A Brief World History Timeline With Facts Everyone Should Know

A world history timeline can best be presented by highlighting the following stages of history:

– Prehistory
– Ancient History
– Middle Ages
– 16th Century
– 17th Century
– 18th Century
– 19th Century
– 20th Century
– 21st Century

In this guide we have listed the most important events and developments in these historical eras, which should be beneficial for both history buffs and students of the discipline looking for a quick revision guide.


  • 1


    This period deals with events dating from the formation of the planet to the rise of modern humans, and events dating from the first appearance of Homo sapiens to the period before the invention of writing. This timeline is also called Prewriting Era – history before the invention of ink and reeds.

  • 2

    Ancient History

    This period covers c. 10000 BC (When the intensive flock management in Zagros Mountains was developed) to 476 AD (i.e. traditional date for the beginning of the Middle Ages in Europe), when Odoacer deposed emperor Romulus Augustus and became King of Italy; the formal end of the Western Roman Empire.

    This period also covers events like:

    - Construction of the first pyramid in Egypt by Imhotep (first architect) – in c. 2630

    - Old and Middle Kingdom in Egypt

    - The rise of Mycenaean Civilization in mainland Greece in c. 1600

    - The first historical dynasty in China (The Shang)

    - Establishment of kingdoms and dynasties in China and Japan

    - The rise and fall of Assyrian power

    - Greek war against the Persians in 478 BC

    - Roman conquests

    - The reigns of Julius Caesar and his brother, Augustus

    - The invasion of Britain by Saxons and Angles (449 AD)

  • 3

    Middle Ages

    This period covers 500 AD (around the time when Clovis converted to Christianity and was baptized by St. Remigius)  to 1500 AD (nearly when Vasco de Gama reached India by sea and Columbus reached South America).

    Some of the historical happenings during this period are:

    - The reunion of Sui and China in 604 AD by Emperor Wendi

    - Establishment of Tang dynasty in China in 618 AD

    - The birth of Muhammed and the spread of Islamic faith

    Moreover, the period is also known for:

    - German tribal conquests

    - Barbarism

    - Monasteries

    - Cultural diffusion in Islam

    - Power struggle among Muslims

    - Trade and disastrous competition between empires and family dynasties

    - Christians versus unorthodoxy

    - Islam and Jews

    - The return of Greek philosophy to Europe

    - Expansion of Mongolia and Turkey

    - The Bubonic plague

    - Hundred Years' War

    - Constantinople coming under Muslim rule

  • 4

    16th Century

    This is between 1500 (the genesis of the era of Safavid dynasty rules Iran [1501 – 1722]) to 1600.

    This period covers:

    - The death of Christopher Columbus and the birth of Francis Xavier in 1506

    - Slave trade in Africa

    - Religion wars and conflicts – particularly between Islam and Christianity in France

    - Introduction of printing press in London

    - Forceful extension of power by rulers in India, Japan and Europe

    - The Shakespearean era of writing and plays

  • 5

    17th Century

    This covers the time between 1600 (the year of the publication of Shakespeare’s Hamlet) to 1700 (nearly the time when Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville founded French colony at Biloxi – 1599).

    The 17th century witnessed:

    - Era of colonization of African and American continents by the French, Dutch and English

    - Era of Galileo’s scientific invetions like the telescope, and Newton's physics – and his law of motion

    - Civil war and revolution in England

    - England's Bill of Rights

    - Religious conflicts and the Thirty Years' War

    - Discovery of micro-organisms

    - Religious tolerance in Europe

  • 6

    18th Century

    This era extends from 1700 (when Charles II of Spain died and left inheritance to Dauphin of France, and Great Northern War began) to 1799 (when Rosetta Stone was discovered).

    This period witnessed:

    - The era of Conolization and assimilation

    - Shipping of slaves - supplied by African emperors to America

    - Reign of Peter the Great

    - Creation of  an encyclopedia by the Chinese

    - The era of Sheikhs of Bahrain

    - Campaign for literacy

    - Drafting and signing of the U. S. Constitution in Philadelphia

    - Mass campaign for education and research in France

    - The American Revolutionary War

    - Battle of the Nile

    - Napoleon era

  • 7

    19th Century

    This period kicked off when Thomas Jefferson was elected as US President, and it ended when the Second Boer War and the Philippine-American War in Manila began.

    Other historical events in this period include:

    - Napoleon and his empire

    - Abolition of slave trade

    - Technological advancement

    - Cultural commotion

    - 1848 Revolution

    - The fall of Serfdom in Europe

    - Rebellions in Asia

    - The U.S. Civil War

    - Abraham Lincoln elected as President of United States

    - South Carolina became first southern state to secede from the Union

    - Battle of Sedan

    - Napoleon III captured along with 104,000 soldiers

    - The beginning of Siege of Paris and Franco-Prussian War – following the Spanish Succession Crisis

    - Capturing of Rome by Italian forces

    - Transportation revolution and trade spill

    - Utopian socialists and Karl Marx

    - Development of science and public health

    - Era of geologist Lyell and Charles Darwin

    - Western secularism

    - Invention of telephone and phonograph by Alexander Graham Bell

  • 8

    20th Century

    This period extends from 1900 (when German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche died) to 1999 (when Vladimir Putin became acting President of the Russian Federation after Boris Yeltsin resigned, and when NATO engaged in a 78-day bombing campaign against Serbia for the occupation of Kosovo).

    This period witnessed:

    - The death of colonialism in Africa and independence of African countries

    - Civil war in Greece

    - Arab-Israeli war

    - Creation of the State of Israel

    - Military occupations of former fascist states and of Korea

    - Eras of Stalin, Churchill and Truman

    - Socio-economic politics in Britain

    - Independence for some Asian countries like the Philippines, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Burma and Indonesia

    - Berlin airlift

    - Stalinism in Eastern Europe

    - Victory of the Communists in China

    - NATO and the Korean War

    - Execution of Rosenbergs

    - Ending of war in Vietnam by the French

    - Soviet Union and independence of Austria

    - Clinton and Bush era

    - Summit in Geneva

    - Salk vaccine

    - Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait

    - Beginning the Persian Gulf War

    - Denunciation of Stalin by Khrushchev

    - Suez Crisis

    - Era of Fidel Castro

    - Declaration of war against terrorism

    - The end of French-Algerian war

  • 9

    21st Century

    This is the period from 2000 (when Israel withdraws from southern Lebanon, and when the USS Cole made an attack on Aden ) to date (when Boko Haram kidnapped over 250 school-girls).

    This period has witnessed:

    - Reign of George Walkerman Bush

    - Terrorists’ destruction of World Trade Center in New York City and damaging the Pentagon in Washington, D.C

    - Iraqi disarmament veto by UN

    - United States and allied forces’ invasion of Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom

    - Election of Barack Obama as the 44th US President

    - Independence of Southern Sudan

    - Imprisonment of the Liberian Mafia

    - Women emancipation

    - Global economic melt-down

    - Influx of internet and social networking sites

    - Distance learning educational systems

    - Hurricane sandy

    - Evolution of ebanking and online businesses

    - The fall of Ghadaffi

    - Space shuttle Columbia broke up on re-entry over Texas

    - Al-Qaeda and the fall of Osama Bin Laden

    - Death of Nelson Mandela

    - Boko Haram in Nigeria

  • 10

    The world History timeline briefly explained above shows that humanity has gone through a lot over time. We’ve experienced the rise and fall of great men and societies, inventions and innovations, wars, socio-economic crises, evolutions and revolutions, births and deaths of great minds, advancement in educational and financial sectors, emancipations and many others.

    The one thing which is common throughout history is progress, in one form or another, spread of awareness and the blurring of distance and communication hurdles.

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