Americas 106

CONTENTS
108
THE CLASSICAL
WORLD
700 bce–600 ce
Persia 112

214
THE EARLY
MODERN
WORLD
1450–1750

Greece 116

Asia 218

Rome 128

The Americas 232

Celtic and
Germanic Europe 142

Europe 238

People of the Steppes 142

256
THE WORLD OF
EMPIRES 1750–1914

India 146
China 150
The Americas 154

158
THE MEDIEVAL
WORLD 600–1450

The Middle East and
North Africa 180
India 184

World War I 314
Between the Wars 326
World War II 338

The Americas 260
Europe 270

Europe after
World War II 358

Asia 294

The Americas 370

Oceania 302

Asia and the
Middle East 380

Africa 306
East and Southeast
Asia 162

310
THE MODERN
WORLD 1914–

Africa 397
New Challenges 404

416
DIRECTORY

Sub-Saharan Africa 186
Europe 188

Kings & Rulers 418

Byzantine Empire 202

Wars & Battles 442

The Americas 204

Historical Landmarks 468

Polynesia 212

Index 497
Acknowledgments 511

10

FOREWORD

HISTORY IS AN INESCAPABLE PART OF OUR LIVES.
E H ELEMENT OF PRESENT-DAY SOCIETY H
EAC
HAS BEE
EN
SHAPED
H
BY THE ACTIONS OF OUR ANCESTORS, AN
ND
THOSE IN TURN BY CHAINS
H
OF EVENTS STRETCHIN
IN
NG
BACK INTO AN ALMOST UNIMAGINABLY REMOTE
PAST. THE GOAL OF HISTORY IS TO TRY TO BRING
G
SENSE AND ORDER TO OUR VIEW OF THAT
H
PAST.
The past is frustratingly hard to pin
down. It seems that the more we
examine a historical event, the
more any pleasing neatness of it
simply having taken place falls
away, and a chaos of complex
and competing causes begins to
cry out for our attention.
Scores of reasons, for example,
have been put forward for the fall
of the Roman Empire, from an
excess of other-worldliness caused
by the rise of Christianity, to an
excess of worldliness promoted by
luxury imports into the empire
from the east. More recently,
historians have begun to question
whether the word “fall”, with its
resonance of sudden, violent
change, is the right one to use at
all, arguing that we should think in
terms of a “transition” and look for
continuity between Rome and the
Germanic successor states which
replaced it in western Europe.
All of these theories seem to have
at least some merit, yet not one of
them, in truth, is the sole explanation
for the collapse of Rome. There are
many books on this single subject
alone, and the life of just one person
in the Roman world – Julius Caesar –
has been the focus of dozens of works.
TELLING THE STORY
It might seem, therefore, a daunting
task to attempt a “world” history.
To select which of the myriad tales
should be told, and which of the
countless people described in the
historical records should be included

The battles of the past comm
man
nd
d
our attention; historians invvestig
stigat
st
sti
gat
ga
ate
their causes and conseque
encce
ess.
s.

in the pages of a siingl
nggllee
volume might seem
m
almost impossible..
Yet by condensingg th
th e
whole of history doown
to its essentials – th
he
personalities and eveents
ts
(as well as the causes)) th
hat
at
shaped our world – the
he
whole scope of the human storry
becomes more comprehensiblle..
CONTRASTS AND
COMPARISONS
In this book, the reader can traace
the history of nations, such ass
China – from the first villagess
along the banks of the Yangtze to
a sophisticated 21st-century soccieety
ty
that has sent men into space – yet
also find out what was occurrin
ng in
n
Central America, for example, whilile
the Romans were conquering
Britain. The final, reference sectiion
n
of the book brings together a weal
altth
of information that supplements an
nd
expands on the main text. Inevitab
ablly
ly
there has been a process of selectio
ioon
as to what can be included, but I
hope nevertheless that this book wilill
introduce readers to the key element
nts
nt
ts of
of
world history and give them a glim
mps
pse
of a subject which, for me, contaains
an almost infinite (and growing) sttor
ore
ore
of fascinating stories.
The tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs give uss an
n
unparalleled insight into the history and cus
usto
us
tom
to
oms
om
oms
of one of humankind’s most ancient civilizati
attiion
on
ons
nss.

FOREWORD

11

14

WHAT IS HISTORY?
R

issto
tory
ory is nott th
thee sa
am
mee as th
thee pa
pas
ast
st. We caan ne
n vveer di
d reect
c ly
ly
expeeri
ex
rien
ence thee pastt – w
wee caan
nn
nev
evver
er know
now how
no
ho
ow iitt fel
elt
lt too be a
glad
gl
a iat
iatorr fig
fight
h ingg in tthe
he Col
he
olosseeum
m of an
ncien
ciien
entt Roome
me, or exa
xact
xa
cttly
ly
wh
hatt Naap
pol
o eoon haad in
n mind
in
nd wh
when
n he de
decciide
ide
ded too invvad
a e Ru
Russiaa in
18812.
1
122 Wh
What
at act
ctuaallly ha
h pp
ppen
en
ned
d in tth
he pa
p stt is go
gone – hissto
tory
ryy is ou
o r
a teemptt to
at
o rrec
e on
nst
stru
tru
ucctt the paasst fr
froom
from
m the
he eviidencee th
thaatt rem
e ai
ains
ins
n.

H

The word “history”, while commonly
taken to mean “everything that has
happened up until now”, has its root
in the Greek word historein, meaning
“to find out by enquiry”. The same root
gives us the word “story”. We could
say, then, that history is our enquiry
into the story of the human race.

Whether oral or written, history is
always an incomplete puzzle, made up
of fragments, hints, and selections
from the evidence that is available.

HISTORICAL SOURCES

The ingredients from which historians
construct history are their “sources”.
These may range from the types of
HISTORY AND FACT
pollen found in an ancient Near Eastern
History is something very distinct from site (revealing which crops once grew
facts. Historians ask not only “What
there), to a charter recording a land sale
happened?”, but also
in medieval France, the
“Why did it happen?”,
writings of a historian
“How did it happen?”,
living in ancient Rome,
and “What were the
or the oral testimony of a
consequences?”, and use
World War II soldier.
the answers to forge the
Sources are themselves
links in chains of events,
subdivided into those that
creating a continuous
are primary and those that
narrative. These are the
are secondary. A primary
kinds of “enquiries” that
source is something
historians make, and
produced or written at the
hee
from their conclusions,
time – the writings of the
the past, for most of us,
Latin author Tacituss aabo
out
becomes a much more
1st-century ce Rom
ome,
e,, sayy
comprehensible place.
– while a second
dar
ary so
sour
urce
ur
cee
Passing on stories is a vital part
Even today, however, of the oral culture of peoples such is something wri
ritt
ttten aaft
fteer
ft
there are cultures that do as the San of Namibia.
the event itseelf, maki
king
not concern themselves with recording
use of primary sources. Th
he di
d ssttin
i ct
ctio
tio
i n
history in the conventional sense – that between the two may not alw
ways
ys be
is, as a chronological narrative that aims clear, of course. For exam
mplee,
e, Nic
icco
ccoolóó
to represent what actually happened in Machiavelli’s 16th-century
ry study of
the past. Many indigenous peoples,
Roman history is a secon
on
ndaary
ry sou
ourc
ourc
rce
especially those with a strong oral
about Rome, but the obvvioous iin
nflu
fluen
ence
cee
tradition, instead weave together events on his writing of his own
n view
ew of th
thee
of the distant and recent past, and both world gives us a primaryy sou
ourcce in
into
to life
ife
mythological and actual happenings.
and attitudes in Renaisssan
nce Itaaly
ly.
The result is a body of knowledge that
In some eras, particcul
ulaar
arly the veerry
is relevant to that culture, which is
ancient past before writtin
ng exxis
isteed,
d,
passed down through the generations
there are no primary soour
ources at aalllll iin
n
via storytelling and ritual.
the conventional sense. Here
re,

WHAT IS HISTORY?
R

archaeology – the study of bones,
buildings, and artefacts recovered
from past societies – must help out.

VARYING PERSPECTIVES
History can be written from many
different viewpoints. A 19th-century
European writing shortly after the
French Revolution is likely to have
very different interests from a Chinese
bureaucrat living in the 2nd century bce,
or a 10th-century Muslim traveller.
Moreover, the interpretation of facts
is always open to dispute, and
historians often disagree about how
one fact is linked with another.
Throughout history itself, we see
evidence of different ideas about the
same events. The perspective of

15

chroniclers such as the French scholar
Geoffrey Villehardouin, who travelled
with the Christian forces on the Fourth
Crusade, is very different from that of
his contemporary on the opposing side,
the Arab historian Ibn al-Athir.
Inevitably, we are all prone to
adjusting history according to our
own prejudices and beliefs, but for
most, at its simplest, history answers a
very human desire for order. Names for
eras and ages (the Classical world, the
Medieval world, and so on), and for
movements and cultures, may not
necessarily have been used at the
time, but today they serve to break
down the past and its interpretation
into convenient and digestible blocks,
making history accessible for all.

“THE PAST IS A FOREIGN
COUNTRY, THEY DO THINGS
DIFFERENTLY THERE.”
L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between (1955)

Mo
onume
ume
menta
ntt l re
nta
remn
emnant
an
nts
ts of
o
lon
o g-d
dead ci
civil
viliza
vil
izatio
iza
tions
tio
i nss ins
inspir
p e
pir
ah
host
oss off qu
ost
que
estiion
estion
es
est
ns abou
ns
abou
bout
bo
out the
e
peo
p
eop
ple
les that
att b
bu
uilt th
hem.
em

16

WHAT IS HISTORY?
R

THE ANCIENT PAST
The era before humankind invented writing is called “prehistory”, and
our knowledge of this time relies largely upon the skill of archaeologists.
Once early societies developed scripts, they left not only artefacts but
also written evidence from which their history could be deciphered.
Fascination with the far-distant past is
not a new phenomenon. In 81 bce, the
Roman general Sertorius had his men
dig up a skeleton in North Africa,
doubtless that of a dinosaur, but which
he decided were the bones of the giant
Tingi, the traditional founder of the
local town. However, it was not until
the 19th century, when a fierce debate
erupted over Charles Darwin’s Descent
of Mann (1871) – which argued that
humanity had descended from apes –
that the greatest advances in the study
of the ancient world were made.
Inspired by Darwin’s theories, the
Dutch scholar Eugene Dubois set out
to find an early ancestor of humankind
and in 1891 unearthed the remains
of Pithecanthropus erectuss or “Solo Man”
(later called Homo erectus)
s in Java in
Indonesia. Dubois’ 20th-century
successors, such as Richard and Louis
Leakey working in East Africa’s Rift

Valley, have since discovered remains
that shed valuable light on humanity’s
physical evolution into its modern form.

THE FIRST CIVILIZATIONS
European scholars and archaeologists
of the 19th and early 20th centuries
became fascinated by the remote past,
and in particular, the rise and fall of
ancient empires. This was, after all,
an age of empire for Europe, and the
wealthy travelled abroad as part of their
education. On the “Grand Tour”, as it
was called, they inspected the ruins of
Classical cities such as Athens and
Rome, but soon the older civilizations
of the Near East drew attention.
Scholars began to uncover evidence
that revealed previously little-known
cultures, or shed dramatic new light on
more familiar ones. For example, in a
single decade – the 1920s – Leonard
Woolley excavated the early Sumerian
city at Ur; Howard Carter discovered the
tomb of Tutankhamun in Egypt’s
Valley of the Kings; Sir John
Marshall began the first
consistent study of the Indus
Valley civilization with his digs
at Mohenjo-Daro; and Sir
Arthur Evans’ work at
Knossos revealed the
Minoan civilization.

WRITTEN CLUES
The first steps to decipher
Sumerian cuneiform script
were also taken in the
1920s. While paintings,
carvings, and other early
The Sumerians made records of,
for example, livestock tallies, in a
we ge-shaped script we call cuneiform.
wed

THE ANCIENT PAST

How
How
ward
d Ca
Carte
rter’s
t rr’s
’s di
d
dis
isco
scover
scover
very
y off Tut
T tank
ankh
nkkham
ha
ha
amun’
un s tomb
un
b
is perhaps even more famous, as a historical event,
than any of the details of the boy-pharaoh’s reign.

artforms all reveal something of the
ancient world, the most illuminating
records were left once writing had been
invented, in around the mid-4th
millennium bce. The earliest pieces
of written evidence – dating to before
c.500 bce – were not narratives about
life at the time, but lists and rosters on
practical matters: cuneiform records of
merchants’ stocks from Sumeria, and
royal archives from Assyria. Hieroglyphic
tomb inscriptions that identify the
Egyptian dead may not provide us with
stories, but give us a lot of information
about how ancient peoples lived.

17

eexampl
plle,
e or
or the Sumerian Epic of
Gilgamesh. Few have survived so intact as
the traditions in the Old Testament of
the Bible. Stories such as the exodus of
the Jews from persecution in Egypt, and
their subsequent conquest of Palestine,
doubtless reflect the chaotic migrations
and political instability of the Near
East in the late 2nd millennium bce.
But the purpose of these accounts was
primarily cultural or religious, and the
task of relating the stories within them
to precise historical events is not easy.

MYTH AND TRADITION
Perhaps the most colourful insights into
the ancient world are preserved in myth
and tradition. Some of the earliest stories
to be told by early societies relate to the
origins of their race, or its legendary
heroes: Aztec tales of their wanderings
before settling at Tenochtitlán, for

The ancient Epic of Gilgamesh contains an account of
a great flood, a mythic legend that has many parallels
with the story of Noah’s ark in the Bible.

18

WHAT IS HISTORY?

THE FIRST HISTORIANS
It was in ancient Greece that historical “enquiry” first arose, perhaps
inspired by the questioning spirit of the age that also produced the
world’s first philosophers. In the new empires of Rome and China,
scholars were prompted to investigate their people’s rise to greatness.
The Classical era has left us some of
the finest literature and most majestic
architecture ever produced – the latter
embellished with statues and inscriptions
that provide crucial evidence for the
power and extent of empires, their
social structures, and rituals of the time.
But even seemingly trivial finds give us
clues about the minutiae of daily life
– for example, the discovery at a
watchtower in southwest Germany of
a shoehorn showed that the Romans
wore sandals closed at the back, whereas
previously they
were believed to
have been open.
However, it is
not only through art
and artefacts that we
can understand the
Classical world.
From around the
5th century bce appear
the first writers whom we
can call “historians”.

incredibly lengthy accounts of the
political and military manoeuvres of
each side, and his attention to detail
and careful narrative were to become
a model for many histories in the
centuries to come.

THE ROMANS
R

By the early centuries bce, Rome, the
Mediterranean’s new imperial power,
was inspiring histories of its own.
Scholars such as Livy (59 bce–17 ce)
and Tacitus (55–120 ce) analysed the
reasons for their city’s
power – and the
start of its perceived
decline. In the view of
Tacitus, the effect of
imperial rule had been
to undermine the
moral fabric of the
state. Roman
historians were also not
averse to purveying gossip
about their emperors, such
aass the salacious details of
THE GREEKS
im
imperial
habits that
Known as the “Father
appear in Suetonius’s
Greek art provides a window on
Classical life – for example, what
of History”, the Greek
Lives of the Twelve Caesars.
a hoplite soldier wore into battle.
scholar Herodotus
More akin to the military
(c.485–c.430 bce) travelled widely
histories of today is Julius Caesar’s
throughout the Aegean and Near East
Gallic Wars, an account of the conquestt
in search of the raw material for his
of Gaul in which Caesar was the
Histories. What makes Herodotus
commanding general – a history
exceptional is that he was the first
that also served to glorify Caesar’ss
chronicler of the past to state openly
reputation and promote his politiccall
that he intended to discover the reasons career. From Pliny the Younger
behind events, rather than simply
(61–c.112 ce), we have a graphic
icc
recording the events themselves.
description of the eruption of Mou
ount
nt
A generation later, Thucydides
Vesuvius in southern Italy in 799 cee
(c.460–c.411 bce), in his History of the
which destroyed the city of Pomp
mp
pei
eii
Peloponnesian War, recounts the conflict
and killed his uncle, the naturaliliistt Pliiny
ny
between Athens and Sparta. He gives
the Elder. Although Pliny’s desc
s ript
ript
ri
p io
on

THE FIRST HISTORIANS

19

Sima Qian, a scholar in the Han court of China,
sought to document imperial history, largely through
a series of mini-biographies of important persons.

is almost scientific in its precision,
giving no role to supernatural forces,
other Romans believed that such
events were caused by the anger of the
gods. This was not merely common
superstition: as late as the 4th century ce,
even educated Roman senators sacrificed
at the Altar of Victory in the Senate
House, believing that abandoning the
old ways might cause their city’s ruin.

THE CHINESE
Other Classical cultures also produced
histories, entirely separate from the
Greco-Roman tradition that began with
In 79 ce, the volcan
can
ano
o Ve
esu
s viu
iu
us, in
n southe
he
ern
n Ita
Italy,
l
ly,
erupted,
d, buryin
yin
i g the
h cit
cityy of
of P
Pomp
omp
mpeii
e – a cata
ei
eii
a strroph
o ic
i
event
ntt gra
graphi
raphi
hical
ca
cal
ally
llyy d
doc
ocume
um
men
me
ntte
nte
t d by Plin
liny the
he Yo
You
Y
ou
unge
ger.
ge
r
r.

Herodotus. From China, in particular,
much has survived from this period.
There are accounts as early as 753 bce
of official scribes at the court of Ch’in
tasked with compiling records of
significant events, and a set of such
annals covering the period 722–481 bce
in the state of Lu has survived.
Perhaps the most famous Chinese
historian, Sima Qian (c.135–86 bce) –
son of the official astrologer at the court
of the Han emperors – composed the
Shih Chii (“Records of the Historians”),
the first attempt to compile a complete
history of China from ancient times.
Falling out of favour with the emperor,
he was sentenced to castration. But
rather than committing suicide (the
expected outcome of such a sentence),
Sima Qian accepted his punishment
so that he might finish his history.

“MANY BESOUGHT
THE AID OF THE
GODS, BUT STILL
MORE IMAGINED
THERE WERE NO
GODS LEF
FT.”
Plililinyy tth
P
Pl
the
he Yo
he
ou
ung
ng
nger,
ge
err, on
er,
on th
the
e erup
up
ptio
on of Ve
Vesu
esuviu
esuviu
vi s,
11st
stt ce
en
ntttu
ntu
ury
ry CCEE

20

WHAT IS HISTORY?
R

AN ERA OF SCHOLARSHIP
The western Roman empire became Christian in the early 4th century ce,
but collapsed around 150 years later, leaving the Christian church in
possession of the most widespread network of power throughout Europe.
Its scholarship was soon matched by that of a rising eastern faith – Islam.
After the fall of the western Roman
empire, a series of national histories
written in Europe sought to discover,
rediscover, or even invent the origins
of the Germanic kingdoms that had
inherited formerly Roman-occupied
territory. The writers were ecclesiastical
figures such as bishop Gregory of Tours
and the English monk Bede. Between the
8th and 10th centuries, the European
record becomes rich with chronicles.
At first simply monks’ scribbled notes on
ecclesiastical calendars, these became
more elaborate accounts of whatever
interested the author, from the Creation
onwards – often a litany of fables,
plagues, and disasters that cannot be
relied upon as historical evidence. Almost
all chronicles had their origins in the
Ecclesiastical chronicles owed much to royal
patron
pat
ronage
age
g ; here th
the
e monk
monk
o Gu
Guillaum
au e de Nang
aum
N gis
prre
p
pre
resen
en
e
nts
ts his
his
hi
i Chr
Ch
C
Chroni
h
hrroni
oniq
onique
que
qu
ues to
ue
to Ph
Phiili
illliip
p IV of FFran
rran
an
nce.
nce
ce.
ce

Christian church, which, as virtually
the sole fount of literacy at the time,
had tight control on what books
were written, copied, and circulated.
Later in the Middle Ages, however,
some chronicles escaped their
ecclesiastical origins and religious bias
to give a more rounded view of events
– for example, Geoffrey Villehardouin’s
account of the Fourth Crusade.

THE RISE OF ISLAM
The Islamic world of the 6th to 10th
centuries experienced an era of
expansion, political strength, and
cultural creativity. Islamic scholars
were keenly interested in establishing
accurate biographical information
from the past, prompted by the need
to determine which of the traditions
about the life of the prophet
Muhammad and the first
caliphs were accurate. It was
Muslim scholars, too – chiefly
i tthe
in
h Abbasid capital of
Baagh
Ba
g dad – that preserved the
gh
work
wo
r s of many ancient Greek
aan
nd Roman authors lost to
nd
Eu
Eu
urrope. The Islamic
hiist
h
storical tradition
ccu
u
ullminated in such great
wrriters as Ibn Khaldun
w
((11332–1406), a North
African scholar whose
monumental work, the
Muqqadimah, covered
the whole of Islamic
history, and included
aspects of social
history and
economics that

AN ERA OF SCHOLARSHIP

European historians
would investigate only
some centuries later.

THE EUROPEAN
RENAISSANCE

21

Macchiavelli produced
works such as The History
of Florencee in imitation of
their Roman ancestors.
Renaissance authors
wrote not only in Latin,
but also in the vernacular,
or everyday language,
making their works much
more accessible.

From the 12th century,
key Classical texts such as
those by the philosopher
Aristotle and the medical
writer Galen started to
NEW MEDIA
return to Europe through
Muslim-controlled Sicily
The spread of printing
and Spain. Soon yet more
at this time dispersed new
Classical works became
works more widely, and
available, some from
also resulted in a wealth
the dwindling Greekof printed “primary
speaking territories of the Islamic manuscripts feature
sources” for historians.
scenes and accounts of events at
Byzantine empire. The
Pamphlets, posters, and
pace of scholarly change court and diplomatic encounters. news-sheets were used to
in Europe quickened into a cultural
disseminate news and also to spread
flowering known as the Renaissance.
new ideas to a wider audience: for
A central preoccupation of Renaissance example, the distribution of printed
writers, artists, and scholars was the
material greatly assisted the success of
rediscovery of the past. The Roman
the radical religious changes of the
era in particular was perceived as a
Reformation as it swept through
time of scientific, literary, and artistic
Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.
achievement. The study of Roman
Printed sheets brought news to a wide audience,
history and historians became extremely detailing in words and pictures events such as the
Gunpowder Plot of 1605 against the British king.
popular, and writers such as Niccolò

22

WHAT IS HISTORY?
R

A NEW AGE OF EMPIRE
The 18th and 19th centuries were a time of expansionism and empire,
and much of our information about this era displays the bias of the
empire-builders. But it was also a time of revolution, with established
power structures being questioned, challenged, and often overthrown.
During the 18th century
(1744–1803) encouraged
in Europe, religion gave
his fellow historians to
ground to the human“feel” their way inside
centred ideology of the
historical cultures and,
Enlightenment, and it
through empathizing, to
is evident from the
really come to understand
works of thinkers and
how they worked.
writers how the scope of
GREAT POWERS
history and commentary
widened. The Scottish
As European empires
economist Adam Smith
gathered power, other
(1723–90) included in
writers viewed national
his Wealth of Nationss a
and imperial greatness
new, historical approach
as the pinnacle of
to the study of
human achievement.
capitalism. The French
In Germany, historians
Newspapers brought eagerly awaited
news and colourful images of events
philosopher Voltaire
began to concentrate on
(1694–1778) argued not and practices in far-flung lands.
tracing the history of
only that social and economic history
their nation (which was unified,
wass ju
just as im
important as th
he prevaililiing
poliliti
ticalllly, iin 18
1871
71)), whi
hille th
he
focu
fo
cuss on pol
polit
lit
itic
ical
cal and
and d
diiplo
iploma
mati
tic
ic ma
matt
tter
ers,
s, Hi
Hist
stor
oryy off Eng
Englla
landd wri
ritt
itten
en by
by
butt al
bu
also tha
thatt much
ch could
ld b
be le
learnt
nt b
byy
Baro
Ba
ron
n Ma
Maca
caul
ulay
ay ((18
1800
00–559)
sttudyi
stud
dying
ing tthe
he h
his
isto
tori
ries
es ooff ci
civi
vilililiza
vi
zati
za
tion
ti
onss
on
deta
de
tail
aililed
ed wha
wha
hatt he ssaw
aw aass
such
su
c as Ch
ch
Chiin
ina and
and Indi
Indi
dia.
a The
he
thee st
th
steea
eady
ead
dy, vi
virt
irtu
uallllllyy
philililos
ph
osop
os
op
phy
hy ooff Ro
Roma
Roma
mant
ntic
nt
iciis
ic
ism fou
ism
fo
oun
und it
und
itss
unin
un
inte
in
terr
te
rrup
rrup
rr
upte
ted
te
d Engl
glis
lis
ish
ish
wayy in
into his
into
isto
tory
to
ry as
ry,
as Joh
ohan
ann
an
n vo
von
n Herd
der
asscend
ndan
danc
ncy
cy ttoo gr
grea
eattn
ea
tnes
ess.
s

A NEW AGE OF EMPIRE

23

Images of slavery cast a shadow
over imperialism, even though
support for the sale of slaves
was widespread at the time.

Outside Europe, views
of empire were at times
similarly positive. In the
view of the Indian writer
Ghulam Hussain
Tabatabai (in his Siyyar
al-Muta’ ’akhkhirinin of
1781), the gradual British
takeover of India was
valuable in filling a power
vacuum created by the decline of
Mughal power. In Japan, the Nihon Gaishi
(“Unofficial History of Japan”) by
Rai Sanyo (1780–1832) argued that
domination by powerful military clans
had been Japan’s undoing, and that
power rightfully belonged to the emperor
alone. This proposal influenced many
of the leaders of the movement that
restored imperial power to Japan in 1868.

NEW SOURCES
The spread of literacy in this era
compared to previous centuries has
left
le
ft h
his
isto
tori
rian
anss a wi
wide
derr ra
rang
ngee of
sour
so
urce
cess th
than
han jjus
ustt th
the
he vi
view
iewss off
th
he educat
d
ed
d cllasses. Th
There
aree re
ar
reve
veal
alin
ingg ac
acco
coun
unts
un
ts,,
ts
for ex
for
exam
ampl
ple, mad
ade
de by
by
coomm
m on
on sol
sol
oldi
dier
di
erss du
er
duri
ring
ri
ngg
thee Pe
th
Peni
nins
ni
nsul
ns
sul
ular
larr W
War
ar

campaign (1808–14) of the Napoleonic
Wars. Alex de Tocqueville (1805–59)
wrote his history of the French
Revolution making use of first-hand
accounts of events and a huge range of
administrative documents, such as the
cahiers de doléancess (lists of grievances)
that the French communes sent to the
legislature in 1789.
In the 19th century, the vastly
increased availability of primary sources
was complemented by new methods of
recording events as they happened. The
spread of photography from the 1830s
made
ma
de it
it po
poss
ssib
ible
le ffor
or ffut
utur
uree hi
hist
stor
oria
ians
ns to
to
seee wh
se
hatt the
he p
pas
astt ac
actu
tual
alllly
ly lloo
ookked
ked lilikke.
ke
By th
he end
d off the
h 20th
h centuryy, the
h first
movi
mo
ving
ngg p
pic
ictu
ture
ress an
and
d th
thee fir
first
st voi
voice
ce
reco
re
cord
rdin
dings
g had
gs
d given
iven u
uss th
the
he po
p ss
ssib
ibil
bililit
ityy
of aan
n ev
even
en m
mor
oree th
or
thri
rillllllin
ri
in
ngglly di
dire
rect
re
c iins
ct
nsigght
ns
nsig
into
in
to the
h pas
astt.
t. His
His
isto
tory
to
ryy h
had
ad com
omee al
aliv
ivee.
iv
e.
The Neo-C
Neo-Cl
Ne
Clas
lassical
lassic
al styl
al
sty
ty
yle
le in
n archit
archit
hitect
itecture
ture
allied
all
d itsel
ittse
self to
to the nob
noble
le ideals
ide
deals
lss of
o th
the
e past
sstt,
both
bot
h in impe
mperia
riall Euro
ria
urope
pe and
pe
an , in
in b
buil
uiildi
uildin
din
ngs
gs
su h as Wash
suc
Wash
as ing
ng
gton
ton’s
n’ss Cap
pito
itoll,
l, the
th
burgeo
burgeo
eonin
ning
nin
gn
new nat
ation
ion of the
the USA
USA.
A

24

WHAT IS HISTORY?
R

PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE
The revolutions and terrible wars of the 20th century profoundly
affected people’s views of their times and the histories that they wrote.
The 21st century has continued to confront us with deeply shocking
events, on which we have yet to gain a full perspective.
The Revolution of 1917 that toppled
the Russian tsars had at its base a
brand-new ideology – Marxism. Karl
Marx (1818–83) argued that history
should be seen as a process by which
societies develop
p througgh a seeri
ries
es of
of
stag
st
ages
es, fr
from
om aanc
ncieent to feudal,, th
then
en
bour
urge
geoi
oiss, w
whi
hich
ch w
wou
ould
ld iin
n tu
turn be
su
upe
pers
rsed
rs
eded
ed
e by a “c
ed
“com
ommu
om
muniist
st”
t”
soci
so
ciet
ety.
yM
y.
Mar
arxx ar
argu
g ed
gu
d th
that
hat th
ther
eree is
i
an unc
unc
ncontrrol
olla
lla
lab
ble de
bl
ble
deve
eve
v lo
lopm
p en
pm
entt
from
fr
o oone
om
nee ssta
tage
ta
ge tto an
anot
othe
the
herr,
r, fuelled
d
by sstr
by
trug
tr
ruggl
gles bet
etwe
weeen
en ssoc
occiaal cl
clas
lassses
over
ov
er the
he o
ow
wnersship ooff we
wner
weal
alth
al
th. In
th
Marrx’ss vvie
Ma
iew
ie
w, viiole
io ent
soci
so
cial rev
ci
evol
olut
ol
u io
ut
ion wa
wass
nece
ne
ceess
ssar
aryy to mov
ovee
f om one p
fr
pha
h se to
ha
anot
an
otthe
h r.. Thi
his iss

exactly what occurred in Russia in
1917, but it was not, as Marx predicted,
repeated in the more industrialized
countries of Europe, such as Germany.
Marxism may have challenged
mode
mo
dern
rn historians to take a different
view
vi
ew oof history, b
but
ut tthe advent of
tw
wo wo
world
d wa
wars
rs lled to ot
othe
h r major
preo
pr
eocc
eo
ccup
upat
attio
ions
n . Wo
World Wars
rs I and II
d va
de
vast
stat
ated
d llar
arge
ar
ggee par
arts
ts of Eurrope and
Asia,, an
Asia
and
d pr
profou
un
nd
dly
l affected
d tthe
he
poliiti
po
tica
call sy
ca
syst
stem
st
em
ms of
of lar
arge
ge p
par
arts
ts of the
woorl
w
rld.
d The sh
heeer
er quant
ntiity
it of
e iden
ev
id
den
e ce ava
v ililab
a le
ab
l from a confl
flic
ict
su
suc
uch
ch aass Worrld
d War II – from
m
first
fir
st-h
-han
-h
a d accco
ounts
un to ph
phot
hoottog
ograph
phs
and
an
d fil
films – app
peaars
r to maake
k the jjob
b
of the
of
he his
i tooriaan
an dis
isar
a mi
minglyy ssimp
ple,
bu
b
ut it has
a alsso be
beco
c mee dau
unt
n in
ngl
glyy
comp
com
co
mp x in th
mplex,
hat
a there
re is so
much
mu
c inf
ch
nfoor
nf
ormati
maation
n ffro
rom
m ever
ery
siidee of tth
he co
onfl
nflic
i t to bee siift
ic
f ed
th
hrou
roough an
and co
and
c mpared
ed..

IN
INST
NST
TAN
AN ACCE
ANT
CESS
S
At the
hee beg
egin
nni
ning
ng of the
21st cen
nturyy, teech
chno
n lo
no
logy
gy
haas be
has
b come
com
mee soo ad
a va
vanc
n ed
d
that
th
that
a it ggiivess uss m
mul
u ti
tiple
r co
re
cordss off maajjorr eve
vent
entts.
Thesse ar
Th
aree re
r cord
rd
ds th
hat can
an
alll be aacceesseed in
al
in an in
instant,
inst
t
thrroug
th
ugh
ug
h ou
ur teleevisi
visi
sioon set
ets,
pers
pe
rsoon
rson
naall ccom
o pute
om
pu
uterrs, and
d
noow ev
n
e en
en ourr m
mob
oob
bililee
ph
p
hon
oness. Th
T he d
deevelo
veelo
lopm
opm
p en
nt
of the
the
he Int
ntter
e net
er
neet si
sinc
ince
nce th
the
1990
19
90s
0s meaan
ans th
haatt we
we
can now
ca
can
noow capt
p urre,, ssto
tore,
to
Th
T
The
he R
Russi
sian
si
ia
an
n Rev
evolu
ev
lu
ution of
of
19
917 pro
rom
omised
ise
s a new
ne
ew worl
orl
rld
d
orrd
o
order,
rder,
r, yyet Communi
mm nissm
sm iit
its
tself
was o
was
ovver
ert
rthro
hro
own in
n 19
989.
9

P ST,
PA
T PRESEN T,
T AND FUTURE

and transmit information at a speed
that would have seemed supernatural
only 200 years ago.

FUTURE PERSPECTIVES
Access to information, as well as the
first-hand accounts we can hear for
ourselves from people who have made
history (such as the veterans of World
War II), can lull us into feeling as
though somehow we “know” our
recent history. However, just as the
“enquiries” of the ancient Greeks
were only the first step in producing
a history, so our recordings and

25

Art gives us a very different perspective on the past;
Picasso’s visual interpretation of the bombing of
Guernica during the Spanish Civil War provokes a
more visceral response than any documentation.

with hindsight that we can focus fully
on the causes and consequences of
events. In years to come, our own ideas
and biases may well be held up for
scrutiny (and perhaps disapproval)
by the historians of the future. And
when these individuals ask not only
“What happened”?” but “Why did it
happen?”, they may arrive at answers
that are very different to those we may
think we are so certain of today.

“REVOLUTIONS ARE
THE LOCOMOTIVES
OF HISTORY.”
Karl Marx (1818–83)

trranscriptions of events in the modern
world are simply contributions to an
wo
ab
bundance of sources that we leave for
thee historians who will look back on
the 20th and 21st centuries. Then, as
th
evver,, it will be how historians interpret
th
heiir sources that makes history, not
the sources themselves.
th
H storians perpetually revisit the
Hi
pastt, reassessing it in the light of
u dated social attitudes – for example,
up
to
owa
ward women or ethnic groups – as
tth
h
hey
ey do so. In many cases, it is only

Television has become an important medium for
propaganda, used ably by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin
Laden to disseminate his messages worldwide.

28

TIMELINES OF WORLD HISTORY

THE PREHISTORIC WORLD
4.5 mya–3000
a
bce
Measured against the estimated 4.5-billion-year age of the Earth itself,
modern man – Homo sapienss – evolved astonishingly recently, becoming
the sole survivor of several “hominin” species around 25,000 years
ago. By 5,000 years ago, several sophisticated civilizations had evolved.
c.4 mya

c.40,000ya

c.6000 bce

Australopithecines (“southern
ape-humans”) in East Africa;
walk upright: brain one-third
the size of modern humans.

Cro-Magnon cave art and
decorated artefacts in Europe.

Early town cultures, such as
the Halafian in Mesopotamia.

c.25,000 ya

c.5500 bce

c.3.75 mya

Disappearance of Homo
neanderthalensis.

World’s earliest irrigation
system, Mesopotamia.

Australopithecus afarensis
inhabits East Africa.

c.20,000 ya

c.5500–4500 bce

c.2.75–1 mya

Ice Age populations live by
hunting and gathering, building
shelters from scarce resources.

Linearbandkeramik farming
culture, with distinctive pottery,
flourishes in Europe.

c.11,000 ya

c.5000 bce

Rising temperatures, retreating
ice sheets, rising sea levels.
Siberia becomes separated
from North America.

Copper first used, Mesopotamia;
gold and copper artefacts
produced in southeast Europe.

Earliest-known stone tools
found, Ethiopia. Meat now
apparently a central part of
energy-rich diet of hominids.

c.2.3 mya
Evidence of early species of
human, Homo habilis, Olduvai
Gorge, East Africa.

c.5000 bce
c.10,000 bce

Earliest evidence for deliberate
use of fire.

Earliest pottery from Jomon,
Japan, heralds gradual
revolution in transportation
and storage of food.

c.1 mya

c.8500–6000 bce

Homo erectus well established
in North Africa and Middle East.

First settled agriculture in
Anatolia (Turkey), Middle East,
and Mesopotamia. Evidence of
sheep and goat domestication
in northern Mesopotamia.

c.1.8 mya–500,000 ya

c.400,000 ya
Homo heidelbergensis
flourishes in Central Europe;
uses stone tools carefully
flaked on both surfaces.

c.350,000 ya
Homo neanderthalensis
emerges in Europe.

c.150,000 ya
Emergence of Homo sapiens,
Africa; subsequently coexists
with Homo erectus in Asia and
Homo neanderthalensis in
Europe and Middle East.

c.70,000 ya
Population spread halted,
possibly owing to catastrophic
volcanic eruption of Toba,
Sumatra; global temperatures
lowered for a millennium.

Corn (maize) cultivated in
Ecuador, parts of North
America, and in the Tehuacán
Valley, Central America.

c.4800–3750 bce
Emergence of world’s first
city-states in Mesopotamia;
Uruk possibly the first city.

c.4500 bce

c.8000 bce

Introduction of irrigation
techniques in Indus Valley.
Horse domesticated in Asia.

Jericho, Palestine, is the
world’s oldest inhabited town.

c.4000 bce

c.7000 bce

First use of the plough in
Mesopotamia.

First Chinese agricultural
communities, Yangtze Valley.
Agriculture spreads into the
southeast of Europe from
modern Turkey.

c.6000 bce
Copper smelting and trade in
obsidian at Çatalhöyük,
modern Turkey.

c.6500 bce
Cattle are successfully
domesticated in North Africa,
the Indus Valley, and Asia.

c.3200 bce
First hieroglyphic script in
Egypt. Evidence of use of
wheeled transport in Sumer.
Stone circles and rows of
standing stones built in north
and west Europe.

c.3100 bce
King Narmer completes
unification of Upper and Lower
Egypt and becomes first
pharaoh. Nekhen, Egypt, an
important trading town.

THE PREHISTORIC AND ANCIENT WORLD

29

THE ANCIENT WORLD
3000–700 bce
Trade, increasing prosperity, and technological advances produced
T
increasingly powerful centralized states and, in time, empires. The
same factors also brought many of these new societies into conflict with
each other, particularly in the relatively highly populated Middle East.
c.3000 bce

2649 bce

c.2550 bce

Beginning of Early Dynastic
period of Mesopotamian citystates, including Sumerianspeaking Uruk and Ur.

3rd dynasty of Egypt heralds
the beginning of the Egyptian
Old Kingdom.

Outer stone circle erected at
Stonehenge, Britain.

c.2610 bce

Great Pyramid of Khufu built in
Giza, near Memphis, Egypt.

c.3000–2750 bce
First cities develop in South
America; several settlements
featuring temple complexes,
such as Caral, emerge in
coastal Peru.

c.2900 bce
Early marble figurines made by
the Cycladic culture of Greece.

c.2800 bce
End of Early Harappan phase of
Indus Valley civilization, which
began c.3300 BCE.

c.2750 bce
First Chinese bronze artefacts.
Start of Bronze Age in Europe
– in Crete and the Cyclades
island
isl
andss of
of Gree
Greece
ce.

c.27700
c.
00 bc
bcee
Myt
M
Mythi
ytthic
hical
hi
al kin
king
g Gilg
Gilg
ilgame
amesh
ame
sh
mayy ha
have
h
v rul
ve
ruled
ed Uru
Uruk
k in
in
Mesopo
esopo
p ta
tamia. Si
S lk
l weavin
vi g
pra
acti
ctised
d iin
n Ch
Chiina
ina.
in

Step Pyramid of Djoser built at
Saqqara; start of great period
of pyramid-building in Egypt.

c.2528 bce

c.2500 bce

Evidence for use of plough,
Indus Valley.

Indus Valley civilization reaches
its peak. Metalworking, in the
form of copper, spreads across
Europe to British Isles.

c.2600 bce

c.2500–2350 bce

Rich array of grave goods
buried at Royal Graves at
Ur, Mesopotamia, indicates
trade links extending as far
as the Indus.

Border conflict between Umma
and Lagash in Mesopotamia
is the earliest international
dispute to be recorded.

c.2600 bce

c.2334 bce
2575 bce
Beginning of 4th dynasty in
Egypt – the age of the first
true pyramids.

Sargon founds and rules the
city of Akkad, uniting citystates of Mesopotamia into
the first empire.
Th G
The
Grreatt Zi
Ziggu
gguratt off U
Urr, iin
n
mod
odern
ern Iraq,
er
Iraq, was
wa
as a Su
Sumer
merrian
merian
ia
an
temple
tem
ple dedic
dedicate
ated
d to
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the
moon
moo
n-g
n
god
d Nan
Na na
na.

30

TIMELINES OF WORLD HISTORY

c.2300 bce

c.2000 bce

c.1800 bce

Destruction of city of Ebla
in Syria; palace archives are
conserved.

Trading city of Ashur rises to
become predominant in north
Mesopotamia. Inscrptions
indicate Middle Kingdom Egypt
run by powerful officials, such
as viziers.

Beginnings of Shang state,
China. Possible sun worship
in Scandinavia, indicated by
bronze artefacts. Long-distance
trade networks are established
in North America. In Peru,
the ceremonial centre of
La Florida is built.

c.2300 bce
Beginning of Bronze Age in
rest of Europe.

c.2200 bce
First pottery in South America.

2134 bce
Egyptian 6th dynasty ends with
collapse of Old Kingdom; First
Intermediate Period of Egyptian
history begins.

c.2100 bce
3rd dynasty of Ur revives
Sumerian civilization in
southern Mesopotamia; King
Ur-Nammu of Ur builds a
ziggurat (stepped tower),
the typical structure of grand
Mesopotamian architecture,
while renovating Ur’s temple.

c.2083 bce
In Mesopotamia, decline of
Akkadian empire founded
by Sargon; rise of regional
rulers of city-states, notably
Gudea of Lagash.

2040 bce
Mentuhotep II, ruler of
Thebes, unites Upper and
Lower Egypt and initiates
Egypt’s Middle Kingdom.

c.2000–1800 bce
Lapita people move out from
Indonesia to settle Melanesia
in the Pacific. On Crete, Minoan
civilization at height; palace of
Knossos built; Linear A script.

c.1763 bce
Hammurabi, king of Babylon,
defeats neighbouring Elam
–and conquers and integrates
kingdom of Larsa.

1943 bce
Sesostris I of Egypt conquers
Nubia and extends southern
frontier of Egypt to the second
cataract of the Nile.

c.1761 bce
Babylon controls all of
Mesopotamia.

c.1755 bce
c.1900 bce

c.1900 bce

Law code of Hammurabi, king
of Babylon, is displayed on
monumental stelae (memorial
stones) in temples throughout
Mesopotamia.

City of Erlitou develops on the
Yellow River, China.

c.1750 bce

c.1900–1700 bce

Massive ceremonial
architecture arises at
Sechin Alto, Peru.

Old Kingdom of Babylon
established in Mesopotamia.

Indus Valley civilization
in decline.

c.1890 bce
The short-lived empire of
Shamshi-Adad unites north
Mesopotamia as a precursor
to the Assyrian empire.

c.1730 bce
Disintegration of Middle
Kingdom Egypt; start of Second
Intermediate Period.

c.1700 bce
Most cities of the Indus Valley
civilization deserted.

THE ANCIENT WORLD

c.1680s bce

16TH CENTURY bce

c.1450 bce

Development of leavened
bread in Egypt.

The Kassites, the warrior elite
of the fallen Old Babylonian
state, gain control over south
Mesopotamia.

Island of Crete falls under
Mycenaean control.

c.1650 bce
Anatolian city-states unite as
Hittite Old Kingdom, with
capital at Hattusa. Arrival of
Aryan people in India.

c.1650–1550 bce
During Second Intermediate
Period, Lower Egypt is ruled by
the Hyksos, a warrior élite of
Asiatic origins; Upper Egypt
remains ruled from Thebes
by native kings.

c.1570–1070 bce
Egyptian rulers are buried in
rock-cut tombs in the Valley of
the Kings (near modern Luxor).

31

MID-15TH CENTURY bce
Lapita people of Melanesia
begin colonizing rest of Pacific.
Mycenaean Greece at summit
of power, with trading links
stretching from the eastern
Mediterranean to Sicily.

c.1550 bce
Aryans settle northern India.
Rise of Egypt’s New Kingdom,
with new capital, Thebes,
facing the Valley of the Kings.

LATE 15TH CENTURY bce
Warfare between New Kingdom
Egypt, Hittite New Kingdom, and
Mittani for control of the eastern
Mediterranean region.

c.1500 bce
c.1627 bce
Beginning of several years’
global cooling, documented
by tree rings, possibly indicates
massive volcanic eruption,
perhaps of Vesuvius (Italy)
or on the island of Thera
(modern Santorini).

c.1600 bce
Mycenae, Greece, emerges as
centre of civilization in Aegean;
development of Linear B script
by Mycenaeans.

1595 bce
Hittite king Mursili I sacks
Babylon: end of Hammurabi’s
dynasty and the Old Kingdom
of Babylon.

Hittite Old Kingdom of Anatolia
declines; kingdom of Mittani
emerges nearby in north
Mesopotamia. Volcanic
eruption on island of Thera
buries Minoan town of Akrotiri.

c.1400 bce

c.1500–900 bce

1391 bce

Vedic-period Aryans expand
over north India; hymns of
the Rig Veda, sacred text of
Hinduism, composed.

Egypt’s New Kingdom reaches
peak under Amenophis III.

EARLY 15TH CENTURY bce
Bronze-working evident in
Thailand and Vietnam. Copper
worked in Sahara. Evidence of
first metalworking in Peru. First
pottery in Central America.

Anyang becomes capital of
Shang dynasty China; first
Chinese inscriptions on oracle
bones. Nomadic cattle-herding
develops on the steppes.

This small coffin from
the tomb of Tutankhamun
(1333–1323 BCEE) held the
king’s viscera, removed
from the body during
mummification.

32

TIMELINES OF WORLD HISTORY

14TH CENTURY bce

c.1274 bce

First alphabets evident on Sinai
peninsula (now in Egypt) and in
city of Ugarit (Syria). Kassite
Babylonia, the Hittites, Mittani,
and Egypt linked diplomatically
and by intermarriage.

Egyptians under Rameses II
fight Hittites at Battle of Kadesh.

c.1353 bce
Amarna Period of Egypt;
Amenophis IV styles himself
“Akhenaten”, founds
short-lived capital El-Amarna,
advocates monotheistic
worship of Aten, the sun, and
instigates an artistic revolution.

c.1258 bce
Hittite king Hattusili III
agrees Treaty of Kadesh with
Rameses II of Egypt.

1158 bce

c.1250 bce

1154 bce

Stronger defences around
Mycenaean palaces indicate
increasing threats.

Kassite dynasty of Babylon
ends when the city is sacked
by neighbouring Elam.

c.1250 bce

c.1100 bce

Chavín civilization emerges in
coastal Peru.

First fortified hilltop sites in
western Europe. Settlement
established in Poverty Point,
present-day Louisiana.

MID-14TH CENTURY bce
City of Ashur breaks free from
Mittani; its rulers proclaim
themselves kings of Assyria.

1223 bce

c.1335 bce

Hittite capital Hattusha
destroyed by unknown invaders;
Hittite state collapses.

Priests of Amun restore
religious and artistic orthodoxy
in Egypt during young
Tutankhamun’s reign.

13TH CENTURY bce
Middle Assyrian period: kings
such as Tukulti-Ninurta I build
an Assyrian empire in northern
Mesopotamia, Syria, and
Anatolia. Cult of Osiris,
involving the “Book of the
Dead”, popular in Egypt.

with the “Sea Peoples” –
some linked with the
Philistines. Chariots spread
to China from Central Asia.

Death of Rameses III, Egypt’s
last great pharaoh.

Death of Rameses II.

11TH CENTURY bce

c.1207 bce

Migrants, including the
Philistines, settle in Syria and
the eastern Mediterranean.
Phoenicians expand across
Mediterranean.

c.1200 bce
Urnfield Culture emerges in
Danube area of Europe. Olmec
civilization develops in Mexico.
Jewish exodus from Egypt to
the eastern Mediterranean.

c.1070 bce
Mycenaean Greece collapses;
start of Greek Dark Age.

1069 bce

12TH CENTURY bce

New Kingdom Egypt fragments
into smaller kingdoms.

Mycenaean cities destroyed.
Ugarit letters give account of
maritime raids on eastern
Mediterranean. Egypt battles

Swirling dragons feature on
bronze ritual vessels from China’s
Western Zhou dynasty.

c.1050 bce

c.950s bce

Assyria loses territories to
Aramaeans migrating into
Middle East, but survives as
a state. Dark Age throughout
Middle East.

Megiddo important royal
fortress in Israel.

c.1030 bce

c.926 bce

Aryans expand along Ganges
valley in India.

Death of Solomon; Kingdom of
Judah splits from Israel.

1027 bce

c.900 bce

Western Zhou dynasty
supplants the Shang in China.

According to Biblical tradition,
Israelite kingdom united under
King David.

Kingdom of Urartu established
in eastern Anatolia. Later Vedas
composed in India. Nubian
state of Kush established south
of Egypt. Olmec site of San
Lorenzo destroyed; Olmec site of
La Venta assumes leading role.

c.1000 bce

c.900–700 bce

Western Zhou record geography
of China. Wet rice and bronze
technology exported to Korea.
Ironworking reaches central
Europe. Greeks migrate to Asia
Minor. Etruscans arrive in Italy.

Scythians adopt pastoral
nomadism, and build kurgans
(burial mounds).

1006 bce

The splendours of the Palace of
Nimrud, built by Assurnasirpal II,
king of Assyria, are imagined in
this 19th-century print.

945 bce
Civil war in fragmented Egypt.

c.800 bce
Rise of urban culture in India’s
Ganges valley. Evidence of first
ironworking south of Sahara.
First phase of Celtic Iron Age.
City-states develop in central
Italy. Greeks adopt the
Phoenician script. Evidence
of writing in Central America.

776 bce
Pan-Hellenic athletics festival
in Olympia.

771 bce
Collapse of Western Zhou in
China; Eastern Zhou establish
new capital at Luoyang.

753 bce
883 bce

Traditional date for the
founding of Rome by brothers
Romulus and Remus.

c.1000 bce

Assurnasirpal II inherits
Assyrian throne and moves
capital from Ashur to Nimrud.

Assyria reintegrates lost
territories by conquest.

c.850 bce

10TH CENTURY bce

Village established on Palatine
Hill, Rome. Chavín politically and
culturally dominant in Peru.

Amos first great prophet of
Israel. Works of Homer and
Hesiod first written down. Kush
conquers Egypt to its north.

817 bce

727–722 bce

Traditional birth date of
Parshvanatha, first teacher
of India’s Jain religion.

Shalmaneser V makes Israel an
Assyrian province and deports
the peoples of Israel; they
become the “Lost Tribes” of
the Biblical Old Testament.

Phoenicians major maritime
power in Mediterranean;
their alphabetic script
widely used. Settled Aryan
agricultural states in India.
Adena culture develops in
Ohio River valley. Polynesian
culture evolves in Pacific.

c.965 bce
Solomon king of Israel.

814 bce
Traditional date for founding of
Carthage, a Phoenician colony
in North Africa.

c.750 bce

701 bce
Assyria besieges Jerusalem.

34

TIMELINES OF WORLD HISTORY
R

THE CLASSICAL WORLD
700 bce–600 ce
It has been estimated that by 1 ce, the great Classical civilizations of
Eurasia – Greece, Rome, Persia, India, and China – contained half
the world’s population of 250 million. But elsewhere, in Central and
South America, Africa, and Japan, new civilizations were emerging.
c.700 bce

616 bce

587 bce

Scythians from Central Asia
settle in eastern Europe. Rise
of Greek city-states. Early
Celtic Hallstatt culture in
Europe. Agricultural villages
in southeast North America.

Accession of Tarquinius Priscus,
Etruscan king of Rome.

Neo-Babylonian empire under
Nebuchadnezzar II destroys
Jerusalem’s temple and sends
the Israelites into exile.

610 bce
Assyrian empire ended with
sacking of Nineveh and Nimrud
by Medes and Babylonians.

689 bce
Babylon destroyed by
Sennacherib of Assyria.

c.600 bce
Birth of Lao Tzu, founder of the
Chinese religion Taoism.

663 bce
Assyrians sack Thebes in Egypt;
their empire reaches its
greatest extent.

660 bce
Beginning of the reign of
Jimmu, the legendary first
emperor of Japan.

c 65
c.
650
0 bc
bcee
Fi st coins
Fir
i min
i ted
d, Lydia,
di
Asiia Mino
inorr. Ris
Rise
eo
off “tyr
tyrant
an s”
ant
s
in many
man
ny Gree
Gree
reek
k citi
citi
ities
es Startt off
es.
ironworki
iro
king
ng in Chi
hina.
na

c.600 bce
Ironworking in Nok, Nigeria.
Greece continues colonization
of Mediterranean with colony of
Massalia founded in southern
France. First Greek coins.
Paracas culture begins in Peru.

c.563 bce
Possible birth date of the
Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama.

c.551 bce
Zoroastrianism dominant
religion of Persia. Birth of
Confucius.

c.550 bce
Cyrus the Great of Persia
defeats Medes and founds
Persian (Achaemenid) empire.
Cast iron produced in China.

EARL
EA
RLY
Y 6T
6TH
H CE
C NTURY bce

539
9 bce

Much
h of
of Midd
Midd
ddlle
le Eastt fall
fallls unde
nder
d r
th contr
the
control
t ol off the
th short
sh
hort-li
t lived
ve
emp
empire
pire
re of th
the
e Mede
Mede
edes;
s;;
Mesopo
Mes
opo
p tam
tamia
ia dom
mina
in ted
te by
Neo-Babyloniian em
empire
ire
re.

Th Babyl
The
Babyl
yloni
o an emp
oni
empire
ire is
a orb
abs
orbed
ed by Per
Persia
sia..

530
53
0 bc
b e
Etrusc
Etr
usc
u
us
scans at th
t eir he
their
heiigh
ight
ht in
in Ita
Ital
aly.
al
y

THE CLASSICAL WORLD

525 bce

480–479 bce

c.390 bce

Persian king Cambyses II
annexes Egypt.

Xerxes’s Persian invasion of
Greece is defeated at Salamis,
Plataea, and Mycale.

Celts sack Rome.

521 bce
Persian empire reaches
greatest extent under Darius I.

c.520–460 bce
Indian scholar Panini
assembles Sanskrit grammar.

c.515 bce
Darius builds royal residence at
Susa, former capital of Elam.

509 bce
Romans expel Etruscan royal
family and establish Republic.

35

c.384 bce

478 bce

Greek philosopher Plato
completes The Symposium.

Confederacy of Delos, later the
Athenian empire, founded.

370 bce

c.460 bce

Eudoxus of Cnidus’s theory
of planetary movement
determines the length of a year.

Persian administration adopts
parchment for written records.

c.450 bce
Athenian power at its peak.
Celtic La Tène culture emerges
in Central Europe; Celts expand
east and south and into British
Isles. Steppe nomads buried at
Pazyryk and Noin-Ula in Siberia.

507 bce

c.360 bce
Crossbow known to have been
in use in Chinese warfare.

359–338 bce
Macedonian king Philip II
extends his power.

336 bce

Cleisthenes establishes
democratic government in the
Greek city-state of Athens.

448–429 bce

c.500 bce

447 bce

Rice farming reaches Japan from
China. Ironworking spreads to
Southeast Asia and East Africa.
Bronze coins used in China.
Zapotecs develop hieroglyphic
writing in Central America.
Indian
Ind
ian caste
caste sy
syste
stem
m in
in plac
place.
e.

In Athens, construction of
second Parthenon begins, to
replace the one destroyed by
the Persians.

Athens flourishes during
“Golden Age” under Pericles.

Alexander succeeds Philip II
of Macedonia.

331 bce
Battle of Gaugamela: Persian
empire falls to Alexander;
Alexandria founded, Egypt.

323 bce
Death of Alexander.

431 bce
Sta
tart
rt of Pel
e oponne
esia
sian
n War
War
bettwee
bet
we
een riva
rivall Gre
Gree
re
eek stat
tates
e of
es
o
Athens an
Athens
Ath
and
d Spar
Spar
parta
ta.
ta.

321 bc
32
ce

c.41
c.
410
0 bc
bcee

c.30
300
0 bc
bcee

Athe an
Atheni
n Gre
G eks de
defea
fea
at
Per
ersia
s nss at Bat
sia
Ba tle of Ma
Marathon
ho .

Xenophon,
h
an exil
iled
d Greek,
G
accomp
acc
ompanies an arm
armyy o
off
10 000 Gr
10,
Greek
reek me
merce
rcenar
naries
ies
sup
suppor
pportin
ting
g a Pe
Persi
rsian
an rebell
reb
bell
ellion
io
on ,
fro
rom
m Baby
abylon
on to th
he Blacck Sea
Sea.

481 bc
ce

c.40
400
0 bce

Hopewe
welll culltur
ture
e develop
d l s in
northeast North America. First
Celti
Cel
tic sttates
t in Europe.
Alexan
Ale
xander
der’s
’s emp
empire p
parti
rtitio
tio
ioned
ne
ned
and ruled byy Seleu
Seleuccid
d,
A tigo
An
Ant
gonid
id
d, and
d Pt
Ptollemaic
dyn
dy
ynastiess.

End
d off “S
Spri
pr ng and Autum
Autum
t n”
ann
nals
als, first ch
hron
o olo
ologic
logical
al
histor
his
oryy of
of Chin
China
ina.

Iro
Ironwo
rking
ki g in Korrea. Ca
Carth
rthage
rt
age
ge
domina
inates
tes west
west Med
M iterra
rra
anea
n n.
Cellts set
Celts
ettle
tle no
north
rthern
hern
r Ittalyy.
Moch
Moc
he cul
cul
ultur
tur
ttu
u e in Peru
ur
Per . In
Centra
Cen
trall Amer
merica
ica
a, fina
final ph
phase
ase
a
se
e
off Olm
lm
mec civili
civvili
lizat
zat
ation;
ation
on; Zapo
apote
tec
ecss
flou
ouris
ouris
rish
h iin
n Mo
on
ont
nte A
nt
Albá
lbá
án.
n.

496
49
6 bc
bcee
Rome defe
Rome
defeats
ats LLatin
ns, le
led by
b
the fo
forme
rmerr Etru
trusca
scan
sca
n king
kin
ing
g, at
Lak
Lake
ake Regi
egill
illu
llus.
s.

490
49
0 bc
bcee

4 0 bc
48
bce
bce
End
nd off A
Archa
chaic
ic Per
Period
iod
od
d of Gr
Gre
eek
artt; star
art;
tart of
tart
of C
Cllas
lassic
sical
i al
a Per
Period
riod
od.
d.

Chandragupta
Chandr
pt Maury
Mauryya foun
unds
ds
Maurya
Maurya
Mau
yan
n empi
empiire
re, India
India.

c.29
2 0 bc
b e
Eucllid’s
Eu
Euc
id s Ele
Elem
El
me
ments
setts out
ut
p nci
pri
nciple
nc
p s of
ple
of geom
geom
metr
tryy.
y.

The Greek
Greek
k Templ
Temple of Pose
Pose
o ido
idon
id
n
at Cap
Cape
e Soun
o ion
n in
i At
Atticca was
Attic
as
destro
oyed byy th
he Pers
rsia
ianss d
ian
duri
uringg
uri
the
eirr inv
n asi
asion
ion of
of Gre
Gre
ee
ece
ce
e in
in 48
4
480
80 BCE
CE
E.

c.286 bce

c.200 bce

Qin expansion begins in China.

c.268 bce

Peak of Alexandrian learning.
Liu Bang founds Han Chinese
capital at Chang’an. Maya
culture emerges in Central
America. Nazca lines carved in
Peru. Lapita people reach the
Marquesas Islands.

Ashoka ascends Indian throne;
embarks on imperial conquests.

c.185 bce

272 bce
Tarentum, leading Greek city in
Italy, falls to Rome.

The god Krishna (right) is the
narrator of the Bhagavad Gita, one
of Hinduism’s sacred scriptures.

c.100 bce

End of Mauryan dynasty, India.

Maritime trade spreads Indian
influence to Southeast Asia. In
India, Bhagavad Gita begun.
Rise of Axum (Ethiopia). Celtic
fortified settlements in Europe.
Height of Ohio’s Adena culture.

171–138 bce

c.90 bce

Mithridates lays foundation of
Parthian empire.

Gandhara (northwest India)
falls to steppe nomads.

168 bce

89 bce

Rome expands in eastern
Mediterranean.

Roman citizenship extended
to all Italians.

165 bce

63 bce

First official exams held for
Chinese civil servants.

Pompey captures Jerusalem
and annexes Judaea; allies with
Antiochus I of Commagene.

264–241 bce
Rome and Carthage fight the
First Punic War.

262 bce
Emperor Ashoka allegedly
converts to Buddhism.

250 bce
Rome controls the entire
Italian peninsula.

c.247 bce
King Devanampiya Tissa of Sri
Lanka converts to Buddhism.

c.150 bce
Great Serpent Mound
constructed in Ohio.

58–52 bce

149–146 bce

46 bce
Julius Caesar proclaimed
dictator of Rome.

China united by first Qin
emperor, Qin Shi Huang.

Rome crushes Carthage in Third
Punic War; creates province of
Africa in its place; absorbs
Greece. Nomads related to the
Scythians invade Bactria.

218–201 bce

142 bce

30 bce

Second Punic War between
Rome and Carthage.

The Jews free Jerusalem and
make it their capital.

Suicide of Mark Anthony and
the Egyptian queen Cleopatra.

c.212 bce

123 bce

27 bce

Building of “Great Wall” of
China begins.

Parthian empire reaches its
greatest size.

Octavian assumes title of
Augustus, and begins rule as
first Roman emperor.

206 bce

101 bce

Qin empire succeeded by Han
dynasty under Liu Bang.

Han China control Central Asia,
Korea, and North Vietnam.

Julius Caesar conquers Gaul.

236 bce
Carthaginians conquer parts of
the Iberian peninsula (Spain).

221 bce

44 bce
Julius Caesar assassinated.

4 bce
Probable birth date of Christ.

37

THE CLASSICAL WORLD

c.1 ce

87 ce

166 ce

Kushans invade northwest
India. Buddhism spreads in
coastal Southeast Asia. Moche
culture flourishes in Peru.
Nabataeans, allied with Rome,
control Red Sea trade.

Embassy from the Kushans of
India to the new Eastern Han
capital of Luoyang.

Embassy of Syrian merchants
to China; German tribes invade
northern Italy.

99 ce

180 ce

Kushan empire dispatches
embassy to Rome.

Goths (Germanic Scandinavians)
settle on Black Sea coast.

c.100 ce

c.200 ce

Teotihuacán, Mexico, expands;
Building of Temples of the Sun
and Moon begin. Alexandria is
centre of Christian learning.
Kushan emperor Kanishka
propagates Buddhism.

Peak of trade between India,
China, and Rome. Korea free
of Han – Koguryo, Silla, and
Paekche states appear.
Teotihuacán largest city in
Americas; rise of Maya city
of Tikal. Hopewell moundbuilding culture flourishing
in North America.

2 ce
First census taken of the
population of China.

9 ce
Occupying Roman forces driven
back to the Rhine in Germany.

14 ce
Augustus dies; stepson
Tiberius succeeds him.

c.25 ce
First representation of Buddha
at Gandhara, northwest India.

117 ce
The Roman empire is at its
greatest extent.

122–28 ce

c.219 ce

Hadrian’s Wall built at Roman
frontier in northern Britain.

Hebrew edition of Mishna –
sayings and teachings from the
Torah, sacred text of Judaism.

Crucifixion of Christ.

132–35 ce

c.220 ce

c.40 ce

Second Jewish revolt against
Rome is crushed; the Jews are
expelled from Jerusalem.

Han dynasty collapses;
replaced by three kingdoms:
Shu, Wu, and Wei.

c.30 ce

Arawak people migrate down
Orinoco and settle Caribbean.

226 ce
43 ce

Parthian empire falls to
Ardashir I, who founds the
Sassanid Persian dynasty.

Roman invasion of Britain.

47–57 ce
235 ce

Journeys of St Paul.

Raids by Germanic
Alamanni on Roman
empire’s Black Forest
and Rhine frontiers.

c.50 ce
Axum now major
trading centre.

c.250 ce

60 ce
Kushan empire
established in India
and Central Asia.

Lodestone compass
invented in China.
Start of Classic period
of Maya civilization.

65 ce
269–72 ce

Evidence of Buddhism in China.

66–70 ce
First Jewish revolt against
Roman rule.

73 ce

Hadrian (117–138 CEE) was unusual
among the Roman emperors in
wearing a beard, in a tribute to
the Greek culture he admired.

Peak of China’s Han dynasty
military success.

c.150 ce

79 ce
Eruption of Vesuvius (near
Naples, southern Italy) buries
the Roman towns of Pompeii
and Herculaneum.

Queen Zenobia of Palmyra
takes Egypt and Syria from
Rome, but is in turn defeated
and taken prisoner by the
Roman emperor Aurelian.

280 ce
Han China regains dominance
of Central Asia. Christianity
spreads west across Roman
North Africa. Ptolemy of
Alexandria’s Geographia, first
world atlas, completed. Peak of
Nok Iron Age culture in Nigeria.

China is reunited under the
Chin dynasty.

293 ce
Emperor Diocletian sets up
system of four co-emperors
(The Tetrarchy). Maya calendar
in use, Tikal.

38

TIMELINES OF WORLD HISTORY

c.300 ce

404 ce

c.500 ce

Armenia adopts Christianity.
Axum (Ethiopia) issues coins.

Translation of the Bible into
Latin completed.

304 ce

410 ce

Xiongnu invade China. Christians
persecuted in Rome by the
emperor Diocletian.

Goths under Alaric sack Rome.

Angles, Saxons, and Jutes
migrate to Britain; Celts survive
in Wales and Ireland. Camel
trains cross Sahara from Ghana
to North Africa.

439 ce

6TH CENTURY ce

Vandals take Carthage from
Rome; establish a North
African kingdom.

Early Classic Maya civilization
at its height.

312–13 ce
Constantine wins Battle of
Milvian Bridge and confirms
religious freedom for Christians
with Edict of Milan.

527 ce
452 ce
Huns invade Italy under Attila.

Justinian becomes Byzantine
(Eastern Roman) Emperor.

320 ce

475 ce

529–34 ce

Gupta dynasty of India heralds
“Golden Age”.

Visigoths rule Spain and
southwest Gaul.

Codex Justinianus codifies
Roman law.

330 ce

477 ce

552 ce

Constantine makes Byzantium
(Constantinople) the capital of
the eastern Roman empire.

Buddhism is state religion of
China; Liu Song dynasty falls.

Buddhism arrives in Japan.

568 ce
478 ce

c.350 ce
Yamato state emerges in Japan.

First shrine of Shinto religion
built, Japan.

370 ce

479 ce

White Huns move west from
Central Asia; defeat the
Ostrogoths in Ukraine.

Short-lived Southern Qi dynasty
begins in China.

376–415 ce
Chandragupta’s rule represents
peak of Gupta dynasty.

Goths defeat Romans at the
Battle of Adrianople.

c.400 ce
Populatio
Popula
tion
n of
of Teotih
T ihuacán,
Me
Mex
exico
ico
co,, reac
reac
ea hes
hes 2550,0
0 000.
0,000
00.
P lynesian
Pol
i peop
ple
le set
settl
ttl
tle
le remot
ote
te
Easter
Eas
ter Is
Islan
land
lan
d in
in Paci
Paci
acific
fic.
fic
fic.
c
The P
Th
Pyyram
mid
do
off tthe
he
h
eS
Su
Sun
un w
wa
as the
mosst im
impo
mpo
osin
sing
sin
g stru
tructure of the
he ci
c tyy
of Teo
Teotih
tihuac
tih
uacán,
án, Mexic
án,
Mexico
Me
co.

c.570 ce
Birth of Muhammad, prophet of
Islam, Mecca.

c.581–88 ce

480 ce

Sui dynasty reunites China.

White Huns overthrow Gupta
empire of India.

590 ce

Accession of the first Frankish
king, Clovis I.

Papal power extended by
Gregory the Great. Avar
state established on
Hungarian plains.

493 ce

595 ce

Ostroggoths under Theo
heodor
do ic
con
nque
q r Italy.
y

Decima
Dec
imall syst
system
em dev
devise
ised
d, India.
ia.

481 ce
378 ce

Byzantium concedes much of
Italy to the Lombards.

597 ce
59

c.49
496
6–50
6–50
6–
506
6 cee
Clovis
Cl
i co
con
nverts
nve
t to
t Christi
ris
istia
anit
nity.
y

Pap
P
Papal
ap
pal mis
missio
sion
sio
n to
to Engl
ngland
land und
under
der
Stt Aug
Augus
usti
ust
tine
ine
e.

THE MEDIEVAL WORLD

39

THE MEDIEVAL WORLD
600–1450
In the chaos following R
Rome’s fall, Europe’s progress faltered while
Tang China and new Islamic nations surged ahead. Other societies –
T
in the Americas, India, and Southeast Asia – promised much. Yet by
the 1400s, Europe was poised once again to dominate the globe.
615

725

786

Persian conquests of Syria,
Mesopotamia, and Palestine
are complete.

Anglo-Saxon scholar Bede
disseminates the Christian AD
– Anno Domini – dating system
throughout Europe.

Haroun al-Rashid, immortalized
in The One Thousand and One
Nights, becomes the fifth
Abbasid caliph.

726–9

c.790

Byzantine emperor Leo III bans
worship of religious icons.

Viking raids against Western
Europe begin.

c.732

794

Muslims defeated by Franks at
Poitiers, France, halting Muslim
expansion into Western Europe.

Emperor Kammu moves
Japanese capital from Nara
to Kyoto.

739

800
Charlemagne crowned emperor
of the Romans by Pope Leo III.

Death of Muhammad.

Byzantine army defeats
Umayyad caliphate at
Akronion and expels
Umayyads from Asia Minor.

641

c.740

Islamic conquest of Egypt.

High point of Later Classic
period of the Maya civilization,
Central America.

618
Tang dynasty established in
China; Xi’an becomes capital.

622
Hegira (Muhammad’s flight
to Medina) marks start of
Islamic era.

624
Muhammad’s army defeats
Meccans at Battle of Badr.

632

642

802
Angkorian dynasty founded
by King Jayavarman II in
modern Cambodia,
Southeast Asia.

809

Islamic conquest of Persia.

750

Death of Haroun al-Rashid.

Revolt against Umayyad
caliphs leads to foundation of
Abbasid caliphate.

814

Silla kingdom unifies Korea.

753

832

692

Italy invaded by Franks under
Pépin, father of Charlemagne.

Dome of the Rock mosque
completed in Jerusalem.

756

Caliph Al-Ma’mun establishes
“House of Wisdom” in
Baghdad: translates ancient
Greek learning into Arabic.

698

Breakaway Umayyad emirate
established in Cordoba, Spain.

843

Islamic conquest of Carthage,
North Africa.

760

c.700

Indian system of numerals
adopted by Abbasid dynasty.

661
Umayyad caliphate established.

Death of Charlemagne.

668

Lindisfarne Gospels written
in England. Rise of Kingdom
of Ghana, West Africa.
Teotihuacán, Mexico,
abandoned. North Peru
dominated by Chimú state.

711
Muslim invasion of Spain; Arab
invasion of Sind in India.

Treaty of Verdun divides
Charlemagne’s empire: west
and east portions roughly
correspond to modern France
and Germany.

774
Lombards in northern Italy
defeated by Franks under the
emperor Charlemagne.

c.782
Scholars attracted to
Charlemagne’s court stimulate
Carolingian renaissance.

c.850
Arab navigators perfect
astrolabe. Cholas under
King Vijayalaya gain power
in south India.

858–1180
Fujiwara clan in power in Japan.

40

TIMELINES OF WORLD HISTORY

860

955

1040

Cyrillic alphabet created in
eastern Europe.

King Otto I of Germany defeats
Magyars at Lechfeld, halting
their westward expansion.

Formula for gunpowder
published, China.

866

1045

Vikings take city of York and
establish a kingdom in
northern England.

960

868

962

Diamond Sutra, the world’s
oldest surviving printed book,
produced in China.

Election of Otto I (“the Great”)
as German emperor.

Song dynasty is established
in China.

First printing with moveable
type, China.

1047

874
Muslim Samanid dynasty
established in Turkestan.

878

Beginning of Norman conquest
of southern Italy and Sicily.

1048
966

Fatimids lose control of Libya.

Polish state is founded by
Mieszko I.

1054

969

Final schism (split) between
Catholic and Orthodox
Christian Churches.

Alfred, king of Wessex, defeats
Danes at Battle of Edington to
halt Danish advance in England.

Fatimids of Tunisia assume
control of North Africa from
Tunisia to Egypt and relocate
to new capital, Cairo.

c.900

972

1066

Beginning of golden age of
Hindu temple-building in India.

King Edgar crowned at Bath,
uniting English kingdoms.
Formation of unified Hungarian
state under Duke Geza.

Battle of Hastings leads to the
Norman conquest of England.

906
Collapse of Tang dynasty, China.
Magyars destroy Moravia
(eastern Czech Republic) and
begin to raid western Europe.

1055
Seljuk Turks capture Baghdad.

1070

986

Almoravid capital founded at
Marrakesh, North Africa.

Erik the Red begins Viking
settlement of Greenland.

1071

910

987

Foundation of reformed
Benedictine abbey at Cluny
in Burgundy, France.

French Capetian dynasty of
kings founded.

Battle of Manzikert: Seljuk
Turks defeat Byzantines.
Normans capture last Byzantine
possessions in Italy.

c.990

1076

Toltecs take over Maya city of
Chichén Itzá.

Empire of Ghana in West Africa
falls to the Almoravids.

1000

1076

Stephen, Grand Prince of
Hungary, becomes its first king.

Investiture controversy: Pope
Gregory VII excommunicates
the German emperor Henry IV.

911
Vikings found duchy of
Normandy, northern France.

916
Foundation of Siberian Khitan
empire, Mongolia.

1008
935

First Muslim raids into northern
India, led by Muhammad of
Ghazni (modern Afghanistan).

1099

Foundation of the state of
Koryo in Korea.

936

1013

c.1100

Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad
lose effective power to their
Turkish troops, the Mamluks.

Renewed Danish invasion leads
to conquest of England.

England, Denmark, and Norway
united under King Canute.

Rise to prominence of Great
Zimbabwe, southeast Africa.
Beginning of Inca state,
South America. Emergence
of Pueblo culture, southwest
North America.

1031

c.1115

Fall of Umayyad caliphate of
Cordoba during Christian
reconquest of Spain.

Renaissance of Byzantine art
under Alexius Comnenus.

1016
938
Kingdom of Dai Viet in Vietnam
throws off Chinese rule.

947
Nomadic Qidan people invade
northern China and establish
Liao dynasty.

Capture of Jerusalem during
First Crusade.

THE MEDIEVAL WORLD

c.1118

1169

Crusading order of the Knights
Templar founded.

English conquest of Ireland
launched under Henry II.

Battles between Crusaders and
Muslims occupied almost two
centuries of religious warfare.

1122

1171

1204

Concordat of Worms ends the
investiture controversy.

Ayyubid sultan Saladin
overthrows Fatimid caliphate
in Egypt.

Constantinople taken during
Fourth Crusade.

1125
Chinese Liao dynasty defeated
by Jin from Manchuria.

1130
Chinese Song dynasty move
capital to Hangzhou after Jin
take control of northern China.

1206

c.1180
Angkor empire of Cambodia
reaches greatest extent under
Jayavarman VII.

1206
Genghis Khan proclaimed
leader of the Mongol tribes.

Foundation of the Kamakura
shogunate, Japan.

1209

1187

Albigensian Crusade is
launched against heretics
in southern France.

Crusader armies destroyed by
Saladin at Battle of Hattin.

1145
Start of Second Crusade.

First Muslim empire in India,
the Delhi Sultanate, founded.

1185

1144
Crusader state of Edessa falls
to Muslims.

41

1215
1189
Start of Third Crusade.

Mongols under Genghis Khan
capture Zhongdu (Beijing).

Almohads seize city of
Marrakesh from Almoravids
and take control of North Africa.

1192

c.1216

Minamoto Yoritomo becomes
shogun, Japan.

Dominican and Franciscan
monastic orders founded.

1147

c.1194

1217

Almohads established in
southern Spain.

Mayapán becomes Maya capital.

Start of Fifth Crusade.

c.1200

1218

c.1162

Incas under Manco Capac
settle in Andes near Cuzco;
Aztecs enter Valley of Mexico.

Mongols conquer Persia.

1147

Birth of Genghis Khan, founder
of Mongol empire.

1227
Genghis Khan dies.

42

TIMELINES OF WORLD HISTORY

1235

c.1300

1360

Foundation of Mali kingdom,
West Africa.

Osman I founds Ottoman
state: first phase of Ottoman
expansion begins.

Treaty of Brétigny ends first
phase of Hundred Years’ War.

c.1360

1258
Abbasid caliphate falls as
Mongols sack city of Baghdad.

1302
Last Christian outpost in Holy
Lands falls to Mamluk Turks.

1260

Vijayanagara empire reaches
greatest extent, south India.

1368
1324

Ming dynasty founded, China.

1375

1261

Mansa Musa, emperor of Mali,
performs Pilgrimage of Gold to
Egypt and Mecca.

Byzantines retake city of
Constantinople from Crusaders.

c.1325

1266

Aztecs found capital at
Tenochtitlán, Mexico.

Kublai Khan founds new Mongol
capital at Khanbaliq (Beijing);
Marco Polo visits his court.

1333

Mamluks defeat Mongols at
Ain Jalut, Palestine.

End of the Kamakura
shogunate in Japan.

1274

Catalan Atlas, the first atlas of
known trade routes, produced.

1378
Great schism between rival
popes in Rome and Avignon.

1389
Battle of Kosovo: Ottomans
gain control of Balkans.

Mongols try to invade Japan;
a second unsuccessful attempt
is made in 1281.

1336
Ashikaga shogunate is
founded, Japan.

1392

1276

1337

1398

First European paper mill, Italy.

Start of Hundred Years’ War
between England and France.

Mongol warrior Tamerlane
destroys Delhi, India.

Last Song resistance crushed
by Mongols: Yuan dynasty
founded by Kublai Khan.

1347

c.1400

Black Death reaches Europe
after ravaging western Asia.

Emergence of empire of
Benin, Nigeria.

1291

1349

1415

Crusader port of Acre falls to
Crus
Mam
mluk Tu
Turks
rks.

Chinese sett
ettlem
lement
ent of
Sin
S
ing
in
gap
pore
pore
ore;; star
tartt of
of Chin
Chinese
sset
etttle
ttle
tllemen
mentt of
men
of Sout
Sout
outhea
h st Asi
hea
A a.

England defeats French army at
Aginco
Agi
ncourt. Port
o uguese capture
Ce ta, first perrman
Ceu
Ce
ma entt Eu
E ropean
p sesssio
pos
sion
n in
in Nort
orth Afri
frica.
ca

Start of Choson dynasty, Korea.

1279

c.13
c.
1350
C flic
Con
flict b
betw
etween
et
etw
en
n Inca and
d
Chimú
Ch
Chi
mú
ú states
states
tes,, Sout
ou h Amer
me
me
merica
errica
ic .

c 13
c.
354
54

1 29
14
Expans
Exp
xpan
ans
nsion of Azztec
ec em
empir
p e
be ins
beg
ns,, Cent
Central
ntral Am
meri
e ca.
c

Ottomans occ
Ottoma
occupy
oc
upy
pyy Galli
G
Gallipol
poli,
gainin
gai
ning
g first
first footh
footh
othold
thold
old in Eu
Europ
rop
p e.

c.14
c.
430
0

The
h Mo
Mongo
ongo
n ol warrrior
io Tam
merl
erlan
ane
a
ne,
a o know
al
als
no n as
as Tim
imu
mur, con
o que
ere
red
d
much
muc
h of west
wes ern
na
an
nd
d cen
entral As
Asia
ia
to for
to
form the
th Tim
Timuri
Ti
ur d empi
m re.
mp
re

14
43
36
6

Bruge
Bru
ruges
es em
e erg
rg
ges ass commer
co
omm
merrcia
rc l
foc
fo
ocus
u off nor
n thw
hw
west Europ
Eu pe.

Portug
Po
ug
guese explorerrs
rs sta
art
r
cha
arti
rt ng
g West Afri
frica
can
n co
c astt.

1438
14
38
8
Incca con
onq
ques
essts
t in So
outh
ou
h
Ame
Am
me
m
e
erica
a be
egiin und
underr Pac
ach
ch
hacu
cuti.

1445
14
455
4
Jo an
Joh
Jo
ann
n ess Gut
ute
ut
en
enb
nb
berg
erg
g iin
ntr
tro
odu
duces
prrinti
pri
n ng prresss to
nti
t E
Eur
urope
e.

c.14
1 50
0
Ecllip
pse
eo
of Grea
r t Zimbabw
imb
mbab
bw
we by
Mu
M
ut
utapa
a emp
pirre,
e, Africa.

THE EARLY MODERN WORLD

43

THE EARLY MODERN WORLD
1450–1750
Voyages of exploration established Europe as the world’s first global
power, in the face of formidable opposition. At least until 1700, Ming
– and later Qing – China, Mughal India, and Safavid Persia were
Europe’s equals, while Ottoman T
Turkey presented a persistent threat.
1453

1480

c.1510

Constantinople is captured by
the Ottomans: the Byzantine
empire falls.

Muscovy under Ivan III escapes
Tatar Mongol domination.

Height of Italian Renaissance.

1513
1485

The Gutenberg Bible is printed
in Germany.

Battle of Bosworth: Henry VII of
England defeats Richard III and
establishes Tudor dynasty.

Ponce de León, explorer and
Spanish governor of Puerto
Rico, reaches Florida and
claims it for Spain.

1455–85

1492

1514

Wars of the Roses, a dynastic
struggle for the English throne.

Christian reconquest of Spain
completed as Muslim Granada
falls to Spain. Columbus makes
first Atlantic crossing and lands
on Caribbean islands.

Battle of Chaldiran: Ottomans
defeat Safavid Persians.

1455

1467
Onin War in Japan begins,
marking start of century-long
“Era of Warring States”.

1494

1517
Ottomans under Selim II
conquer Syria, Egypt, Hejaz,
and Yemen. Martin Luther
writes the 95 Theses, triggering
the Reformation.

Songhay recapture Timbuktu
from the Tuaregs and become
leading power in West Africa.

Treaty of Tordesillas: the New
World is divided between Spain
and Portugal. Italian wars begin
with Charles VIII’s invasion of
Italy to lay claim to Naples.

c.1470

1497

Chimú is conquered by the
Incas; greatest Incan imperial
expansion begins.

Italian navigator John Cabot
reaches Newfoundland.

First Portuguese trading
mission to China. Ferdinand
Magellan discovers navigable
route south, around tip of
South America.

1498

1529

First European voyage to India
around Cape of Good Hope
made by Vasco da Gama.
Columbus first European to
reach South America.

Vienna besieged by Ottomans.
Peace of Cambrai relinquishes
France’s rights in Italy,
Flanders, and Artois. Charles V
renounces claims to Burgundy.

1499

1531

France invades Lombardy, seizes
Milan. Amerigo Vespucci lands
on northern coast of South
America at mouth of Amazon.

Spanish conquistador
Francisco Pizarro lands in Peru.

1468

1471
Annamites expand south,
invading Hindu state of
Champa (South Vietnam). Final
decline of Khmer civilization
begins. Portuguese take
Tangiers from Moors.

1472
Marriage of Ivan III of Russia
to Zoë, niece of Byzantine
emperor; Ivan takes title of Tsar.

1500
1477
Battle of Nancy: Charles the
Bold is killed; Habsburgs
acquire the majority of the
Burgundian territories.

1479
Union of Castile and Aragon
(together forming modern-day
Spain) through marriage of
Isabella I and Ferdinand.

Louis XII of France invades Italy
to claim Milan. Cabral reaches
Brazil, claiming it for Portugal.

1520

1533
Pizarro encounters, captures,
and kills Inca emperor
Atahuallpa, and conquers
Inca capital, Cuzco.

1534
1502
First shipment of African
slaves sent to Cuba to work
in Spanish settlements,
beginning triangular slave
trade between Europe, West
Africa, and the Americas.

Henry VIII of England, denied
a divorce, breaks with Rome.
Ottoman–Safavid war results
in the Ottoman capture of
Baghdad. Jacques Cartier
explores Strait of Belle Isle
and St Lawrence.

44

TIMELINES OF WORLD HISTORY

1536

1558

Wales and England formally
united under Act of Union.
Henry VIII begins dissolution
of the monasteries in England;
crushes Catholic rebellion.

Elizabeth I becomes Queen
of England. Akbar conquers
region of Gwalior in central
India. England loses Calais,
its last French possession.

1545

1565

Council of Trent called to
counter growing threat of
Protestantism. Silver is
discovered at Potosí, Bolivia.

Beginning of Ivan IV’s “reign of
terror” in Russia. Spain claims
Philippines. South American
Indian population decimated
by European diseases.

1547
Battle of Mühlberg: Protestant
League of Schmalkalden
defeated by Emperor Charles V.

1570

1550

c.1570

Building of Suleyman mosque
begins in Istanbul.

Flemish cartographer Mercator
presents new map projection.

1552

1571

Henri II of France assists
the German Protestants in
overturning the authority of
Charles V in Germany.

Battle of Lepanto: Ottoman
expansion in Mediterranean
is halted.

Portugal founds colony in
Angola; starts slave trading.

New cartographic methods
pioneered by Mercator presented
the continents of the world in the
shapes we recognize today.

1587
Accession of Shah Abbas
to the throne of Safavid Persia;
some Ottoman territorial gains
are reversed.

1588
Spanish Armada fails to
conquer England.

1590
Peace treaty negotiated
between Safavid Persia and
Ottomans. Toyotomi Hideyoshi
achieves unification of Japan:
capital moved from Kyoto to
Edo (modern Tokyo).

c.1590
Maori population increase
causes strain on resources;
warfare intensifies.

1576
1555
Charles V concedes “Accord
of Augsburg” giving German
princes freedom to select
Protestant or Catholic religion.

Mughal forces capture Bengal
in north India.

1582

1592
Japan invades Korea but is
repulsed by Chinese troops
and Korean navy.

Japan begins reunification.

1593
1555–56

1585

Humayan restores Mughal rule,
but shortly dies; his 12-year-old
son Akbar becomes emperor.

Spain establishes Cebu, first
major European colony in
Philippines. England aids Dutch
rebels in struggle against Spain.

Beginning of “Long Turkish
War” between Habsburgs
and Ottomans.

THE EARLY MODERN WORLD

45

1595

1625

1660

Henri IV seeks to unite religious
divisions in France by declaring
war on Spain.

Dutch found a colony in North
America named New Amsterdam
(modern New York).

Royal Society founded in
London under Charles II for
the advancement of science.

1600

1631

1661

Battle of Sekigahara gives
Tokugawa Ieyasu control of
Japan. British East India
Company established.

Battle of Breitenfeld: Gustavus
Adolphus consolidates position
of the Swedes in Germany.

First Jesuit mission to Tibet.
Louis XIV, crowned in 1643
when five years old, assumes
personal rule of France.

1635
1602
Founding date of Dutch East
India Company.

French intervention in the
Thirty Years’ War prevents a
pro-Habsburg settlement at
the Peace of Prague.

1664

1638

1666

Murad IV retakes Baghdad from
the Safavids.

French Royal Academy of
Sciences founded, Paris.

1642

1668

First English Civil War begins.
Dutch explorer Abel Tasman
discovers Tasmania.

1644

Portuguese independence
conceded by Spain. Treaty
of Aix-la-Chapelle concedes
French territorial gains in the
Spanish Netherlands.

Manchu conquest of China and
establishment of Qing dynasty.

1669

1648

Coffee is introduced to Italy,
then rest of western Europe.

Peace of Westphalia agreed:
ends Thirty Years’ War. France
collapses into civil war.

1672

Second Anglo–Dutch War
begins; English seize New
Amsterdam from Dutch.

1618
Bohemian Protestant revolt
against Habsburg rule breaks
out. Protestant and Catholic
intervention sparks off the
Thirty Years’ War across Europe.

1620
Mayflower sets sail from
England with the Pilgrim
Fathers; arrives in Plymouth,
North America later that year;
one year later they celebrate
the first Thanksgiving with
American Indians.

1624
Shah Abbas retakes Baghdad
and extends Safavid empire
deep into Anatolia. Cardinal
Richelieu becomes French
first minister.

1652
Dutch establish colony at Cape
of Good Hope.

Louis XIV launches his armies
against the Dutch: sparks off
first great European coalition
war against France.

1682
17th-century spice traders
brought coffee, long popular
in Africa and the Muslim world,
to western Europe.

1653
Oliver Cromwell appointed Lord
Protector, England.

1654
Construction of the Taj Mahal
completed in Agra, India.

La Salle navigates Mississippi,
USA; claims Louisiana for
France. Louis XIV establishes
Versailles as base for his court
and government. Peter I
becomes Tsar of Russia.

1683
Ottoman siege of Vienna fails;
followed by collapse of
Ottoman power in the Balkans.

1687
Principia Mathematica
published by Isaac Newton:
principle of gravity established.

1689
Treaty of Nerchinsk settles
territorial dispute between
Russia and China. William and
Mary joint Protestant monarchs
of England. Protestant Grand
Alliance formed to counter
Louis XIV.

46

TIMELINES OF WORLD HISTORY

1690

1727

1739

English trading post Fort William
established in Calcutta, India.

First coffee plantation in Brazil.

Hindu Marathas defeat the
Nizam of Hyderabad, India.
Danish-born Vitus Bering begins
Russian exploration of Alaska.

Persians defeat Mughals at
Karnal, occupying Delhi; Persia
now controls all territory to
north and west of the Indus
River. Treaty of Belgrade
stabilizes position of Ottoman
empire in Balkans.

1734

1745

Lloyd’s Listt begins publishing
shipping news from a London
coffee house. In Africa, the
Sultan of Bornu becomes ruler
of neighbouring Kanem and
forms a major sub-Saharan
trading state.

Jacobite rebellion of the
Stuarts aims to overthrow
the Hanoverians in Britain.

1728
1694
Bank of England established.

c.1700
In the USA, Boston emerges as
the principal New World port
of the Atlantic slave trade.

1701
War of Spanish Succession
begins. Swedish invasion of
Poland begins first phase of
Great Northern War. Ashanti
begin rise to prominence,
West Africa.

1747

1735

Afghanistan kingdom
established by Ahmad Khan
Abdali. Yoruba tribe begins
conquest of Dahomey (Benin).

1704

John Harrison of Britain unveils
his marine chronometer.

1748

Opticks written by Isaac Newton,
exploring theories on light.

1736

Punjab invaded by Afghans.
Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle: War
of Austrian Succession ended.

1707
Death of Aurangzeb heralds
decline of Mughal India.

1713
Treaty of Utrecht: ends War of
Spanish Succession, confirms
separation of French and
Spanish crowns and British
control of Newfoundland and
Nova Scotia.

Nadir Shah becomes ruler of
Persia and begins a period of
Persian expansion. Marathas
extend control of north India.
French occupy Madras in
southern India.

1749
Mysore Kingdom rises to
prominence, south India.

c.1750
Wahhabi movement to purify
Islam begins, Arabia.
Lancashire cotton mills
supplant South Asian textile
trade in western Europe.

1717
Blackbeard begins plundering
ships in the Caribbean.

1720
Qing oust Mongols from Tibet.
Spanish acquire Texas, USA.

1722
Afghans overthrow the last
Safavid shah.

1724
Kingdom of Dahomey
becomes principal
supplier of slaves
to European
traders.

A Yoruba shrine figure,
thought to depict a hunter
collecting medicines in the
bush. The Yoruba remain
one of West Africa’s
largest ethnic groups.

THE WORLD OF EMPIRES

47

THE WORLD OF EMPIRES
1750–1914
The American and F
French revolutions transformed W
Western political
expectations. Demands for political liberation echoed through the
19th century, against a background of unprecedented European global
supremacy and imperial expansion on every continent.
1750

1762

1782

Treaty of Madrid agrees
boundary between Spanish
South American colonies
and Brazil.

Catherine the Great comes to the
Russian throne. France cedes
upper Louisiana to Spain.

Britain sues for peace with
American rebels. Native revolt
in Peru quashed by Spanish.

1763

1783

Treaty of Paris; British supremacy
in North America confirmed.

Treaty of Paris: American
independence is recognized
by the British.

1751
Diderot publishes first volume
of his Encyclopédie.

1768
1755
The Lisbon earthquake, one of
the deadliest in history, kills
between 60,000 and 100,000.

1756
The Seven Years’ War begins;
of the major European powers,
Hanover, Britain, and Prussia
(led by Frederick the Great) clash
with France, Austria, and Russia.

Russian–Ottoman War. James
Cook begins his first Pacific
voyage (to 1771).

1784

1769

1789

Egypt declares independence
from Ottomans.

1772

French Revolution begins.
George Washington is elected
as first president of the USA
(to 1797).

Partition of Poland by Austria,
Prussia, and Russia.

1792

1757

1773

Victory at Battle of Plassey
secures Bengal for the British
East India Company; Prussia
defeats Austria at Battle of
Leuthen to control Silesia.

The Boston Tea Party, a protest
against British taxes on
American colonies.

1758

1759
Anglo–Prussian force defeats
French at Minden, north
Germany; Britain takes Quebec
from France.

1760
Boer settlement of South African
interior. Work begins on Britain’s
first “modern” canal, the
Bridgewater Canal.

c.1760
Height of the Enlightenment, led
by thinkers such as Adam Smith
and Voltaire.

Louis XVI overthrown; French
republic declared; France
declares war on Austria,
Prussia, and Piedmont.

1793
1775–83
American Revolutionary War.

Britain defeats France at Fort
Duquesne, USA; Britain takes
Senegal from the French. Battle
of Zorndorf between Prussia and
Russia; result favours Prussia.

India Act: British take direct
control of Indian territories.

Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette
executed; beginning of “Terror”
led by Maximilien Robespierre.

1776
American Declaration of
Independence is signed.

1777
Treaty of San Idelfonso:
Spanish possession of Uruguay
and Portuguese possession of
Amazon basin confirmed.

1778
France joins America in
Revolutionary War. Cook’s
third Pacific voyage.

1798
Napoleon Bonaparte invades
Egypt; French fleet is destroyed
by the British at the Battle of
the Nile. Ceylon (modern Sri
Lanka) becomes British colony.

1799
The Coup de Brumaire brings
Napoleon to power as First
Consul. Britain assumes
control of south India.

1803
1781
Battle of Yorktown: George
Washington and French allies
defeat British; Articles of
Confederation ratified.
Massacre of Xhosa by Boers,
South Africa.

Britain declares war on France
(to 1815). Cape Colony, South
Africa, restored to Dutch.
Louisiana Purchase: France
sells territory between the
Mississippi river and the
Rockies to USA.

48

TIMELINES OF WORLD HISTORY

Napoleon crossed the Alps
(although allegedly on a mule) in
order to surprise Austrian troops
and win the Battle of Marengo.

1823–26
First Anglo–Burmese War.

1824
Ottomans joined by Egyptians
against Greek nationalists. Peru
becomes independent from
Spain, aided by Simón Bolívar.

1826–28
Russo–Persian War.

1828
Russia acquires Armenia,
declares war on Ottomans,
takes Varna, Bulgaria. Egypt
agrees withdrawal from Greece.

1829
Ottomans agree Greek and
Serbian independence. First
passenger railway in USA.

1830
1803–6

1813

Meriweather Lewis and William
Clark explore territories of
Louisiana Purchase and reach
the Pacific coast.

Battle of the Nations; allies
including Britain, Prussia, and
Russia defeat France; British
cross into France.

Revolution in Paris topples
Charles X; Louis-Philippe
crowned king of France. Belgian
War of Independence (to 1831).
First wagon train to California.

1804

1814

1831

Napoleon assumes title of
Emperor of France. Napoleonic
Code introduced.

Anti-French allies occupy Paris;
Napoleon exiled to Elba.
Congress of Vienna to agree
future of Europe.

Belgium attains independence.
Mass immigration to USA from
Ireland begins.

1805
The Battle of Trafalgar; Britain
defeats the Franco–Spanish
fleet. Battle of Austerlitz:
France defeats Austrians
and Russians.

1832
1815

1806

Napoleon escapes Elba;
defeated at Waterloo; exiled
to St Helena; French monarchy
restored. Serbia throws off
Ottoman rule. Britain takes
control of India.

France defeats Prussia;
serfdom abolished in Prussia.

1818

1809
Anti-Spanish uprising in
Mexico starts revolts across
Latin America. Sweden cedes
Finland to Russia.

1812
Napoleon invades Russia;
occupies Moscow, but forced to
retreat. Egypt reclaims Mecca
and Medina from Ottomans.

Chilean independence from
Spain confirmed by victory in
Battle of Maipu. Shaka unites
Zulus, South Africa.

1819
USA buys Florida from Spain.
Colombia gains independence.

Russia annexes Duchy of Warsaw.

1834
Slavery abolished in British
empire; Boers move north.

1838
Battle of Blood River: Boers
massacre Zulus.

1839
Mahmud II introduces reforms
to Ottoman empire. Charles
Darwin publishes diary of
voyage on HMS Beagle.
Opium War, China, between
British and Chinese; Chinese
forced to negotiate.

1821
Greek War of Independence (to
1829) against Ottomans. Mexico
achieves independence.

1840
Maoris obliged to accept British
rule in New Zealand.

THE WORLD OF EMPIRES

49

1842

1857

1863

Treaty of Nanjing: China cedes
Hong Kong to Britain, opens
ports to foreign trade.
Webster–Ashburton Treaty:
US–Canadian border agreed.

Indian Mutiny; revolt attempts
to end British rule. Last Mughal
emperor exiled by Britain.
France and Britain declare war
on China: take Guangzhou.

Slavery is outlawed in the
Confederacy, but not abolished
until end of Civil War.

1846

1859

Japan refuses US demands to
open trading links. Mexican–
American War begins (to 1848):
Mexico defeated. USA claims
California from Mexico.

Second Italian War of
Independence; Garibaldi
serves as major-general. Suez
Canal begun. Darwin’s On the
Origin of Species published.

1848

1860

Gold discovered in California,
prompting the California
Gold Rush. Karl Marx and
Friedrich Engels publish The
Communist Manifesto.

Taiping rebels attack Shanghai.

1851
Pseudo-Christian Taiping rebels
march north through China:
immense devastation. Great
Exhibition opens, London.

1852
Britain accepts independence
of Transvaal Boers.

1861
Abraham Lincoln takes office as
president of the USA; the slave
states cede from the Union;
American Civil War begins (to
1865). Serfdom abolished in
Russia. Italy unifies.

1862
Otto von Bismarck becomes
prime minister of Prussia.
Foreigners expelled from Japan.

1865
Union victory in American Civil
War; the South is devastated;
Lincoln assassinated. French
colony established in Senegal,
West Africa.

1867
Austro–Hungarian dual
monarchy. Bismarck chancellor
of North German Confederation.
Meiji restored, Japan. USA
purchases Alaska from Russia.

1870
Franco–Prussian (or 1870) War:
France capitulates.

1871
German unification: France
cedes Alsace-Lorraine to
Germany. Paris Commune
revolt suppressed. Modernizing
reforms, Japan.

1875
1853
Crimea
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Anti-Ottoman rebellion in
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50

TIMELINES OF WORLD HISTORY

1876

1885

1899

Serbia and Montenegro declare
war on Ottomans: Serbia
defeated. Alexander Graham
Bell patents telephone in USA.

South African (Boer) War (to
1902). Britain and Egypt agree
to share power in Sudan.

1877

King Leopold of Belgium
acquires Congo. Madagascar
becomes a French protectorate,
Tanganyika becomes a German
protectorate. First automobile,
Daimler and Benz, Germany.

Britain annexes Transvaal,
South Africa.

1889

1878

First Italian colony in Eritrea,
Africa. Rhodesia colonized.
Brazil declared a republic.

Serbia, Montenegro, and
Romania gain independence
from Ottoman empire.

1880
Boers drive Britain from
Transvaal; declare new republic.

Ottomans massacre nationalist
Armenians. Britain occupies
Buganda and Uganda. French
conquer Dahomey. First Sino–
Japanese war begins (to 1895).

1895
Battle of Weihaiwei: crushing
Japanese victory over China;
Japan annexes Taiwan. AntiSpanish uprising in Cuba.

1882
Germany, Austria, and Italy
form anti-French alliance.
Nationalist revolt in Egypt
prompts British occupation.

1884
Berlin Conference agrees
European partition of Africa.

Boxer Rebellion, China;
European forces occupy Beijing.

1901
Commonwealth of Australia
proclaimed. British monarch
Queen Victoria dies.

1894

1881
Britain recognizes selfgovernment in Transvaal.
Anti-Jewish pogrom in Russia;
mass Jewish immigration to USA.

1900

1905
Revolution in Russia: Tsar
Nicholas II grants limited
concessions. Norway gains
independence. Special
Theory of Relativity proposed
by Albert Einstein.

1909
“Young Turks” oust Ottoman
sultan; Ottomans recognize
independent Bulgaria.

1897
Greek–Ottoman war: Ottomans
force concessions from Greeks.
Cuba granted autonomy.
Anti-British uprisings on the
northwest frontier of India.
Germany occupies Rwanda.

1910
Monarchy overthrown in
Portugal: republic proclaimed.
China invades Tibet. Japan
annexes Korea. Mexican
Revolution begins.
Gottlieb Daimlerr is driven by
hiss so
son
n in
in hiss firs
fi t “horseless
cca
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riage”
age
ge”
e in
in 18
88
8555.

THE MODERN WORLD

51

THE MODERN WORLD
1914 ONWARD
Two world wars dominated the 20th century, leaving Europe prostrate,
and directly contributing to decolonization across Africa, the Middle
East, and Southeast Asia. Ideological conflict between East and West
has been overtaken by shifts in the economic balance of global power.
1914

1920

1929

Great Powers vie for influence
in the Balkans; assassination
of Austrian Archduke Franz
Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Austria
declares war on Russia and
sets World War I in motion;
Germany invades France and
the Ottomans ally with the
Central Powers.

Ottoman Middle East territories
mandated to Britain and
France; German African
territories to Britain, France,
and South Africa. US senate
rejects Versailles settlement.

Wall Street Crash leads to
global economic depression.
First Five Year Plan in USSR:
massive industrialization and
collectivization of farms.
Communists establish Jiangxi
Soviet, south China.

1915
Italy enters World War I on the
Allied side; US invades Haiti
and Dominican Republic.
Nationalist risings in Dutch
East Indies. Ottomans
massacre or deport around
one million Armenians.

1916
On the Western Front, battles
of Verdun and the Somme.
Sykes–Picot agreement
between Britain and France on
division of the Ottoman empire.

1917
Russian Revolution: tsar
abdicates, liberal government
under Kerensky; Bolshevik
revolution under Lenin;
armistice agreed with
Germany. USA enters World
War I on Allied side.

1918
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk: Russia
surrenders Ukraine to Germany.
World War I ends: Ottomans
surrender; armistice agreed with
Germany and Austria. Spanish
influenza epidemic: six million
die in Europe.

1919
Paris peace treaties: break up of
German and Austrian empires.
League of Nations founded.
Rutherford splits the atom. First
powered transatlantic flight by
Alcock and Brown.

1921
Bolshevik victory in Russian
Civil War; six million die in
famine. Nationalist uprising
in Turkey. Washington
disarmament conference.

1922

1930
Communists establish Pu’an
Soviet in China. Military
revolution in Brazil: Getúlio
Vargas in power. More than
3,000 banks fail in USA. Frank
Whittle invents jet engine.

Irish Free State created.

1932
1923
Turkish republic under Atatürk;
secular reforms launched.
Nationalist Kuomintang
government in China.
Hyperinflation in Germany.
Military coup in Spain.

Famines in USSR leave millions
dead. Iraq gains independence.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
proclaimed. Chaco War:
Bolivian claims to northern
Paraguay. Disarmament
conference in Geneva.

1924

1933

Death of Lenin leads to power
struggle in USSR. Military
coups in Chile and Brazil.
Hitler imprisoned following
attempted coup. Exchange of
Turkish and Greek populations
ends Turkish–Greek conflict.

Hitler chancellor in Germany.
Dollfuss begins authoritarian
rule in Austria. Communist Party
purged in USSR. Roosevelt
president of USA: launches
“New Deal”. World Economic
Conference in London.

1925

1934

Civil war in China. Nationalist
uprisings in Syria. First
television picture created.

Death of Hindenburg: Hitler
becomes Führer of Germany;
one-party rule established;
“Night of the Long Knives”;
rearmament begins. USSR joins
League of Nations. Communist
“Long March” in China.

1926
Chinese heartland united under
Chiang Kai-shek. Anti-Dutch
communist revolt in Indonesia.
Italy becomes a one-party state
under Mussolini.

1927
Oil is discovered in Iraq.
Chinese nationalists purge
communists. Talking pictures
introduced to cinema.

1936
“Great Terror” in USSR: start
of show trials and purges.
Spanish Civil War begins.
Germany remilitarizes
Rhineland. Anti-Comintern Pact
between Germany and Japan.
Military dictatorship in Mexico.

52

TIMELINES OF WORLD HISTORY

1937

1942

1949

Italy resigns from League of
Nations; joins Anti-Comintern
Pact. US Neutrality Act passes
into law. Sino-Japanese war:
Japan sacks Nanking.
Anti-French uprising in Tunisia.
Authoritarian “New State”
government, Brazil.

Battle of Midway: USA repulses
Japanese carrier fleet; German
invasion of USSR stalls at
Stalingrad; Axis forces defeated
at El Alamein; USA invades
North Africa; killings begin at
Auschwitz concentration camp.

Mao’s Communists victorious
in Chinese Civil War. East and
West Germany established,
the former as part of the
Communist Bloc. NATO formed.
USSR acquires atomic bomb.

1950
1944

1938
Germany annexes Austria
and, with British and French
agreement, Sudetenland.
Royal dictatorship in Romania.
Japanese “New Order”
proclaimed in Asia.

900-day siege of Leningrad
lifted. D-Day landings: second
front in France; Paris and
Brussels liberated; Battle of
the Bulge: German offensive
checked; Germans fire V2
rockets at London.

1939

1945

Germany advances into
Czechoslovakia. Franco
imposes right-wing dictatorship
in Spain. German–Soviet
Non-Aggression Pact. Germany
invades Poland: Britain and
France declare war.

Russians storm Berlin; Hitler
commits suicide; German
surrender; USA drops atomic
bombs on Hiroshima and
Nagasaki: Japanese surrender.
United Nations formed.

1947
1940
German forces conquer
Denmark, Norway, the
Netherlands, Luxembourg,
Belgium, and France; Italy
declares war on Britain and
France; Battle of Britain; Japan
allied with Germany and Italy.

1941
German invasion of USSR; “Final
Solution” ordered; Ja
J pan attacks
Pearl Har
arbor